• Apr 4th 2011 at 7:31PM
  • 25
BMW M Projects – Click above for massive high-res image gallery

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.

Photos copyright ©2011 Damon Lavrinc / AOL and BMW

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      A BMW engineer need only walk through this garage to to get some inspiration on BMW's heritage. It's a shame they don't make cars like those anymore. Heck, even the M6 CSL would've been a killer machine.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Gött in himmel!

      With the (minor) exception of that funky red roadster, and the awful Michelin TRX tires on the M8 and a few others... these galleries are pure WIN. I'd love to be an engineer... or janitor even - here.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The M8 would have been nice.

      Notice the sleek, non-discrete nose. That's the direction BMW and other car companies should go in the future, even if it doesn't get hideaways. It doesn't need big ginormous blobs as lights to stand out, but rather something subtle and classy, yet sporty.

      That thing in the above picture? Let's just say BMW would have an Aztek on their hands if that thing ever hit showrooms.
      • 4 Years Ago
      FU BMW for not building the M8 or M6 CSL and instead giving us the X5M and X6M!
      I remember rumors in the late 90's of an M7 but BMW said something to the effect of them never making an M car that didn't match the dynamics expected of the M brand. I miss the old BMW and I'm only 25!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Amazing cars, can't wait to see a video of that M8 revving up.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is why my life's desire is to work at BMW ///M.

      That M8 is truly one of the most beautiful cars I've ever seen.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I almost fainted when I saw the red M8 Coupe. Wow, what an incredible piece of machinery.

      Knew about the E34 M5's, but the CSL-ified M6 was awesome. Ditto the X5M. Some great examples of BMW in their prime. Shame we won't see cars like these anymore.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "McLaren F1 dumbass. read the article."

        The engine that powered the M8 lead to the engine in the McLaren F1. The white LeMans car is the LMR prototype that won in 1999.

        So, you're wrong and rude about it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        That's not an F1 car, I think it's a LeMans car.

        And I remember not three years ago the consensus was that the M8 was sent to "poison storage" aka destroyed shortly after construction. Then not too long ago some more pictures came out, confirming it was still alive. And now this. Dear Lord, that M8 is amazing.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think the F1 is a cooler car than the M8 prototype. Tho it's such a pity we never got the chance to see *both* cars...
        • 4 Years Ago
        "That's not an F1 car, I think it's a LeMans car."

        McLaren F1 dumbass. read the article.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The M8 would have been an amazing car if it had ever been produced.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Argh....kill it with fire!
      • 4 Years Ago
      That poor poor Z1 got screwed.

      The M8 is nice, but it doesn't really add much to the already sexy 850csi.
        • 4 Years Ago
        ...except for 175 horses...

        I also had no idea that they were already doing CF rims in the early 90's.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I am head-over-heels looking at that E46 M3 wagon.

      Why on earth would the higher ups at BMW allow the X5M or the X6M exist and not the M6 CSL or M8? Profits clearly supersedes the principles and integrity of the brand.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Profits clearly supersedes the principles and integrity of the brand."

        This is exactly why I stopped selling BMW's...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wow... those crazy Germans.. what a place to work and get paid to dream up uber vehicles!
      So much History and almost a tinge of sadness at the projects that didn't make it to production. I'm in Awe :D
      • 4 Years Ago
      OMG!! Car boner!! I would give two ribs to be able to tour this garage. So amazing!! Love it all!!!
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