Munich - In an increasingly electrified automotive landscape where the internal combustion engine itself is an endangered species, it’s inevitable that the motors with the most cylinders are going to fade out fastest. And the latest to join the annals of history is the BMW V12.
This comes 35 years after BMW launched its first V12 engine in the 750Li, which was considered a benchmark in the premium saloon game. Compared to today’s 6.6-litre V12 that powers the current M760i xDrive, the original motor was a bit more basic with its two-valve-per-cylinder configuration and 220kW output, but it did usher in an innovative drive-by-wire electronic throttle.
The modern 6.6-litre unit has upped the game with twin mono-scroll turbochargers as well as direct injection. With outputs of 430kW and 850Nm, this hulky car can sprint from 0-100km/h in 3.8 seconds, according to claims.
To mark the end of this smooth-revving era, BMW is launching a special edition M760Li xDrive model, fittingly called “THE FINAL V12”. The carmaker is only making 12 of them for the US market, and at this stage there’s no word on whether other countries will also get a commemorative edition of sorts.
The BMW M760i xDrive is still listed for sale in South Africa, with a starting price just north of R3.5-million, but it’s unlikely to be available for much longer given that production of the V12 engined models is expected to end this year.
Strangely BMW hasn’t released any pictures of the V12 final edition, which will only be offered to customers with a “long history” of BMW V12 ownership, but it does state that the vehicle is fitted with 20-inch M Double-Spoke wheels and there are a number of special badges and plaques to distinguish it as well as a special commemorative gift for the owner.
New generation of sixes and V8s!
But just because BMW is discontinuing its V12, doesn’t mean it’s giving up on bigger-configuration engines though. Recent international media reports state that BMW is working on a new generation of six-cylinder and V8 petrol and diesel engines which are expected to feature redesigned cylinder heads that significantly reduce CO2 emissions.
In 2020 BMW's R&D chief Klaus Froehlich was quoted as saying that BMW plans to continue producing petrol engines for at least another 30 years, while its diesel motors have around 20 years left. However, the engine range is expected to be reduced to allow the company to invest more heavily in electric cars.
Rather than forcing its customers to go electric, BMW, like Toyota, aims to create a wide portfolio of products that gives customers the ultimate choice.