Although most of us are madly in love with BMW’s S54 and even the S65 engine, ask any enthusiast what the best racing engine ever made is, and you’re likely to get a response with the answer: M70. Produced from 1987 to 1996, the BMW M70 was their very first V12 engine. The production engine fitted to their road-going models was great, but it was nothing compared to the S70 racing engine produced for two special race cars.
The S70/2 shares very little with the normal S70 unit, because it’s essentially two S50 engines joined together where the variable valve timing – Vanos was used to increase the performance of the engine. You can only find this engine in one car, and that’s the McLaren F1 which was built from 1993 to 1998. Even the F1 GTR featured a tweaked version of this engine.
Then there’s the S70/3. A racing engine based on the S70/2, the S70/3 was installed in the BMW V12 LM as well as the V12 LMR race car that won BMW’s lone overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. They both power in the region of 600 hp, but the question of which sounds better is open to debate. Have a watch of this comparison video by belgian-motorsport and judge for yourself.