BMW's M division has turned up a special one-off prototype that even the carmaker itself can't account for: an orange Z3 with a V12 crammed into its engine bay.
The photos, posted on the brand's Facebook page this week, were accompanied by a short message: "We don't know why a V12 engine was built into a BMW Z3 years ago, but it still looks impressive, doesn't it?"
Impressive engineering indeed. The installation is so clean that it might almost be the favoured straight-six nestled under the roadster's clamshell bonnet.
Others have suggested it was a 'skunkworks' project, such as the E90-based M3 Ute. US site Autoguide speculated that the engine is the M73 5.4 litre V12 from an old BMW 750i.
The same Z3 chassis did spawn the E36 BMW M Roadster and Coupe pair, which in Europe packed a 236kW six versus the 240kW of the much heavier and thirstier V12.
Codenamed E36/7, the Z3 roadster went on sale in 1996 and sold until 2002 before being replaced by the Z4.
It was BMW's first mass-market roadster and the first BMW to be assembled in BMW's South Carolina plant.
When first released, it had a 1.9 litre four cylinder under the bonnet, later joined by a 2.8 litre straight six and eventually M's howling six.
The V12 could be a glimpse into what might have been, but we're certain it doesn't have the requisite 50:50 weight distribution favoured by M.
(Nice drag car though.)
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