Manufacturers will often use existing models to test stuff out for future products. For a great example of this, it’s worth taking a look at the test mule for the Nissan ‘400Z’ seen last year, which looks to be a heavily modified 370Z. Mazda, meanwhile, was thrashing an RX-8 around the Nurburgring not so long ago, potentially to trial future rotary tech.
It’s easy, then, to get excited by this mysterious BMW 8-series. With the M8 revealed ages ago, this camouflaged 8er surely must be something else, and what’s more, its rear quarter windows have been replaced with vents. The rear windscreen, meanwhile, has been partially obscured.
Having supposedly ditched plans for its long-rumoured, M1-succeeding supercar, could BMW have performed a U-turn? Don’t forget, the German brand has now confirmed an M3 Touring, despite a senior company figure previously insisting its fast SUVs negate the need for a wagon from M Division.
The chances are we probably aren’t looking at an early mule for a new mid-engined BMW, however. For one thing, the car seems to lack adequate vents in the bodywork to either sufficiently feed a big engine back there, nor effectively eject the hot air it’ll give off.
Plus, the source of these Spy Shots notes that while being Munich registered, the unusual vehicle is based at Pirelli’s ‘Ring test centre, and has been piloted by the Italian firm’s drivers. So, it may simply be a tyre testing vehicle with some weird, unexplained bodywork modifications. Our understanding is the car would have most likely been supplied to Pirelli as is.
The mule is said to sound very similar to the M850i, and indeed, the front end does look to match that of the twin-turbo V8-powered 8er. At the rear, meanwhile, the standard light clusters are covered up, with round units mounted at the edges.
What do you make of this strange BMW 8-series? Be sure to post your theories in the comments…
Update: BMW has since told German publication Auto Motor und Sport that the car was a test bet for various new components, and as we expected, (sadly) not a mid-engine development mule. The unusual vents weren’t explained.