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BMW UNVEILS Z8 FOR BIG-BUCKS ROADSTER BUYERS

Those polished pipes will be your most accustomed view thanks to the 5-litre V-8 at the other end of the powertrain system, which produces 400 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque and sends it to the rear wheels through a 6-speed manual gearbox.

This engine, which is also available on the big bucks M5 super sports sedan, ensures "more than ample power at all engine speeds," Nickel says. The Z8 gets a wide range of juice from the use of variable camshaft control and individual, electronically-controlled throttle butterflies, which boost torque at low and medium engine speeds.

Though it will do zero to 100 km/h in less than 5 seconds, Z8 is about more than straight-ahead speed, as the aluminum-intensive chassis and suspension have been honed to deliver aggressive handling.

Nickel says the front axle is an "all-new spring strut configuration with precise rack-and-pinion steering, and the rear axle is an integrated design that ensures optimum handling of transverse and longitudinal forces."

Aluminum can be found in great abundance in the Z8, starting with the spaceframe and attached structural panels, which are themselves covered largely with aluminum body pieces. To better withstand those minor bumps and thumps, however, the bumpers and some body bits behind them are made of polyurethane.