BMW M5 Wagon With McLaren F1 Engine Has Been Secretly Stored for Decades: Report

The public has never seen this 618-horsepower wagon, which was described by McLaren’s former road car director as “an outrageous thing.”

byRob Stumpf|
BMW M5 Wagon With McLaren F1 Engine Has Been Secretly Stored for Decades: Report

When automotive legend Gordon Murray signed on to design the concept for McLaren's very first road-going car, he established that he was a man of principle. His design, which would later become the world-beating McLaren F1, needed to be lightweight, naturally aspirated, and seat the driver centrally in the car's cockpit. So when Murray approached BMW's M division to help build one of the most iconic cars the world would ever see, engineer Paul Rosche took the reins.

Rosche's final design was a 618-horsepower, 6.1-liter V12 which would be branded as the BMW S70/2. With a contract of 350 purpose-built engines on the line (only 106 cars were actually sold), of course BMW needed to test its creation and, according to former McLaren road car director David Clark, they did just that with the help of the world's coolest wagon: an E34 BMW M5 Touring.

On an episode of Top Gear presenter Chris Harris' Collecting Cars podcast, Clark revealed the information, exposing one of BMW's best-kept secrets. 

“When they tested the engine [of the McLaren F1] it was in an M5 estate car,” exclaims Clark. "I’ve driven [it], it’s an outrageous thing.”

According to Clark, BMW still has possession of this car in its secret stash of test vehicles that never quite made it to the road. As far as we know, it's not something that the public has had the glory of witnessing.

As for Murray, he has been hard at work designing what is believed to be the unofficial successor to the McLaren F1. The upcoming hypercar, called the T.50, is intended to be the greatest road car ever built—certainly not something meant to chase top speed records, or even win races. Its purpose will be served as a pure, unadulterated driving machine.

And, as about as properly timed as it can get, Chris Harris himself announced today that he had purchased his very own "homemade" E34 M5 Touring. Sadly, there's no V12 under the bonnet here.