When you think of a “BMW supercar” you might think of the iconic M1 or the newer i8 hybrid sportscar. But there was another vehicle with a mid-engined layout, stunning performance and wore BMW’s twin-kidney grille. The 1991 Italdesign BMW Nazca M12 is a breathtaking blend of road and track attributes that looked to the future.
Italdesign is a famed Italian coachbuilder and design house. The outfit is home to Giorgetto Guigiaro, who crafted stunning designs for Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, and some of BMW’s best cars (like the 3200 CS, M1 and 2008 M1 Homage Concept). The Nazca series of cars (M12, C2, C2 Spider), were meant to combine elements of F1 cars and the amazing Group C racing cars of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Under the bonnet out back was a 300-horsepower 5.0-liter V12 from the BMW 850i. It sent power to the rear wheels through a ZF manual gearbox and a specially designed flange. The frame and the body are constructed from carbon fiber, which was an even more exotic material then then it is now. Weight for the vehicle was kept to just 2,400 pounds.
Additionally, the front spoiler was lowered, and spoilers were added to the rear. Both were installed to bring the C2 closer to the driving feel of being on a race track. Weight was reduced by 220 pounds, helping it achieve a top speed of 185 mph.