The M8 Prototype, built in 1990, is one of the most mysterious cars in the history of motoring, having remained hidden for 20 years until 2010 when BMW decided to show it to selected journalists.
Based on the 8 Series E31, it was equipped with a 6,064cc V12 engine called S70, capable of producing somewhere in the region of 550hp, and from which the engine of Gordon Murray’s McLaren F1 (S70/2) was derived.
Compared to the 850i, the M8 was enlarged at the rear to make room for larger wheels and allow better cooling to the differential, while the front was redesigned to improve aerodynamics with a rounded hood to accommodate the large V12 engine.
To reduce weight, carbon fibre was chosen for the bodywork, while the doors, hood, trunk and bumpers were made from reinforced polymer. The interior was also put on a diet with the introduction of sports seats and carbon and kevlar for the dashboard.
No performance figures were ever given as BMW management blocked the project fearing poor sales and revenues that would not pay off the investments needed for production. As a result, the M8 remained a gloriously savage one-off.