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Click here for a closer look. Photograph by BMW.
Click here for a closer look. Photograph by BMW.
Click here for a closer look. Photograph by BMW.
Click here for a closer look. Photograph by BMW.
Click here for a closer look. Photograph by BMW.

Story by BMW: 01 March 2000

The BMW X5 Le Mans experimental vehicle- a truly unique car

An impressive study demonstrates the sheer size of the technical potential the X5 actually has on tap under extreme conditions: The X5 Le Mans is propelled by the V12 engine carried over from the Le Mans winning car, with unparalleled performance at a corresponding level. This means that the engine of the X5 Le Mans experimental vehicle performs a power unit developing 700 bhp (514 kW) and has a torque of 720 Nm (531 lb-ft) at 5000 rpm, which accelerates this experimental car from a stand-still to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds. Top speed is 278 km/h (173 mph).

The idea behind the X5 Le Mans experimental vehicle originates primarily from a technical ambition: BMW's engineers wanted to explore and demonstrate the X5's real absolute limits in practice. As a kind of welcome side effect, their efforts produced a compelling showpiece whose powerful looks reflect its impressive inner values.

Racing-car technology
The most striking change to the exterior is the bonnet scoop for the air from the radiator. Further exterior modifications were made at the front and rear bumper covers, the wing skirts and sill covers, the exterior mirrors and wheels. The chassis with 20-inch wheels was lowered by 30 millimetres (1.18 inches). Depending on the type of duty this car is applied to, 315/35 or 275/40 tyres are mounted on its front wheels, while its rear wheels are generally fitted with 315/35 tyres. Axle load distribution is almost ideal, at 51:49% front/rear.

Exterior dimensions are basically the same as on the standard X5. The interior, on the other hand, looks quite different, with a definite high-tech touch. The more comfortable standard seats were replaced by four bucket seats with a particular emphasis on sportiness, and aluminium stands out as a predominating element throughout.

Award-winning power unit: BMW engine sets racing-sports standards
BMW's six-litre V12 engine is the perfect engine to meet the challenge of sports-car competitions. In 1995 this engine celebrated its first great triumph as the winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans - powering the closed McLaren BMW sports car. BMW's greatest success with this power unit was the BMW V12 LMR's final win in the legendary 24-hour race in 1999. For racing use, the engine's output was derated to approx. 580 bhp (426 kW) by installing air supply limiters.

The X5 Le Mans is a one-of-a-kind vehicle and it is not for sale. There are no plans to produce it in small batches or on a larger scale.