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BMW X5 Le Mans Concept with V12 Engine in Bratislava Museum

BMW has created several unusual concepts over the years, but few have been as interesting as the X5 Le Mans.

BMW has created several unusual concepts over the years, but few have been as interesting as the X5 Le Mans. In 2000, the M Division fitted the E53 with a twelve-cylinder engine taken from the V12 LMR, the triumphant car that had competed in endurance races at Le Mans.

The one-of-a-kind BMW Group Classic SUV is temporarily exhibited in Slovakia at the Danubiana Meulenštín Art Museum. One of the reasons the X5 Le Mans is considered special is that it overtook the race car as the M Division unleashed the full potential of the V12.

The massive 6.1-liter engine produced more than 700 hp, whereas in the V12 LMR its output was reduced to about 580 hp because it had to meet certain racing rules. With a huge torque of 720 Nm, the unique E53 accelerated to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds.

About 23 years have passed, and the X5 Le Mans remains one of the fastest SUVs in the world. Race car driver Hans-Joachim Stuck managed to reach 311 km/h in the X5 Le Mans concept in a lightweight two-seater configuration. It was a truly impressive spectacle, not only because of the powerful engine, but also because of the exclusive 20ʺ BBS LM rims with massive 315/35 front and rear tires. Despite the huge engine, it had almost perfect weight distribution – 51% at the front and 49% at the rear. Power was transferred to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission.

At first glance at the hood, you can’t tell this isn’t the usual first-generation X5. Made of laminated carbon fiber, the hood houses the massive hole needed for engine cooling. The craftsmen of the M Division have widened the high-speed SUV and brought it 30 millimeters closer to the road to improve handling and give it a more stable look.

For 2022, BMW said goodbye to the V12, dropping the M760i as tougher emissions regulations speed up the reduction. BMW Group’s only chance to get a V12 is to go with Rolls-Royce, but even that brand will ditch the internal combustion engine by 2030, when it switches to electric.

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