While other automakers kill off the V12, BMW remains committed.
It seems like the V12 engine is running out of life as automakers begin phasing them out of their lineups. Mercedes recently announced a limited edition sendoff for the S65 AMG, Audi has admitted its W12 won't be around much longer, and Jaguar hasn't built a V12 for many years. BMW still offers a V12 on the M760Li xDrive, though this massive engine is rumored to be on the chopping block due to difficulties passing emissions tests.
The next-generation 7 Series has even been rumored to drop the eight- and twelve-cylinder engines all together to focus one inline-sixes and electric drivetrains. In an interview with Top Gear, however, BMW says the V12 will be safe at least for a few more years.
Michael Bayer, head of powertrain for the 7 Series, said: "We will keep [the V12] for the rest of this generation at least, until 2023."
So after this current generation 7 Series is replaced, the V12 will likely die with it, right? Well, Bayer explained that the twin-turbo V12 could be designed to comply with emissions and efficiency regulations but admitted such a task would be difficult.
At this point, we have to ask why BMW even feels the need to offer a V12 engine when the V8 is already so powerful. It turns out BMW customers still want a V12 engine. "Since we revealed this car, we have been at maximum capacity building these engines," said BMW 7 Series product chief Christian Metzger.
In the US, the M760Li xDrive produces 600 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque from its 6.6-liter twin-turbo V12. Due to European emission regulations, BMW has been forced to lower the engine's output to 577 hp on Europeans models. The 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 in the Alpina B7 produces more than that with 600 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque, making us wonder why anyone even bothers with the V12 anymore.