So often, car companies debut concepts and prototypes, often at auto shows, which dazzle the market and excite the enthusiast fanbase, yet never actually get off the ground. These prototypes are often cancelled, due to cost reasons or lack of actually buyer demand, even though the enthusiast fanbases seem to like them quite a bit. BMW could fill a museum with cancelled prototypes that its fans wish it would make. So it’s no surprise that when Top Gear made its list of the ten best cancelled prototype cars, two BMWs made the list. In fact, BMW is the only brand to be featured on the list twice, which is really impressive considering the cars and brands that also feature on the list.
First up is the E46 BMW M3 Touring prototype that the Bavarians revealed last year for the first time. Apparently, BMW had been seriously considering an M3 Touring back in the days of the E46 and actually built one to see if it would make any sense financially and how difficult it would be to make. From what we understand, it was barely any more trouble than the standard coupe to make and not much more money but BMW ended up pulling the plug anyway. Which is a real shame because it looked fantastic and was a flipping E46 M3 Touring (!).
If BMW would have gone through with producing the E46 M3 Touring, the world would have had a fantastic looking wagon with a high-revving, 333 hp inline-six engine, a six-speed manual and rear-wheel drive, all based on one of the finest driving chassis of its time. Big missed opportunity.
The second BMW on Top Gear’s list is the original M8. While we’re going to finally be getting an M8, the original was an absolute monster that we wish BMW would have made. Back in the day, the Bavarians cooked up an extra special BMW 8 Series, with a V12 engine that was similar to the masterpiece used in the McLaren F1, a lightweight and stripped out interior, some hardcore aggressive looks and a brutish, “I’ll punch your face” attitude that would have made it an instant classic. Except only one was ever made and it sat, unseen to the world, for decades.
These are just two examples of great BMW prototypes that never saw the light of day. Yet, there are still more. The E36 BMW M3 Compact would have been hilarious, the BMW Z18 Concept was absurdly wonderful and the GINA Concept, with its ever-changing skin, was a true oddball. We genuinely wish BMW would make some of the weird creations it thinks up. The world would be a better place for it.[Source: Top Gear]