Life giving you lemons? Make lemonade. That's the spirit in Munich that lead to BMW producing the only mid-engined sports car in its 98-year history. The project resulted from a collaboration with Lamborghini (now owned, incidentally, by arch-rival Audi) to meet Group 4 homologation requirements. Lamborghini withdrew, the FIA changed its rules, but BMW built it anyway.
For at least two years, BMW has been teasing the idea of making a supercar, the kind that would glare with laser headlights at the Audi R8 and say, "Yeah, I'm lookin' at you." Way back in early 2008, the car was rumored to be a twin-turbo V10 with 625 horsepower. A year later, it was going to be the gentler, greener two-seat Z10 ED with a twin-turbo six cylinder and 400 hp. A year later still, the 1.5-liter, three-cylinder, hybrid i8 inherited the green supercar mantle.
The only thing better than a major automaker rolling out a supercar concept is when they actually put it into production. Usually, if the green light is given, it happens after the show car's public debut. In this case, however, early word from Autocar indicates that things are working backwards. BMW reportedly originally envisioned this effort as a concept car, but instead it has decided to put it into limited production to showcase its high performance and green capabilities.
Mercedes has the SLR McLaren. Audi has the R8. Porsche has the 911 Turbo and GT2. Only BMW is lacking a range-topping supercar, so how does the Bavarian automaker carry the mantle of "the Ultimate Driving Machine"? If the latest reports are to be believed, BMW may finally be coming around and producing a successor to the long gone but not forgotten M1 supercar.