It'll be a sad day when BMW will kill the V12 engine.
With BMW offering a tiny three-cylinder engine for its new 1 Series compact hatchback, the mighty twin-turbo 6.6-litre V12 of the M760Li seems like a dinosaur in today’s downsizing trend. Mercedes-AMG is killing off its twelve-cylinder engine (although it will live on in Maybach models) while Audi will be doing the same after the current-gen A8 W12. As for BMW, the company’s Group Chief Technical Officer, Klaus Froelich, recently said the V12’s days are numbered since it’s too expensive to update to meet stricter emissions regulations.
The BMW Group doesn’t sell a lot of V12s these days as about 5,000 cars – including Rolls-Royces – are ordered with the 6.6-litre each year. One obvious reason why sales are low has to do with the prohibitive price tag - £139,120 for the M760i in the United Kingdom where the base 7 Series is the £69,565 730d. In domestic market Germany, the gap between the entry-level 7er and the flagship is even greater, with the 730d priced from €88,400 and the top dog almost double, at €174,000.
The engine is an engineering marvel as it offers an abundance of power throughout nearly the entire rpm range and all the way up to speeds that surpass 186 mph. The adjacent video shows a recently facelifted long-wheelbase M760i being put through its paces in an acceleration test on an unrestricted section of the Autobahn where the V12 is legally allowed to do its thing.
0 to 62 mph in 3.91 seconds and 0-124 mph in 13.54 seconds is amazing taking into consideration the size and weight of the luxobarge. The fact that it still pulls like a train even in the final gear is one of the reasons we will miss the V12 once BMW will have no other way but to retire the powerhouse.
It goes without saying fuel economy is not a concern for someone interested in buying this car, but it’s still interesting to see how the range displayed by the digital instrument cluster drops by 1 kilometre once every a few seconds. The V12 is certainly thirsty, although when a fullsize luxury saloon can do the quarter mile in a mere 11.90 seconds, fuel consumption is not that much of an issue anymore.