For a company that produces some of the finest sports cars in the world, BMW is hesitant to go one step further and produce a fully-fledged supercar, something rivals Audi and Mercedes-Benz have done with the R8 and SLS AMG respectively.
In fact the M1, which was produced for BMW by Lamborghini between 1978 and 1981 in just 456 units, is still the only supercar and, at the same time, the sole mid-engined model to sport the blue propeller.
This may change if M division boss Friedrich Nitschke gets his way. According to CAR magazine, Nitschke has proposed a new supercar that will be based on the underpinnings of the upcoming i8 hybrid coupe.
The i8, which will go on sale next year, is powered by a mid-mounted 1.5-liter three-cylinder that drives the rear wheels and an electric motor powering the front ones, for a combined output of 349HP and a 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) time of 4.6 seconds.
That’s quick but hardly supercar material. For the proposed M8, the four-cylinder would be replaced by a twin-turbocharged V8 with around 600HP. The M8 would lose the i8’s batteries and electric motor and, with it, 200 kg (441 lbs) from the hybrid’s 1,480 kg (3,263 lbs) weight, and thus it would be significantly lighter than rivals such as the 1,458 kg Ferrari 458 Italia.
Way back in the 1990s, another proposal for a M8, based on the 8-Series and powered by the same V12 used in the McLaren F1, never made it past the prototype stage. Four years ago, BMW unveiled the M1 Concept (pictured above) to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the original; despite rumors to the contrary, it remained just a concept. Here’s hoping that the third time will be a charm…
By Andrew Tsaousis