BMW's M-division had originally developed its V12 engine for the 8-series of 1990

BMW's V12 engine from the McLaren F1 was originally developed for an M8 version of the 8-series in 1990 that was never put into production, BMW’s M-division has revealed.

The V12 was based around two 6cyl engines from the M3 at the time and it proved to be instantly reliable in tests of the 8-series.

Although the M8 and its V12 engine were fully developed and production ready having been signed off in test vehicles, the car was never signed off by BMW management, despite M's insistence.

The engine produces around 550bhp in the M8 and had "stunning performance figures", according to M personnel.

The engine was then used as the basis for the McLaren F1 road car and Le Mans winner and also found a home in BMWs own sports prototype Le Mans winner in 1999.

It then went on to feature in a first generation X5 with over 700bhp, a 6-spd manual box and a 300kph (186mph) top speed, but this car never saw production either.

BMW wanted to put it in the outgoing M5 to celebrate 25 years of the M5 but it proved to be too big for the engine bay.

Mark Tisshaw

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