After styling supercars like the Lotus Esprit and Lancia Delta, Giorgetto Giugiaro created this one for BMW in 1991. At the time he was a busy man, both Jaguar and Bugatti had enlisted him for similar work. Fortunately, the capable team at Italdesign-Giugiaro S.p.A could not only prototype, but test and manufacture as well.
Unlike other design houses of the period, Italdesign was very thorough; enough to ensure that the concept cars were fully functioning prototypes. You could almost consider them good enough to launch as a preproduction model. Fortunately, this is also the case with the M12.
Giugiaro had already styled BMW’s first modern supercar, the 1978 M1, so his newer M12 was a natural evolution. Both cars shared the same BMW ‘kidney’ grill, low profile and mid-engine layout. Unlike the angular-lines from the seventies, Giugiaro gave the M12 a completely round greenhouse. Unfortunately, this also meant that split doors had to be fitted because the compound curve of the glass was too steep. Thus, the glass section of the door hinged at the T-Bar while the rest regular door swung out normally. Italdesign also fitted the entire greenhouse with mirror-finish tint, making it impossible to see the occupants or interior inside.
Underneath the carbon fiber body Italdesign sourced BMW’s best available engine, the V12 from the BMW 750i and 850i. This five-liter unit produced 300.0 bhp (223.7 kw ) which was good enough to propel the car to 180 mph (289.7 kph).
Unfortunately BMW didn’t want to go through the another hassle like the M1, so the M12 never reach regular production.
Long thought of as a concept car, Italdesign actually produced a version of the M12 for the Sultan of Brunei and his brother prince Jefri Bolkiah. Unlike the first show car, the production version was fitted with the S70B56 BMW V12, but upgraded by Alpina to produce more horsepower. This car, chassis 003/ID, was painted blue and has been recently seen in Singapore with Hong Seh Motors.
In 1993, Italdesign again revisited the M12 project. Fitted was a new carbon-fiber body lacking front lights. Called the C2, both a coupe and spider version were made. Like the M12 these were fully functioning prototypes.