BMW is a company that pretty much everyone loves. The cars it produces are regarded as some of the best in the world, and as it covers all niches there's a BMW for pretty much everyone. We took a look at the history of its roadsters to see just how far the firm's come since the early 20th century.
Alex GoyEditor / Roadshow
Alex Goy is an editor for Roadshow. He loves all things on four wheels and has a penchant for British sports cars - the more impractical the better. He also likes tea.
Now playing:Watch this:
A history of the BMW Roadsters, from the 30s to the present...
Drew and Alex love their sports cars -- the freedom they afford the driver combined with speed and eye-catching looks are, all told, rather lovely. BMW does roadsters really very well indeed. Using traditional BMW design cues and engineering to create fast, good-looking, brilliant-to-drive cars that are attainable dreams for the vast majority of people.
The boys decided to look at BMW's roadster background, Drew casting a bearded eye over the classics and Alex looking at the more modern 'Z' cars.
There's some real unicorn cars in there. The 328, for example, is a prewar race car that boasts a 2.0-litre six-cylinder engine and a 90 mph top speed. However, it's also achingly beautiful and is an utter joy to drive. If a little dated, that is. Drew's highlight, though, is the ultra-rare 507.
The 507 is a car that was going to get BMW back into the sports car game. It was supposed to be a cheaper alternative to the Mercedes 300SL, while being higher quality than the British roadsters on sale at the time. It was designed for the US market and came with a 3.2-litre V8 boasting a dizzying 150 bhp. As with all things that promised much...it flopped. Development costs pushed its price dangerously close to the Mercedes' and lack of interest nearly killed BMW for good.
Alex's cars start with the Z1, a car that has a spectacular party piece -- you can drive it, legally, with the doors open. A neat trick that: "made driving down the M4 at 70 mph an invigorating experience. Never, ever, again."
Before taking a look at the Z4, Alex spends some quality time with one of his favourite cars, the Z8. A former Bond car (sort of) and made in limited numbers, the Z8 combines killer looks inspired by the stunning 507 and a 400 bhp V8 to create some serious drama.
This film looks at the evolution of BMW's design, engineering and dynamics over a pretty hefty period of time - one that saw a world war, assassinated presidents, the fall of the Berlin Wall and, of course, the proliferation of the Furby. Enjoy.