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Thread: Differences between a US / Euro Z8's and Alpina

  1. #1

    Post Differences between a US / Euro Z8's and Alpina

    Differences between a US car (AH6****) and an EU/RoW car (AH7****)
    This list is based on info I've gathered over the years rather than an official list, so there may well be more parts that I'm unaware of.

    EU & US exhaust emissions monitoring systems are different.

    EU & US lock and alarm transmitters work on different frequencies.
    The EU electric key can't be read by the US service center's key reader, and also it's hard to get spare keys for a Euro car in the US, you have to buy them from a dealer in the country of origin to be certain it'll work with your car.

    EU & US phone systems are different.

    US speedo is only in MPH & distance in miles.
    EU speedo face is marked in KPH and measures distance in kilometers.

    US has "Objects closer than they appear" on the flat passenger mirror, and only a slightly wide angle view with a large blind spot.
    EU has wide angle split mirrors that eliminates the blind spot. (I put these on my car, they're an easy and excellent upgrade)

    US rear bumper valance has deeper scallop for US plates and little red reflectors embedded in it's 3/4 flank.
    EU has a cleaner rear bumper valance with a long EU plate shaped scallop.

    US tail light assembly is all red.
    EU tail light assembly has an amber upper element for the turn signal.

    US radio is tuned to 200 Hz band gaps
    EU radio is tuned to 100 Hz band gaps
    (It's the same radio, just set up differently - info on retuning it can be found here.)[/I]

    EU cars had a folding red warning triangle in the tool space.

    US cars came with these unique features...
    VIN plate mounted on top of the dashboard behind windshield.
    Glow in the dark 'rip cord' in the trunk, incase you get trapped in there.
    Air bag warning stickers on the sun visors and in the interior.
    The radio has that infuriating 'warning' each time you turn it on.
    The famous cup holder.
    Headlights have a "splitter" in the Xenon lights as the Euro lights are too bright.
    "Unleaded Only" transfer on the fuel gauge, and sticker in the fuel cap cavity.
    BMW badged Delatrans trickle charger supplied with car.
    The opportunity to addend the Z8 Driving experience in Spartenberg.

    I've been told that these parts are different, but can't confirm it.
    *The threshold/velocity/power sensors and/or settings are different on the airbag system.
    *The energy absorbers under the bumpers are different.

    Alpina differences

    Motor - dedicated 4.8 liter V8 (designation F5/1) that has BMW manufactured parts based on Alpina parameters (similar to the Alpina developed 4.6 V8 used in the X5). Alpina then grinds, smooths, polishes and assembles the motor. It weighs 90 pounds less and has 1/3 closer tolerances than the M62 in the Z8. The result is less horsepower (375) but producing more torque (383 lb-ft) at lower rpm (3800) and a reduced redline of 6500 rather vs the M62s 7200. The top end is also electronically limited to 161, making it faster than the stock Z8, not bad for a non-M motor.

    Gearbox - Alpina automatic Switchtronic (ratios are: 1st) 3.57; 2nd) 2,20; 3rd) 1.51; 4th) 1.00; 5th) .80; Final ddrive ratio :1 is 3.38)

    Gear selection indicator on steering column housing.

    Alpina badge on trunk lid.

    Unique 20" five star rims.

    Side mirrors color matched to the car.

    Edition numbered plaque between seats reading - Alpina Roadster xxx/555

    EU Alpina has completely unique suspension to accommodate the low profile tire/rim combination.
    This is a highly recommended upgrade for all Z8's as it is a far superior suspension set up, allowing you to run the wider 20" rims, which also improves grip.

    US Alpina retains the stock Z8 front spring to maintain federal headlight height level.
    It's also highly recommended to switch over to the full EU Alpina front suspension
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  2. #2
    Team Z8 dwz8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004

    Alpina steering


    I heard rumours that the Alpina should have a different steering than the Z8?
    Any information on this?


  3. #3

    In answer......

    Dieter, I didn't hear that the steering was different, the part numbers are all the same from what I can see in my parts book here, so that would suggest that it is the same, but I'll make some enquiries, and see what I can find out.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  4. #4
    Team Z8 jawz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Quote Originally Posted by dwz8

    I heard rumours that the Alpina should have a different steering than the Z8?
    Any information on this?



    I believe the steering is the same on my Alpina as that on the normal Z8 so I don't think the steering is any different. However, BMW DID soften the suspension a little to compensate for the low profile tires and 20" wheels. Perhaps that is what you may be referring to?

    Auf Wiedersehn,


  5. #5
    The dollar's disastrous fall has made US Z8's and Alpina's a real bargain for Europeans. For those thinking of shipping one back to the EU, be careful which country you choose to take it too, because not all countries have the same rules about bringing in cars from the US, and in some areas of Germany it will not be possible to use such a car in any inner city areas because of the new pollution laws that come into effect in Jan 08. While on the surface this may seem an attractive idea it is such untrodden water that it should be done with the greatest of caution, and also with consulting the Z8 Club in Europe about the does, don'ts and hidden bureaucratic sink holes.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  6. #6
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Lupin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006


    any idea about Switzerland?
    I will probably move there next June, and I want to bring my baby with me.

  7. #7
    I have no idea about Switzerland, but if you are moving it is even more reason to join the Club, as they will certainly be able to help you with the right info to make the move.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  8. #8
    Sport Button On - DSC Off jpklecker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Another difference with the US spec Z8 is the absence of the motion sensor for the alarm system for when the top is down and the alarm is activated.
    John Klecker - 2002 Topaz / Crema (61782)

  9. #9
    PS- the early US cars do not have the warning screen on the initial boot up - just when you use the nav section. Also the radio only has two voices: D- German; GB- GB English. So the voice I have is a lovely British lady whom I've named "Moneypenny" .. Among the other instructions that my car gets when she goes in for service is "Do not update radio software!!"

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