In part 2 of our labor day weekend “Bavarian insanity” special, following the V16 7 series, I present to you the 1999 BMW Z3 V12 roadster

Some of you may be asking: Why? To which BMW engineers would most likely reply because why not. This prototype was apparently an exercise in engine bay ergonomics, so as to assess how to maximize space efficiency in BMW engine bays and fit all its various components. It appears they have succeeded, as unlike yesterday’s 767i, the cooling is in the front. Indeed, there are probably not many engine bays that have been designed to accommodate engines ranging from the Z3’s entry level 1.8 liter fourpot to this dozen of glorious cylinders, approximately 3 times the size.

Good thing BMW engineers aren’t heart surgeons, otherwise they would keep trying to transplant a heart from a whale into a small rodent just to see what happens.

The engine used in this car is the 5.4 liter M73 V12, also used in the e38 7 series, as well as latter versions of the e31 8 series. This unit provided 322 horsepower, so no advantage over the Z3 M (S54 engine at least) horsepower figures. Combined with the fact BMW’s golden 50-50 weight distribution was annihilated in this nose heavy exercise, with reported numbers closer to 70/30 front to rear, it is hard to see the point of this prototype. Only the V12’s turbine like delivery would have proved interesting, as well as the fact it was still mated to a 6 speed manual transmission.


Enthusiasts wanting a stupendous amount of cylinders in their Z3 can also turn to Hartge for this task.

The Hartge Z3 coupe 5.0 boasted a 5.0 V8 in a Z3 coupe (enter clownshoe jokes), as well as the exact same production numbers as the Z3 V12: one.