Open the hood of an E85 Z4 and what do you see? A six-cylinder engine, of course, but also an unusual amount of space. Most modern BMW engine bays are packed full of engine and ancillaries, but the Z4’s looks like it was designed to accommodate a much larger engine than that inline six…something in a Vee configuration, perhaps.
Hartge of Germany looked at all that space and figured a V10 would fit right in, and they created a legendary monster by swapping the Z4’s pedestrian six for a 500-hp S85 borrowed from an E60 M5.
The guys at Rogue Engineering watched Hartge’s video of the installation on YouTube while hanging out in their Saddle River, New Jersey shop, and they knew they’d follow Hartge into the engine-swap abyss.
“By the end of the video, we were all smiling ear to ear,” Rogue co-owner Mark Sinclair recalls. “I knew then that I had to have this car.”
“Then” was more than ten years ago. “This car” is the 2004 Z4 Roadster now powered by an S62 V8…finally, after a decade-long process we started documenting for Bimmer back in 2005. Most engine swaps take months, not years. Why so long for this one?
“To start, taking the car apart and then sending out for paint and bodywork took longer than anticipated,” Sinclair explains. “Remember, this car was red and had about 800 miles on it when we started.”
Good paint takes time, and the Estoril Blue sprayed by C&D Auto Body in South Hackensack, New Jersey is as good, if not better, than the Bright Red applied at the factory. It’s impossible to find any traces of that red, by the way, even in the car’s most remote crevices.