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BMW M8 would have had McLaren F1 V12

Tue, 05 Apr 2011

BMW M8 - complete with the V12 that ended up in the McLaren F1

The BMW 8-Series sat at the top of the BMW range throughout the 1990s, a two door BMW Coupe with a V8 or V12 engine. But despite sitting as the halo model in the BMW range it never spawned the ultimate version – the BMW M8. Except it did.

The BMW M8 was made, it’s just that they made only one. Which, until BMW invited a pack of journalists and guests to the reveal of the 2012 M5 last week, we didn’t know.

Interestingly, BMW saw fit to give the new M5 viewers a quick tour round the vaults of the M Division, where the V12 M8 surfaced. Not only did it surface, but we discovered it had a predecessor of the mighty BMW V12 that later found its way in to the McLaren F1, the 6.0 litre BMW S70 V-12.

The most powerful lump BMW offered for sale in the 8-Series was in the 850CSI which got the 5.6 litre V12 with – by modern standards – a paltry 380 horses. The M8 was much more powerful.

The V12 in the M8 was built by bolting together a paid of V6s from the E36 M3, producing a V12 with around 580 horses, a significant increase on the 850CSI. The M8 also got more aggressive looks thanks to new bumpers, bigger alloys, wind-cheating mirrors, extra air vents at the back and blistered wheel arches.

The BMW M8 may not have made production, but its V12 did – in very limited numbers and with some modifications – in not just the 1993 McLaren F1, but also in BMW’s prototype Le Mans racer in 1999.

So, no 1990s M8, but we could yet see a new BMW M8 based on the Vision ED Concept.

By Cars UK