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One-Off BMW M8 E31 Prototype Makes Rear Video Appearance

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BMW unveiled its slightly facelifted M8 lineup at the end of January and decided to host its public debut last weekend at the 2022 Amelia Concours d’Elegance. As a nod to the past, Bavarians are also bringing in the elusive M8 E31 prototype from the early 1990s. A one-off pure, beautiful coupe takes the 850 CSi to a whole new level by packing 640 horsepower. That’s even more than the M5 CS aka the most powerful BMW production car ever.

Our friends in BMWBLOG chat with Ben Voss of BMW Classic to learn more about the M8 E31. The prototype was unearthed in 2010 after being kept secret for 20 years, and has hardly been seen out in the open since. Dressed in an impressive red, the Bimmer unicorn hides an enlarged V12 engine with a displacement of 6.0 liters while the 850 CSi has a capacity of 5.6 liters and 265 horsepower less.

There’s a lot more unique to the M8 than its naturally aspirated powerhouse as it also uses a lot of lightweight, glass-reinforced plastic. The intake is made entirely of carbon fiber. Interestingly, the spokes have carbon fiber covers, but the 17-inch alloy wheels themselves are made of alloy. Speaking of interesting tidbits, the wider rear fender houses the radiator with a hose that extends to the roof, meaning you can hear the coolant running over your head.

Completely clad in Alcantara, the interior has also undergone a few changes since BMW took out most of the comfort. The dashboard loses the 850 CSi switchgear to make room for three buttons and manual climate control. Additionally, the rear seats were removed while the front seats were upgraded to bucket seats with seat belts. And yes, it still has a six-speed manual gearbox.

30 years later, the prototype M8 E31 is still one of the fastest NA cars out there, hitting over 186 mph (300 km/h). BMW ran the car a few years ago and Ben Voss says the mighty V12 sounds raw and mechanical. It must be nice to drive 650 Nm (478 lb-ft) of torque to the rear in a car that weighs less than 1,450 kilograms (3,197 pounds).

With the M760i Final Edition, BMW is bidding its V12.

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