The proposal would see the BMW supercar based on the same architecture that will to underpin Woking's P16 project that's set to replace current 650S. Rather than use the 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 that McLaren developed together with Ricardo, the Bimmer version would use Munich's own engine: a 4.0-liter V8 with quad turbochargers – two conventional spools and two more electrically driven chargers. Their combined effect would net an expected 750 horsepower.
Further differentiations on McLaren's carbon monocoque architecture for use in the BMW would include custom bodywork, aerodynamics, and interior fitments to include a unique instrument panel. Production, however, would be handled at the McLaren Production Centre in Woking, to the tune of several hundred units per year.
The project would take the place of several aborted programs undertaken internally at BMW. One called for an entirely unique supercar developed in-house, referred to internally as the M100. When that project was aborted so that BMW could concentrate on the i sub-brand, BMW's own skunkworks shifted its focus to developing a more performance-focused version of the i8, known by some as the i8 CSi. When that project was canned as well, discussions with McLaren commenced.
It wouldn't be the first time BMW would outsource development of its own supercar, or even the first time BMW would collaborate with McLaren on such a project. Initial development work on the original M1 in the 1970s was undertaken by Lamborghini before being taken in-house. And, of course, BMW provided the engine for the legendary McLaren F1. Meanwhile McLaren performed a similar function for Mercedes-Benz with the SLR, demonstrating Woking's experience in building flagship supercars for German automakers.
This latest project could suffer the same fate as the M100 and i8 CSi programs. But if it is approved, it could yield both coupe and convertible versions, with the first slated to surface at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2017 and reach dealerships in 2019.