Think different: the BMW Z8 owned by Apple’s Steve Jobs

Former company chief loved the sports car’s modern design

Steve Jobs Z8
Steve Jobs’s BMW Z8 is up for sale
(Image credit: RM Sotheby's)

BMW has produced high-volume, mid-level sports cars under the Z name since the compact Z1 first went on sale in 1989.

In 1997, however, the company decided to create a more powerful version celebrating the V8-engined BMW 507 sports car from the late 1950s. Without any direct competitors, and with a limited production run of just 5,700, the Z8 was perfect for buyers looking for a more unusual sports car.

Among those eager customers was Apple founder Steve Jobs, whose silver Z8 is up for auction at RM Sotheby’s in December.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

The listing on the specialist car collection auction house’s website says that Oracle chief Larry Ellison convinced Jobs to purchase the car in April 2000, as the Z8’s blend of “modern automotive engineering and ergonomics” perfectly suited his “products and psyche”.

It comes with “several service invoices” printed with the name “Jobs Steven P.”, says RM Sotheby’s, along with the “pink slip” registered with his name and the address of his California home.

The vehicle itself was created by Henry Fisker, a Danish car designer best known establishing an electric car company named after himself. He also helped design the Aston Martin DB9 and V8 Vantage from the mid-2000s.

Under the Z8’s sleek bodywork, which is heavily influenced by the BMW 507, sits a 4.9-litre naturally aspirated V8 engine that produces 395bhp and 370lb-ft of torque. The same engine can be found in the company’s 1998 M5 super saloon.

The particular model owned by the late Apple founder model is silver with a black interior. The cabin is a modern take on the 507’s, with a “navigation CDs” and a “BMW-branded Motorola flip phone”, according to the listing.

Jobs’s Z8 goes to auction on 6 December, with no reserve. It is expected to sell for between $300,000 and $400,000 (£226,000 to £301,000) - significantly more than its original list price of $128,000 (£97,000).

So if you’re in the market for a future classic, you may want to follow Apple’s iconic “Think different” motto - and consider the Z8.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.