End Of An Era: Final BMW V12 Has Been Built

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But Rolls-Royce will still get its fix.

The writing has been on the wall for BMW's V12 for the past two years with an abundance of warnings that it would not be used in future vehicles. Tightening emissions regulations and the low-volume nature of the N74 were the final two nails in this extravagant engine's coffin, and when the updated BMW 7 Series debuted in April this year, it was powered by straight-six and V8 engines. Of course, we knew this would happen, as back in January, BMW announced 'The Final V12' as a special series of just 12 BMW M760i luxury sedans with the last 12-cylinder engines to ever feature in a roadgoing BMW.

But the time has now come for us to bid adieu to this special engine as "the last BMW 7 Series vehicles with the V12 have been produced," a BMW spokesperson told CarBuzz. "We did a final edition for the US, which sold out really quickly."

BMW
BMW
BMW

A Rich History For BMW

V12 engines have traditionally been the realm of exotic Italian car manufacturers such as Ferrari and Lamborghini, but although it was only used in a few special models, the BMW V12 has been one of the finest to grace the automotive world.

The Munich-based manufacturer has been crafting modern V12 engines since the late 1980s with the introduction of the M70, a 5.0-liter, 60-degree V12 engine producing 295 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque at 4,100. Since then the brand developed this engine further with the M73 (1993-2002), the N73 (2003-2016), and finally the N74 from 2008, which only ever saw use in a single BMW - the 7 Series.

BMW
BMW
2020-2022 BMW 7 Series Front Angle View BMW
2020-2022 BMW 7 Series Rear View Driving BMW

In its most recent and most potent form in the M760i, the 6.6-liter twin-turbo behemoth generated 602 hp and 590 lb-ft, paired with all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic that made the luxury sedan behave like a rocket ship.

Along the way, the BMW V12 has powered icons like the 850 CSi, various iterations of the 7 Series, the Rolls-Royce Phantom, and the iconic McLaren F1 supercar.

But there were other highlights, as BMW toyed around with the engine in various concepts, transplanting it into a stillborn M8 prototype in the early '90s, a 700-hp BMW X5 prototype called the Le Mans in the 2000s, and even a BMW Z3 prototype.

McLaren
BMW
McLaren
BMW

What Comes After The V12 Era?

It must first be said that Rolls-Royce still uses a BMW-sourced V12 engine in its products, so while the mill may be dead with a BMW badge, it still has some life left. That said, Rolls-Royce has confirmed it will be all-electric by 2030, so the V12 as we know it is unlikely to evolve beyond what it is now.

But for BMW, what comes next? Well, the new 7 Series only has six- and eight-cylinder engines, and between plug-in hybrids and the all-electric i7, BMW has found alternatives to the hefty 12-pot. While at present, the 760i xDrive makes only 536 hp from its twin-turbo V8, BMW is likely to use a plug-in hybrid system on this engine in future, as previewed by the XM concept. In the latter, it's capable of developing 750 hp combined, so a future 7 Series flagship with this powertrain would be a suitable replacement for the V12 - if only on performance.

While brands like Mercedes-Maybach still make use of the V12, for BMW, its time in the sun has come to an end. It may be a proverbial dinosaur in the age of electrification, but we'll remember the BMW V12 fondly.

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2019-2022 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Rear Angle View CarBuzz
2019-2022 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Engine Bay CarBuzz
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