BMW's M division comes up with some pretty crazy ideas – things like M3 pickups and M5 cabrios. Even the X6 M could be safely defined as 'radical.' And while some make it into production, there are plenty other awesome projects that never see the light of day.
While giving us a preview of the new M5 Concept, the Bavarian skunkworks division also showcased a few of those stillborn projects. One of them was a CSL version of the recently-departed M6 coupe, unburdened of 220 pounds of excess weight, given a power boost and fitted with active aerodynamics and an electronically deployed rear spoiler. But while the prototype was reportedly fully developed, the beancounters in Munich ultimately passed on its production.
The same fate reportedly befell an M8 prototype that would have slotted in above the 850 CSi. That particular coupe that was available packed with a 375-horsepower V12, but the never-was M8 was blessed with a lofty 550 hp from its 12-cylinder engine. After the M8 project was canceled, the engine was retasked for use in another supercar: the McLaren F1.
Another variant of that high-revving V12 – originally bound for Le Mans duty – was also placed in a first-gen X5 prototype with a six-speed manual, 700 horsepower and a 186-mile-per-hour top end. Another rear-drive X5 prototype developed by the M division was in attendance and, naturally, never reached production, along with an M-ified 318ti (hot), E46 M3 wagon (hotter), E39 M5 wagon (hottest) and one horribly overwrought red roadster (above) with a clear connection to the Z1 and Z3 convertible. And as for the E92-based M3 pickup; it was built as a replacement for beheaded and bedded E30 the M crew developed way-back-when to haul parts.
Finally, last year, BMW toyed with shoehorning the V12 engine into the outgoing M5 to replace its V10 and celebrate the model's 25th anniversary (it was first introduced in 1985), but found the engine bay just a little too tight for the Le Mans-based engine. Sigh.
You can check out all the stillborn Ms in our galleries below.