Secret McLaren-BMW M5 Wagon Test Car Revealed

Imagine one of these, but with a huge V12 shoved in it! Photo © / ygbsm
Imagine one of these, but with a huge V12 shoved in it! Photo © / ygbsm

I really love the Mclaren F1. It seems that I’m still learning something new about the development of the world’s fastest naturally-aspirated car! During the development of the S70/2 48-valve V12, the engine was practically shoe-horned into test cars like “Albert”; a Noble Ultima GTR test car. Imagine my surprise to learn that there is a secret BMW M5 Wagon test car with the legendary S70/2 crammed in it!

There’s something really funny about taking a hilariously overpowered engine and shoving it into something like the family grocery-getter. The BMW M5 Wagon is more for the discerning enthusiast with three kids. Despite that, I’m really getting some Paul Newman’s Ford V8-powered Volvo Wagon vibes from this car! But, how did this car even come to exist?

During a recent Collecting Cars with Chris Harris Podcast, Harris was interviewing with former McLaren engineer David Clark. When the subject of testing the S70/2 engine came up, Clark mentioned that there was, in fact, a BMW M5 Wagon test car for the S70/2. Not only there was a test car, but Clark himself had driven it! Clark went on to say that the car still exists somewhere in BMW’s collection, presumably stored next to the Ark of the Covenant. Apparently, this car belongs to a secret collection of BMW test cars that never made it to the road. Maybe it was because someone decided the S70/2 was simply too much engine for someone picking up their kids from soccer practice?

Either way, this is a really cool reveal! It makes me wonder what else might be lurking in some warehouse somewhere?

[Opinion] The new McLaren GT looks kind of bland

Has McLaren toned down their design language to appeal to more customers?

By now, you would have seen McLaren’s latest Grand Tourer, the GT. I think it’s a decent looking car, but doesn’t the design seem kind of “generic?” The design is obviously influenced by the gorgeous-but-dumbly-named Speedtail, but I’m not seeing any of the sweeping lines and curves from it.

Instead, there’s the squared off air intake from the Senna, and some design references from the gorgeous 720S, with the fastback rear canopy like the 570GT. The end result to me looks like a hodgepodge of different elements designed to appeal to multiple people. Personally, I dislike this “design-by-committee” approach.

The new GT isn’t as dramatic as the Speedtail or the 720S, and while I think the new styling works to its detriment, it’s pretty clear that this car isn’t designed to go after Porsche or Ferrari. Instead, McLaren is gunning for luxury GT brands like Bentley and Aston Martin. Logic would dictate that styling would have to be more conservative if you’re hoping to capture the luxury GT market.

Still, I’m willing to bet that the car would look much better if they used side panels and intakes from the 720S instead of the Senna.

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