A shark nose with V12 in the nose. This is a good way to describe the one-off BMW 6 Series (E24) test mule which was built by BMW back in 1984. Even though today, the E24 6 Series is considered a classic and a highly sought after pre-owned car, in the 80s, the market wanted something new.
At the time, the top model of the 6 Series family was the iconic M635CSi powered by a 3.5 liter inline-six, which was paired with a five-speed manual. The M635CSi was the hottest non-M 6 Series you could get. Being that this specific car is an older model, before its refresh, it only made 182 hp when new, which isn’t a lot.
So in 1984, BMW decided to build the 8 series which will replace the E24. It was also a time when BMW had no production car with a V12 engine, so in order to prepare the new flagship 8 Series with the greatest power under hood, the engineers in Munich built a one-off test mule – based on the E24 6 Series – with a V12 engine under the hood.
Since the 8 Series arrived on the market in 1989, there was another BMW series car that debuted the V12 – the E32 750i.
BMW eventually spent well over 1 billion DM (around €500 million) on the new 8 Series coupe, the E31, which made its public debut in September 1989 as the 850i. Styled by Klaus Kapitza under the direction of styling director Claus Luthe, the 850i was striking, almost futuristic, powered by the 300 PS V12 engine from the E32 750iL sedan. Its price tag was equally striking: over 135,000 DM ($75,000) at launch, a hefty increase over the final E24.
But it was this rarely seen E24 6 Series prototype that paved the road for the V12 in the 8 Series. Today, we can share with you some new images of this prototype, courtesy of BMW Classic in Munich.[Photos: Robert Kröschel]