BMW is to run-out its low-volume, luxury Z8 roadster during 2003 a few hundred units of a special-edition versions called the Alpina Roadster V8, Automotive News said on its website.

The report said the Alpina Roadster, with standard automatic transmission and a smaller and less powerful V8 engine than the original ‘standard’ Z8, would make its motor show debut in Los Angeles in January and go on sale in the United States in April.

Automotive News said BMW would sell 450 Alpina models in the United States and another 100 elsewhere.

Production of the standard Z8 would stop around the end of December, the report added.

"The Z8 was never intended to be a high-volume car," BMW North America spokesman Dave Buchko reportedly told Automotive News. "We're not disappointed with the sales. On the contrary, we were really pleased with the reaction to the car and the demand it experienced. It was never intended to run for the typical life cycle of our other cars."

According to Automotive News. Buchko said the Z8 taught BMW engineers how to make a largely hand-built, small-volume car with an aluminium spaceframe and those lessons helped BMW develop its own Rolls-Royce, which would debut at the Detroit motor show in January.

Automotive News said the Z8 made “a splashy movie debut” when it was sawed in half in the James Bond film The World is Not Enough in 1999 and US sales began in August 2000.

The model, built only with left-hand-drive, was also sold in Europe, including the United Kingdom, but is a very rare sight on UK roads.

According to Automotive News, US sales were slow, even for a purposely exclusive ‘halo car’.

For the first 11 months of 2002, BMW of North America sold 495 Z8s, down 43% from the year-ago period after selling 970 in 2001 and 317 in 2000 during just five months of sales, the Automotive News report added.

Auto market intelligence
from just-auto

• Auto component fitment forecasts
• OEM & tier 1 profiles & factory finder
• Analysis of 30+ auto technologies & more