With the M division celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2022, BMW has decided to go behind the scenes and unearth some prototypes it had been keeping a secret for more than a few years. We’re already acquainted with some of these one-off gems, including a pair of CSLs that never saw the light of production day – M2 CSL F87 and M5 CSL E60.

In this latest video, BMW puts the spotlight on the one-of-a-kind M5 Convertible E34, a car that was originally approved for production and had an agreed starting price of 50,000 GBP. The automaker even booked a spot at the 1989 Geneva Motor Show to publicly unveil the car, but ultimately decided to axe the project just one week before the premiere. Why? The German luxury marque was concerned it would’ve cannibalized sales of the 3 Series convertible.

Then there’s the V12-powered Z3, which is just peachy (pun intended). BMW’s prototyping boss Hans Rahn admits the one-off roadster is a “complete overkill” and that it feels out of balance when you drive it. He goes on to describe it as being “brutal, definitely brutal” and that it’s the sort of car that doesn’t come around too often.

The M8 E31 prototype also makes an appearance with its mighty 6.0-liter V12 engine derived from the S70, producing 640 hp and 650 Nm (478 lb-ft). Decades later, that’s still more horsepower than an M5 CS – the fastest production BMW to date. All that M muscle was sent to the rear axle via a six-speed manual enabling the grand tourer to reach a top speed of over 186 mph (300 km/h).

The second part of the video gives us a video tour of some of the most race cars in M’s history. BMW Museum curator Andreas Braun shares tidbits about the iconic 3.0 CSL –  which is getting a modern tribute this year – and other motorsport legends developed by the M division.

Source: BMW M / YouTube