Photo Credit: BMW

Everyone loves the Carrera GT because it got its engine out of Porscheā€™s last Le Mans racing project. Well, BMW did the same thing, only with a single, not-for-production X5. Then the got it to do 192 mph on the NĆ¼rburgring.

The winning 1999 V12 LMR. Photo Credit: Getty Images

The BMW X5 Le Mans, as the concept/demo/clown car was officially titled, was supposed to be some kind of cross-promotion betweenā€™s BMWā€™s new X5 (which was wildly popular but sort of sacrilegious to the brand) and their 1999 art car win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (which was perfectly on-brand but not exactly something anybody gave a shit about).

The idea was simple: take the racing V12 out of the BMW V12 LMR (itself a development of the racing V12 that was in the McLaren F1 Le Mans cars) and just cram it, just squeeze and mash it into the front of a new X5 road car. The 6.0-liter motor put out some 700 horsepower, up a good hundred from the race car, since the concept didnā€™t need any series-mandated air restrictors. Torque, as Autocar notes, was a good 520 lb-ft going into an M-division six-speed manual transmission.

The rest of the modifications were pretty straightforward, just the usual wheels, tires, suspension, cage stuff that you do to make a car safe on a race track.


BMW got old timer Hans-Joachim Stuck to wheel the car around the NĆ¼rburgring Nordschleife and managed a 7:50 lap, with a claimed top speed of 192 mph (309 kph) on the track. Thatā€™s about as quick overall as, er, the new Honda Civic Type R.

BMW still has the car and periodically shows it housed in the companyā€™s underground lair of forgotten concept cars and internal V12 projects.


What a stupid, glorious beast.