One of the more fun things about the automotive world is when carmakers decide to make a one-off car that’s so illogical and mad that the whole world stops in wonderment and bewilderment. There have been several of the cars from many different carmakers in the past, and BMW has had its fair share. Recently, we spoke about the psychotic, V12-powered one-off M8 Supercar that BMW built as an experiment, but decided to scrap the project. It’s cars like these that allow automakers to flex their proverbial muscles and show the world what they can do.
Sometimes, though, it’s just for fun, to celebrate. In 2000, hot on the heels of BMW’s 1999 victory at Le Mans, BMW decided to celebrate by creating a monster — The BMW X5 Le Mans.
BMW took the V12 from its Le Mans winning racer and shoehorned it into the most unlikely of cars, an X5. This V12 powered X5 was then fitted with a 6-Speed manual transmission, Sabelt racing seats and harnesses, completely stripped out, giving a wickedly cool hood bulge, 20” wheels and lowered suspension.
This turned the typical family SUV, something that’s usually more at home in a Pottery Barn parking lot than a race track, and turned it into a fire-breathing V12 monster.
The X5 V12 Le Mans had 700 hp, was capable of 0-60mph in 4.7 seconds and had a electronically limited top speed of 193 mph. In an X5. That’s lunacy. But wait there’s more. Hans Stuck, BMW’s famed racing driver, took the X5 Le Mans to the Nurburgring (because they’re Germans, they must go to the ‘ring) and was able to lap it in 7 minutes 50 seconds. He was able to break the 8 minute mark on the Nurburgring Nordschleife in an X5. That time would be fast by today’s standards, but that was 15 years ago. Simply madness.
The X5 Le Mans is just more proof that BMW lies when it says that people like Adrian Van Hooydonk are in charge of design, it’s really Dr. Frankenstein. It must be, as BMW is able to make the most insane one-off vehicles in the world, vehicles that no one would ever think to create. And BMW does this, simply for the sake of doing it, to see if it can. So now you know that at least one monster is real, the BMW X5 Le Mans.
Here is a video of Hans Stuck driving said X5. Just listen to that racing V12 howl and your Memorial Day Weekend will be that much better.
P.S. It’s in German, but still entertaining if you don’t sprechen sie deutsch.