BMW’s Bold V12 Z3 Experiment for a Car Magazine

BMW’s classic car collection in Munich holds many incredible projects that never made it to market, including a V12 Z3. This tiny car, typically known for its compact size, was fitted with a massive 5.4-litre V12 engine in 1999 at the request of the German magazine Auto Zeitung. The powerful engine and a six-speed manual transmission made this Z3 an engineering marvel.

Photo from The Drive

However, the performance wasn’t as impressive as one might expect. Despite the V12 engine’s 326 horsepower and 361 lb-ft of torque, it took 5.5 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph, comparable to other BMW models of that era. Fitting the large engine into the small Z3 was a significant challenge. There was barely any space around the engine, necessitating custom air filters and regular cooling breaks for the ECU.

Photo from The Drive

Though it sported many features of the Z3 M Roadster, including its interior and quad tailpipes, this V12 Z3 was never intended for sale and didn’t carry the M badge. Its stunning muted orange colour added to its unique charm.

This project showcases BMW’s adventurous spirit in the ’80s and ’90s, willing to take on bold and unusual engineering challenges purely for the thrill and curiosity of pushing boundaries.

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