BMW Shows Off Bizarre V-12-Powered Z3 Roadster Prototype

bmw-z3-with-v-12-front-three-quarter

Ever heard the old muscle-car adage that there's no replacement for displacement? That line of thinking appears to have inspired this bizarre one-off creation that lingers in the collection of BMW's M GmbH performance division. It's a BMW Z3 roadster fitted with a massive V-12 engine.

Although BMW offers precious few details on the wild mash-up, the engine in question is believed to be the 5.4-liter V-12 from the 750iL luxury sedan and 850Ci coupe of the late 1990s. That mill produced about 326 hp and 361 lb-ft of torque. That makes it the gutsiest engine that BMW has ever fit into a Z3 -- even if this is a one-off special project.

When the BMW Z3 roadster launched, it was offered with a 115-hp, 1.8-liter inline-four engine and an upgrade 140-hp, 1.9-liter unit. Neither offered enough performance to match the handling and looks of BMW's roadster, so BMW later added a 2.8-liter inline-six model with 189 hp. The four-cylinder engines were later replaced by a stronger 2.5-liter inline-four. BMW eventually replaced the 2.8 with a 3.0-liter inline-six making 225 hp. The hottest factory BMW Z3 came later in the form of the M Roadster. It used a 3.2-liter inline-six derived from that of the M3, producing 321 hp.

While the V-12 engine presumably offers a modest power increase compared to the six-cylinder M Roadster, we imagine the engine's extra weight would offset any real acceleration gains. Moreover, squeezing a heavy V-12 into the front of a small, lightweight roadster like the Z3 is sure to make for interesting (read: terrifying) handling characteristics. But who are we kidding, we still really want to drive this Franken-BMW.

Source: BMW M

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