The Frankfurt Motor Show is arguably the biggest motor show of them all. But when in Germany it pays to head South to Munich, why? Because BMW has some amazing exhibits and museums you simply must check out if ever given the chance. Chris Bowen was taken inside the BMW M Studio for a look at the cars that never made it into production.
Basically, these are never produced prototypes, but they are drivable and some are even registered. All are in immaculate condition. Cleary the headline acts are the two M3 utes, a first generation E30 M3 and E92 M3 sit proudly alongside an E46 M Touring, M8 and M5 Cabrio.
News of the two utes is not new, in the case of the E30 it has been around for 25 years. In fact, the classic M served some real duty, carting bits and pieces around the factory. It’s known affectionately as “Resi”.
The M3 successor in 2011 was announced via a cheeky April 1, 2011 press release. The vehicle was born out of a BMW 330i convertible and is in fact fully registered and drivable beyond the factory gates. Could you just imagine driving this 313kW V8 menace on the street? The rear checker-plate lined tray can carry up to 450kg and there’s even a tow ball. It would fail the palette test, those huge wheel aches intrude way too far into the tray.
Inside it’s just a typical M3, aside from the lack of rear seats and tiny rear window. I had the chance to sit in it and the Alcantara headliner and the use of carbon fibre really make this one heck of a ute. It’s also got a removable hard-top roof! When the question was posed about the price of making such a vehicle, the answer from the well-schooled and cautious German host was “we measure that in man hours, not price.”
The pet name given to the 2011 model is PICCAR, simply explained as a play on words. Hell, I would have taken a thousand pictures of the car if red stickers were not placed over our iPhone / iPad cameras. Only an official photographer could take shots.
The utes were purely put together for some team spirit, there are around 800 workers at the M studio. Clearly every now and then they have some spare time. However, after a roundtable discussion with Hendrik von Kunheim, BMW’s senior vice president in for Asia, Australia and South Africa, one thing was clear. If BMW was to ever make a ute / pick-up it would be nothing like Mercedes-Benz’s foray into the market with the X-Class, he described that as “Appalling” – Ouch.
But sit back and enjoy the BMW M cars that never made it.
BMW M8 1991 concept.
BMW M5 cabrio, just one ever produced.
BMW E46 M touring. Never given the green light for production, the rise of the SUV killed this car.