The BMW M Cars that never made it

3y ago


- Following the launch of the first-gen M3 in 1986, BMW's M Division concluded that a pickup version would make a perfect parts hauler.
- So, in order to haul equipment around the M Division's site in Garching, near Munich, work starter on the M3 pickup.
- A 3-series convertible bodyshell was used, however, as its built-in bracing made it ideal for the conversion.
- The M3 Pickup used the 2.0-litre S14 engine from the Italian-market 320iS, granting it 189bhp.
- It was later fitted with a full-fat 2.3-litre S14, producing 197bhp.
- The M3 Pickup was used for 26 years, then retired gracefully into BMW's heritage fleet.
- In the late '90s, BMW was looking at ways to appeal to younger customers. One solution? A more affordable entry point into BMW M cars.
- The result was an M3 Compact concept, which would have cost less than the conventional M3 coupe.
- Jakob Polschak, head of M Division prototypes, says: "To a certain extent, the M3 Compact can be regarded as the forefather of today’s BMW M2."
- The M3 Compact weighed in at 1.3 tonnes – and its 3.2-litre S50B32 engine cranked out 321bhp.
- BMW says that a production version would have been less powerful, however, to further differentiate it from the M3.
- Now here's a car that really should have been built: an E46 M3 Touring.
- “This prototype allowed us to show that, from a purely technical standpoint at least, it was possible to integrate an M3 Touring into the ongoing production of the standard BMW 3 Series Touring with very little difficulty,” says Polschak.
- “One important thing we needed to demonstrate was that the rear doors of the standard production model could be reworked to adapt them to the rear wheel arches without the need for new and expensive tools.”
- What's not to like about a practical compact estate with a high-revving, naturally aspirated 3.2-litre straight-six?
- The pickup bug struck again in 2011, with the reveal of an E92 M3 Convertible-based conversion.
- Many media outlets thought that this M3 Pickup, which was spotted testing on the Nürburgring, previewed a production model.
- This M3 Pickup, however, was built purely to replace the retired E30 M3 Pickup that preceded it.
- It used the same 414bhp 4.0-litre S65 V8 as the base car – and, usefully, was 50kg lighter.
- It even featured a removable roof panel, which would cut a further 20kg from the kerb weight.
- So, which takes your fancy the most?
- There is, however, one other oft-overlooked M car that never made the cut – the BMW M8. More on that particular car, though, later...

Take a tour through BMW's archives to get a closer look at some of the high-performance M cars that never made it into production...

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