The 2000 BMW X5 “Le Mans” Is Rocking a Very Loud V12 Racing Engine

2000 BMW X5 Le Mans V12 concept 10 photos
Photo: BMW Group Classic on YouTube
2000 BMW X5 Le Mans V12 concept2000 BMW X5 Le Mans V12 concept2000 BMW X5 Le Mans V12 concept2000 BMW X5 Le Mans V12 concept2000 BMW X5 Le Mans V12 concept2000 BMW X5 Le Mans V12 concept2000 BMW X5 Le Mans V12 concept2000 BMW X5 Le Mans V12 concept2000 BMW X5 Le Mans V12 concept
Arguably the most elegant X5 ever, the first generation was sketched in two hours on a flight by Frank Stephenson. Produced from 1999 to 2006, the BMW E53 could reach 100 kilometers per hour (62 miles per hour) in just 6.1 seconds with the free-breathing V8 known as the N62B48.
There is, however, a one-off X5 that eclipses all others. “Le Mans” is how BMW calls the super-sporty concept with 700 horsepower and 531 pound-feet (720 Nm), resources that are sent exclusively to the rear axle.

Presented with great pomp and circumstance at the 2000 Geneva Motor Show, the Le Mans is called that way because of the P75 racing engine derived from the S70/2 of the McLaren F1. You know, the limited-edition hypercar that still holds the record for the fastest N/A road car ever.

Uncovered by BMW Group Classic and detailed over the course of five minutes, this fellow is also rocking a six-speed manual transmission instead of a torque-converter automatic. The lowered suspension is complemented by BBS LM wheels, and the interior is very special too because it originally had no fewer than four individual bucket seats with body-hugging bolsters.

The raised transmission tunnel, dual-piped center exhaust system, and beefy rubber further differentiates the X5 Le Mans from its bone-stock siblings. More powerful than the race-spec engine because it doesn’t feature air restrictors, this no-nonsense SUV has lapped the Green Hell in just 7:49.

Not bad for a boxy sport utility vehicle that weighs over two metric tons, right? The exhaust note isn’t too shabby either. As a matter of fact, you need hearing protection because the X5 Le Mans doesn’t have cats or mufflers.

The concept also features a hand-written piece of paper on which the mechanics wrote the start-up instructions, which is as crazy as it gets for an SUV. On that note, press play to enjoy this video of the X5 M’s forerunner.

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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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