BMW Z8 Engine

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The BMW produced the Z8 roadster for just four years, from 1999 until 2003, with a yearly production of just 1,500 cars. The V8, 4.9 liter engine, produced in 2003, delivered 394 horsepower at 6600 rpm and 369 lb-ft. of torque at 3800 rpm. The redline, at 7000 rpm, was generous for a V8. BMW included electronic variable valve timing which changed the periods of time during which the valves opened and closed and the point at which that happened during the combustion cycle. The engine powered the car from zero to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, did the quarter mile in 12.6 seconds and had an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.



The engine had Alusil cylinder liners. Alusil is an aluminum-silicon alloy which provides the strength and durability necessary to protect the all-aluminum engine block from heat and wear. The cylinder liners had to be etched to expose the silicon precipitate underneath. Silicon precipitate is porous enough to hold oil and hard enough to avoid excessive wear.

BMW gave the engine sequential fuel injection, double overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. Double overhead camshafts lessen the time required to open and close the valves by putting the camshaft directly over the valve stem. Most V8’s install the camshaft in the bottom of the engine and use rods to operate rocker arms which push the valves down. DOHC eliminates the rods and rocker arms.

The engine crept up in power and displacement during its lifetime. It began as a 3.4 liter V8 producing 232 horsepower and 236 lb-ft. of torque and moved to 4.3 liters then 4.6 liters and finally 4.9 liters.

The Z8 engine makes an excellent replacement engine for anyone owning this sports car, especially earlier models. Used engines are available from shops across the country. Many owners make use of a brokerage house to screen sellers with unreliable track records. Make sure to do a background check with a service like the BBB. Also, request a CarFax report or VIN from the vehicle it was removed from so you can get some history about the motor you are purchasing.