BMW set the automotive world on fire last week when they took a new test mule out on the Nurburgring to try out some new stuff. The car was immediately noticed due to a couple of interesting details and we’ve been trying to figure out exactly what it is since then. The company came out and said there’s nothing to fret about, it’s just a prototype for ‘testing various parts’. Right.

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We could figure out that much but the lingering question is this: what exactly are those parts? While we’re trying to figure that out, the car keeps on doing laps on the Nurburgring, as the video below shows. Initially, it was thought this could be a mid-engine model but there was too little to hint at such a possibility. Just having some air inlets on the rear side windows wouldn’t be enough for such a setup. Then there was speculation this could be a hybrid powertrain prototype but that also couldn’t be the case because of certain regulations in Germany, which would require it to wear “Electric Test Vehicle” badges that it doesn’t have.

BMW M850i xDrive Coupe in Sunset Orange AU 27 830x554

You see, when a car maker wants to test a hybrid setup on public roads (and this BMW is driven from the test center to the track on public roads, not hauled away) it needs to be signaled as such with stickers, mentioning the ‘hybrid’ nature of the car. That’s needed in case something goes wrong and emergency services have to intervene. So that’s also not the case. As we told you last week, the car has been spotted on the Nurburgring several times and being on video, we could also hear it.

And that provided the biggest clue. Call me crazy but it sounds like a straight six is used under the hood. Now, it may not be a hybrid but it could be a next-gen P58 engine. That’s a racing version of the B58 straight six we all know today. At this point, this is just speculation though, as we can’t really tell what BMW is working on. What’s pretty obvious though is that the engine has some serious power.

That would justify the huge brakes, the massive cooling that can be spotted behind the front fascia in several shots and the quad-exhaust setup. Some are even saying BMW is working on a special project to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the BMW Motorsport division, which was founded on May 1st, 1972. If that’s the case, we should be in for something truly interesting. That lines up with previous rumors about a ‘one off’ M model that be a halo car for the German brand. Whatever it is, it’s already causing headaches for the test drivers who crashed the prototype already, as you can see in these spyshots here.