It can be argued that the 6.1 liter naturally-aspirated V12 engine that powered the McLaren F1 is the greatest road-going engine ever made. Internally known as the S70/2, the F1’s engine was actually developed by BMW M and the legendary Paul Rosche specifically for the F1. It’s a masterpiece of an engine that’s still a wonder today and it’s only ever powered the McLaren F1. Or so we thought. Apparently, to test the F1’s V12 prior to sending it over to McLaren, BMW M decided to slap one in another car just to see how it performed. And the car chosen was an E34-gen BMW M5 Touring.
During Chris Harris’ Collecting Cars podcast recently, he spoke with David Clark, who was the director of McLaren road and race cars during the F1’s development. It was during that conversation that he let it slip that BMW had shoehorned that monster V12 into an E34 M5. The E34 BMW M5 Touring in question was a test mule for the engine but after development was over, BMW kept the car. In fact, according to Clark, BMW still owns the car but keeps it locked away in an ultra secret location. Apparently, it’s never been seen by the public.
Clark actually claimed to have driven the car and claimed “It’s an outrageous thing,”. How can it not be, in reality? The standard E34 BMW M5 Touring made 311 hp. That’s not bad but it pales in comparison to the F1’s 627 hp. Imagine a naturally-aspirated V12 with individual throttle bodies, 627 hp and a six-speed manual gearbox in an E34 BMW M5 Touring? Maybe I’m just insane but that may be the most desirable car in the entire world. If anyone has an F1 and crashes it but the engine remains in good shape, it’d be a disservice to not recreate this M5 Touring test mule. I’m looking at you, Rowan Atkinson.