The little-known M8 prototype was never given the green light for production, but it is still a remarkable feat of engineering. Credit the 6.1-liter V-12 under this big coupe’s hood, which, according to the video above, is just one of three such engines to exist. With 640-hp (more than the current BMW M8), the rear-drive BMW M8 prototype was surely a rocket. Plus, with a six-speed manual on board, it was definitely a hoot to manhandle, too.
BMW’s big V-12 shared little with the unit in the production 850i of the 1990s. Unlike that car’s single overhead cam 5.0-liter unit, the M8 prototype’s 6.1-liter 12-pot featured dual overhead cams, a special intake setup, and an entirely reworked lubrication system. In fact, the oil sump was moved to the back of the car to allow the big bent-12 to fit under the M8 prototype’s hood. As a result, BMW was forced to route the car’s oil lines through the freaking roof to ensure the engine was properly lubricated.
The 8’s looks were also massaged to support M’s powertrain enhancements, with the M8 prototype losing the pop-up headlights of lesser 8 Series models. Additionally, the car features fender-mounted intakes aft of the front doors (likely to cool the oil system), while the wheels feature slick carbon-fiber caps.
It’s a shame this insane machine never made it past the prototype stage. Nevertheless, the very fact this prototype exists at all is insanely cool in and of itself. Now we just need to figure out exactly how much money it would take to call this one-of-one M8 prototype our own.