M’s moment of madness

The car exists for several reasons, though not all of them are immediately obvious. First up, when BMW won Le Mans in ‘99, they thought that dropping the same engine that got them to the top step into their first ever SUV would be a fitting way to showcase both their victory and their new car. OK, then.

BMW engineers also liked the idea, mainly because they wanted to explore the X5's dynamic limits, and slotting a race-bred V12 into an SUV seemed like a great way of making Newton really angry. And finally, when the engineers were done finding out how far you really could push the SUV brief, the X5 V12 did a bit of moonlighting for the marketing department on the stand of the 2000 Geneva Motor Show, mainly to help drum up some interest in the controversial new car. That's three birds killed with one 700hp stone.