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BMW V12 engine production to end

After 35 years BMW will retire the V12 engine; Rolls-Royce to press on

20 Jan 2022

BMW is set to end production of its V12 engine in June and will commemorate the occasion with a fitting – and very limited – run of special-edition 7 Series models. 


Just one dozen BMW M760i xDrive “Final V12” models will be released in the US market, each with a sticker price of $US200,000 (about $A278,500).


BMW says the Final V12 has been “specifically crafted” for the US market and is distinguished by unique 20-inch alloy wheels in Window Grey or Jet Black. It will be available with a choice of over 80 paint options and several shades of Full Merino leather trim from the BMW Individual catalogue.


Denoted further by a unique V12 badge on the boot lid – in place of the usual 760i nomenclature – the large sedan is equipped with BMW M Sport brakes with a choice of blue- or black-painted calipers, a V12-branded engine cover, as well as commemorative numbered plaque detailing the vehicle’s place in the “final 12”.


The derivative will also feature inscribed sill-panel covers, BMW’s Individual Piano Black trim garnishing, plus Driving Assistance Professional and luxury rear-seating packages, panoramic Sky Lounge LED Roof, adaptive LED headlights with Laserlight, remote-control parking, extended Shadowline exterior trim, and a Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound audio system.


BMW USA says that soon after taking delivery, every Final V12 customer will receive a custom-made desk trophy to commemorate their purchase – the item detailing the vehicle’s VIN, paint colour and upholstery choice. It’s expected most of the dozen customers purchasing a Final V12 will be those with long histories of owning a V12-engined 7- or 8-Series derivatives.


The twin-turbocharged 6.6-litre V12 (N74-series) engine found in BMW’s 7 Series range features BMW M TwinPower Turbo technology, infinitely variable Double Vanos and Valvetronic valve control and high-precision direct injection. 


The all-aluminium mill develops 442kW of power at 5250rpm and 850Nm of torque from just 1500rpm and is mated with a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission. The claimed 0-100km/h time for the Final V12 is listed at just 3.8 seconds (!).


And while BMW will officially end production of its V12 this year, the larger displacement version of the same engine will continue in Rolls-Royce models for the foreseeable future. 


Although the luxury manufacturer has committed to all-electric propulsion by the end of the decade, it will continue to offer the 6.75-litre (420kW/900Nm) engine in the meantime. 


A smaller, 6.0-litre displacement version of the BMW V12 (developing 400kW/750Nm) has also been available since 2009. 


BMW first introduced a road-going V12 limousine to its portfolio in 1987. 


Essentially the amalgam of two 2.5-litre six-cylinder engines joined at a 60-degree angle, the normally aspirated 5.0-litre(M70-series) unit featured single overhead camshafts with two valves per cylinder and an innovative drive-by-wire throttle body.


The all-aluminium unit produced 220kW and 450Nm and powered the E32-generation 7 Series and E31-generation 8 Series before being superseded in 1993.


Around the same time (1993-98), BMW also produced a DOHC V12 engine that powered McLaren’s F1 supercar and F1 GTR race car, which won the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans.


BMW’s next roadgoing V12 – the M73-series – had a higher displacement (increased to 5.4 litres) and produced peak outputs to 240kW and 490Nm. The unit featured in the E38 7 Series, E31 8 Series and Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph, and was in service through until 2002. 


The ‘original’ V12 engine was replaced by the all-new N73-series V12, which was offered in 6.0- and 6.8-litre displacements. It saw service in both the BMW 7 Series and Rolls-Royce Phantom.


The N73 was the first BMW V12 roadgoing engine to feature double overhead cams and double Vanos (variable valve timing) and was notably the world’s first production petrol engine to utilise direct injection. The unit was superseded by the current N74-series mill in 2008.


Locally, BMW Australia still lists the V12-powered 7 Series as available via its special-order service. A spokesperson for the German importer told GoAuto News that V12-powered 7 Series offerings are indeed coming to an end.


“We can confirm that a V12 (powered) variant will not be offered in the next generation 7 Series,” a BMW Australia spokesperson said.


The final M760Li for Australia will be delivered this year.



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