It was in 1975 when Alexander Calder turned the 3.0 CSL (E9) into BMW's first Art Car. Fast forward to 2023, the German luxury brand has announced work has started on what will be the 20th vehicle to get the artsy treatment. Most of them have been based on race cars, and the upcoming creation is no exception as the M Hybrid V8 is serving as a canvas. Ethiopian-born artist Julie Mehretu will have the privilege of creating the next official Art Car.
Before that happens, the M Hybrid V8 has been photographed at the Guggenheim Museum in New York without a lick of paint. We rarely see a race car with a bare carbon fiber body, and it’s particularly interesting given the distinctive silhouette of BMW's LMDh contender. The car is already competing in IMSA – where it scored its first win last weekend – and will race in WEC next year when we’ll see it at Le Mans. In 2024, the motorsport division will mark the 25th anniversary of the V12 LMR's win during the endurance race held on the Circuit de la Sarthe.
BMW M Hybrid V8 with unpainted body
While BMW M road cars have gotten fatter over the years, the M Hybrid V8 is impressively lightweight since it tips the scales at just 1,030 kilograms (2,270 pounds). Yes, it's not fair to compare a street-legal model to a track-only beast, but the single-seater is imposingly large. You can tell by the unusually wide kidney grille it would be quite difficult to drive it on normal roads, not that will ever happen. That said, there have been road-going versions of flagship endurance race cars straight from the manufacturer. The Porsche 911 GT1 Straßenversion and Mercedes CLK GTR spring to mind.
Although it's powered by a V8 engine, it's not the new S68 twin-turbo 4.4-litre found in the newest M cars or the S63 that preceded it. It's known internally as the P66/3 and has a 4.0-litre displacement while having its roots in the engine used by the M4 DTM in 2017. On its own, the twin-turbo ICE produces about 640 bhp and 650 Newton-metres (479 pound-feet) of torque.