Prototype BMW M8 (E31) with 640 hp: way ahead of its time!

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Prototype BMW M8 E31 with 640 PS 10 e1615876527386 Prototype BMW M8 (E31) with 640 PS: Far ahead of its time!

Photos by BMW

The first BMW M8 caused a sensation when it entered a new era of High-performance M-automobiles Launched in 2019. What is less well known is that around 30 years ago a model was already in development that bore the same name. BMW engineers designed one in the early 90s M8 prototypewho on the then E31 8 Series Coupé based - of course, top secret. In fact, the very first M8 remained under lock and key for almost two decades, and it wasn't until 2010 that the superlative sports car was presented. However, it was his fate never to get onto the street, but the unique one Prototyp would have certainly made waves, it would have been produced. Here is fascinating story.

A powerful giant: the engine

The main features of the BMW M8 E31 prototypes is his big one 6 liter machine. V12 engines are always in great demand with true car fans, but this engine is particularly unique. The power unit, especially from the S70 machine which is known for its high performance, combines grandeur, a smooth run and huge performance potential with an impressive exterior.

Prototype BMW M8 E31 with 640 PS 2 Prototype BMW M8 (E31) with 640 PS: Far ahead of its time!

Among the numerous technical highlights are particularly noteworthy visible suction system, which is made entirely of carbon fiber and which Rolling valves, which are used instead of the classic throttle valves. Best performance was the top priority in development: the M version of the E31 Coupé would be with at the beginning of the 90s up to 640 hp rolled onto the street - a number that was almost unrivaled at the time. For comparison: the most powerful representative of the 8 / series at the time was the BMW 850Csi, which is through 380 PS & 550 NM from the S70B56-V12 excellent.

Capable of more than 300 kilometers per hour

In collaboration with a manual 6-speed gearbox the M8 accelerates quickly from 0 to 100 km. Official measurements were never taken, but data from the BMW 850 CSi from 1992 can be used for comparison: it reached the mark in less than 6 seconds. In addition, there is the fact that the M8 prototype does not stop accelerating until it does 300 kilometers per hour achieved - a feature that was also considered startling at the time. Even by today's standards, the car is still a first-class model.

Prototype BMW M8 E31 with 640 PS 4 Prototype BMW M8 (E31) with 640 PS: Far ahead of its time!

The exterior: Dedicated to performance!

If you look at the light red color scheme off, the BMW M8 prototype presents itself in a somewhat more reserved way, considering what is hidden under the body. Nevertheless, there are various external elements that distinguish the prototype from the normal E31 from the 8 series and underline the special character of the classy racing car. At first glance, both the aerodynamically shaped side mirror as well as the wide flared wheel arches. The latter are reminiscent of the legendary BMW M3 of the first generation and were replaced by a large air intake in the side panel accentuated in front of the rear wheels. The wider drive axle of the prototype creates space for one significantly wider track and at the same time ensures a bold appearance and also contributes to one better dynamics at.

Prototype BMW M8 E31 with 640 PS 6 Prototype BMW M8 (E31) with 640 PS: Far ahead of its time!

Sporty and still a grand tourer

The M8 prototype also differs from the front normal 8 series, more precisely through the bonnetwhere the prototype without the foldable lamps that was found on all E31 models at the time. Instead, the headlights are incorporated into the bumper. The design is also characterized by a other hood off the one in the middle Air vent got. The entire front reduces air resistance compared to a normal E31, so that better aerodynamics are achieved, especially at high speeds. On the other hand, there are many lightweight components that are barely visible. For example, the Doors, the trunk lid and the Hood constructed of plastic that with fiberglass is reinforced. Incidentally, the chic five-spoke rims only come with one carbon look equipped. The impressive, the High Performance Coupé weighs under 1.450 kg.

The intended sales argument as a luxury sports car was not diminished by the powerful body: The BMW M8 exudes timeless elegance and the modifications fit seamlessly with the general image of a large sports coupé, which reinforces the impression of an M automobile that is almost ready for production.

The interior: Motorsport flair with fine accents

The interior has received the necessary degree of sportiness that corresponds to the desired high performance characteristics. The tight-fitting ones Bucket seats offer uncompromising lateral support during the Sabelt motorsport style seat belt provides a colorful contrast. Also, the car is with a short gear lever equipped, which enables quick switching. Additional instruments in the middle of the dashboard are inclined towards the driver. The generous use of Alcantara ranges from the door panels to the dashboard and the center console.

Prototype BMW M8 E31 with 640 PS 8 Prototype BMW M8 (E31) with 640 PS: Far ahead of its time!

BMW M8 - a combination of luxury and motorsport

The luxurious elegance in combination with the real M Performance connects the E31 BMW M8 prototype with his rightful heir, the BMW M8 F92 from 2019. Both share an avant-garde aesthetic and the incomparable combination of pure luxury in combination with motorsport performance. The current BMW M8 replaces the dreamy V12 with a modern BMW M BiTurbo 8-cylinder with 625 hp. Nevertheless, the most important characteristic that both cars have in common has not changed: the M8 has BMW's most powerful engine, but this time in series production.


  • Basics
    - Development designation: E31
    - Chassis number: 031EG1100LH231590
    - Year of construction: 1992
    - Color outside: light red
    - Interior color: special upholstery
    - Construction time: no series production
    - Units produced: 1
  • Engine
    - Engine type / installation location: V12 longitudinal installation (S70 / 2)
    - Intake: suction motor
    - Torque: 650 Nm at 5600 rpm.
    - Power: 640 hp at 7500 rpm.
    - Displacement: 6064 cc
    - Bore / stroke: 86 mm / 87 mm
    - Compression: 11.0: 1
  • Circuit
    - Transmission type: 6-speed manual transmission
    - Gear ratio: 4,25 / 2,53 / 1,68 / 1,26 / 1,00 / 0,83: 1
  • Electrical
    - Generator: three-phase current 140A, 1960W
    - Battery: 12V 72Ah
  • Body
    - Light body / side panels, doors and flaps made of GRP
  • Chassis
    - Front suspension: double wishbone suspension, McPherson struts, coil springs, reinforced torsion bar stabilizer, electronic damper control (EDC)
    - Rear suspension: precision control arm axle, strut struts, coil springs, torsion bar stabilizer, electronic damper control (EDC)
    - Front brake: 1-piston floating caliper brake, internally ventilated
    - Front brake discs: 345 mm
    - Rear brake: 1-piston, ventilated, floating caliper disc brake
    - Rear brake discs: 328 mm
    - Front / rear rims: 8J x 17 / 9J x 17
    - Front / rear tires: 235/45 ZR17 & 285/40 ZR 17
  • Dimensions
    - Length / width / height: 4780 mm / 1855 mm / 1330 mm
    - Wheelbase: 2684 mm
    - Track width front / rear: 1554 mm / 1562 mm
    - Empty weight: 1443 kg

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