To brighten up the X5 launch BMW decided to built a very special version of the X5 showcasing the maximum ability of the car. Under the enlarged bonnet BMW have installed the 1999 LeMans winning V12 engine. Now without the mandatory restrictors the engine is good for a healthy 700 bhp, which is about twice as much as the most powerful X5 V8. The chassis was adjusted to handle this slight power increase.
The X5 LeMans concept car has been modified only slightly compared to the series-production version. It is powered by the V12 engine of the prize-winning car in Le Mans in 1999, which produces more than 700 bhp and a torque of 720 Nm. The suspension has been lowered by 30 millimetres. The external dimensions basically correspond to those of the series-production X5. Inside the comfortable standard seats have been replaced by four sporty bucket seats. Aluminium is predominant all around.
The idea behind the concept car is of technological origin: the BMW engineers wanted to find out in practice and demonstrate the X5’s absolute limits. It was a pleasant side-effect that it turned out to be a very attractive showpiece that already caused a great stir at the Geneva Motor Show in 2000.
This all sounds very good on paper but racing driver Hans-Joachim Stuck took the X5 LeMans for a spin on one of the most demanding racing tracks in the world, the Nurburgring. He recorded a very impressive lap time of 7.49,92 minutes, that is over 25 seconds faster than a Z8.
The chassis rollin on it’s new dubs, now lowered by 30mm, axle load distribution, is almost ideal at 51:49% front/rear. The exterior dimensions are basically the same as the standard X5. the interior on the othe hand looks very different, the four comfortable seats were replaced by four alluminium bucket seats, with a particular emphasis on race feel.