BMW remembers its one-off E31 M8 prototype with a very special V12

Long before the current BMW M8 came into existence, car maker E31-Generation had created a one-off, high-performance variant of the 8-Series. Although it failed to make the production line, it remains a seriously impressive piece of kit.

Featured in this video from the BMW Group Classic, the special BMW M8 prototype is not only unique from previous regular 8-Series models, it also has something not even existing M8: a V12 engine.

Read more: We’ve been running a BMW M8 Gran Coupe for seven months, here’s what we learned

Powering the M8 prototype, the V12 is a modified version of the 6.0-liter V12 that used the 850i coupe. BMW explains that there are only three examples of this engine in existence, all of which were built in 1990. The German automaker has developed a unique air intake system for engines made from lightweight carbon fiber. The V12 has a dry-sump lubrication system and independent throttle body.

A particularly interesting aspect of the powertrain is that the oil tank is located in the trunk because there was not enough space under the hood to install it. This requires the use of an oil line that runs from the reservoir, through the roof, and to the V12.

BMW’s M8 prototype had been parked at one of its facilities for many years but when it decided to run it again, it discovered that the fuel tank was leaking from the inside. For example, a new fuel tank had to be built for the car. It’s in perfect shape now and the automaker plans to get it back on track soon.

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