In 2000, the Company installed a 6.0-liter V12 engine that was raced at Le Mans into a brand new BMW X5 SUV
The X5 is BMW’s first attempt at building an SUV. Having driven one, I can say that it does not have the same performance characteristics as the sports sedans that I have come to know and love. As an engineering exercise, BMW built an X5 almost 20 years ago that was so insane, it is worthy of attention today. In fact, I am sure some of you are aware of this particular X5.
Back in 2000 when the BMW first entered the SUV market, BMW took an X5 off their Spartanburg, South Carolina assembly line and sent it the main factory in Munich. It was there that their mechanical wizards did the ‘mother’ of all engine swaps. They installed a 6.0-liter V12 engine that was raced at Le Mans in 1999 and fit into the family-oriented BMW X5.
The result is an absolutely ludicrous vehicle that for some reason just seems so right. Even more so, when wrung out on a track at the hands of driving legend Hans Stuck as we see in the video below. Although the spoken language in the video is German, the glorious sound of a 700 horsepower 6.0-liter V12 engine does not need translation.
As would be expected, the BMW X5 is extensively modified to receive the monstrous masterpiece of a motor. A suspension system is installed that is on par performance-wise with the engine. Firmer springs and bushings are added that result in a ride that is 1.9 inches lower up front and 1.6 inches lower in back. The SUV is fitted with BBS E88 rims wearing 275/35R20 rubber in front and 315/35ZR20’s in the rear.
To channel the massive 700 horsepower produced by the engine, an 850CSi 6-speed ZF transmission with a twin-plate racing clutch is installed. It is designed to withstand 531 pound-feet of torque.
A full roll-case is installed to protect the driver and passenger from unforeseen accidents. ABS and BMW’s hill descent feature were both dropped from the racing X5. However, it is said that everything else that can be found in an X5 from the era was retained.
The sounds and speeds in the video are downright incredible. As such a vehicle is not available for most of us at any cost, this got me thinking about swaps that are within the realm of possibility. The first thing that came to mind was a modified LS1 with a Borg Warner Tremec T56 speed transmission. While some would view such a car as blasphemous, it would make for some fun driving, especially with a supercharger.
Video is in German