What are the best BMW V12s of all time? 

Updated Mar 08, 2022 | Same topic: Automotive Industry Updates

With BMW V12s coming to an end, let’s look back at the best ones ever. 

Car engineers have found the replacement for displacement, and the latest casualties in this pursuit of downsizing are BMW’s V12 engines, which are saying goodbye this year. The following is a trip down memory lane to the German carmaker’s standout members of the V12 club.

BMW V12 engine

BMW's V12 engines are among the toast and envy of the industry

BMW began its V12 journey in the late 1980s, and fans are understandably disappointed at having its 30-odd-year run cut short by increasing worldwide concerns over emissions. The marque’s V12 engine designs rank among the most specialized and coveted across the industry, so we’ll take a brief look back at some of those that have made their mark.  

BMW M70

The M70 was BMW’s first production V12, as well as the first such engine produced in Germany after World War 2. It was the culmination of BMW’s initial efforts at developing a V12 engine during the 70s, successfully balancing lightweight performance and refinement through an engine block and cylinder head made of aluminum.  

1987 BMW 750iL

The E32 750i became the first BMW powered by a V12 engine in 1987 

It premiered on the E32 750i in 1987, one of the first Teutonic sedans to be limited to 250 kilometers per hour, by way of a gentleman’s agreement between Germany’s carmakers at the time. Initial displacement was at 5.0 liters across a single overhead camshaft and 24-valve layout, offering 300 horsepower and 450 Nm of torque. 

The engine was also used in the E31 850i coupe between 1989 and 1994. 

BMW S70/2

Although this V12 engine was crafted by BMW, it did not appear in any of the Munich-based automaker’s models. The S70/2’s claim to fame is being the power unit of choice for the McLaren F1. Take note, BMW wasn’t even McLaren’s first choice to supply the sports car’s engine, only stepping up to the plate after proposals from Honda and Isuzu were rejected. 

McLaren F1

McLaren settled for BMW after rejecting engine proposals from Japanese automakers 

Claims that the 6.1-liter S70/2 was loosely based on the M70 are debatable, but what is clear is that the former harnessed 627 horsepower and up to 678 Nm of torque. This enabled a zero to 100-kilometer per hour acceleration time of just 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 386 kilometers per hour, all without the benefit of turbocharging. The S70/2 was so powerful, it had to be detuned so that the F1 can compete in (and eventually win) the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1995.      

BMW S70/2

The engine's power had to actually be dialed down for competition in Le Mans 

A smaller 5.6-liter version of the engine powered the 1992-1996 E31 850CSi coupe, rated at 375 horsepower and 550 Nm of twist. It had a limited run of just 1,510 units. 

BMW N73

The N73 entered production in 2003 as the world’s first mass-produced V12 employing direct fuel injection. This was accompanied by BMW’s Double VANOS variable camshaft timing and Valvetronic intake control technologies. 

BMW 760Li N73

The N73 was the world's first mass-produced V12 engine to have direct fuel injection

There were two versions of the N73 produced until 2016. The first had a 6.0-liter displacement, rated at 439 horsepower and 600 Nm of torque. This was used on the E65 760i and E66 760Li sedans. The second, bigger 6.8-liter engine generated 453 horsepower and 720 Nm of torque, finding its way under the hood of the Rolls-Royce Phantom.   

BMW N74

Succeeding the N73 is the N74 V12 power unit which brings twin-turbo technology, a first for BMW. With the exception of Valvetronic variable valve lift, it carries over the rest of the N73’s features such as direct injection and variable valve timing. It also marked the first time that BMW used an 8-speed automatic transmission.      

BMW 760Li N74

The N74 retained most of the N73's features while adding twin outboard turbochargers

The first and most common iteration, the N74B60, had 6.0 liters and was good for 536 horsepower and 750 Nm of torque. This was used on the fifth-generation 760i and 760Li sedans. Rolls-Royce also benefitted from a 6.6-liter version that made up to 624 horsepower and 840 Nm of torque.   

Rolls-Royce Cullinan

The most powerful version of the N74 powers Rolls-Royce models such as the Cullinan

A 2016 update for the M750Li xDrive M Performance flagship resulted in 602 horsepower and 800 Nm of twist, reaching 100 kilometers per hour from a standing start in just 3.6 seconds. The most powerful N74 yet, a 6.8-liter engine with 563 horsepower and a staggering 900 Nm of torque, is used by the Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII, Cullinan, and Ghost models.     

Find out more about the most incredible engines in history at Philkotse.com

Know more about BMW

BMW

As of 2021, BMW Philippines offers a total of 12 models, of which the most affordable is the 1-Series entry-level premium hatchback. Its sole variant in the market is priced at Php 2,690,000.  

Other BMW car models available locally includes the 2 Series subcompact executive sedan, 3 Series compact executive sedan, the 5 Series and 6 Series midsize executive sedan, the 7 Series fullsize luxury sedan, the X1 subcompact luxury crossover, X3 and X4 compact luxury crossover, X5 midsize luxury crossover, the X7 fullsize luxury crossover, and the Z4 coupe sports car. 

Apart from the BMW price list for 2022 that we update on the regular, Philkotse.com also lists the latest and hottest car promos ranging from low monthly amortizations, low downpayments, and cash discounts. 

Joseph Paolo Estabillo

Joseph Paolo Estabillo

Author

Joseph holds a degree in Journalism from the University of the Philippines Diliman and has been writing professionally since 1999. He has written episodes for CNN Philippines' motoring show Drive, and has worked on corporate projects for MG Philippines and Pilipinas Shell. Aside from being Philkotse.com’s Content Lead, he also writes content for numerous car dealerships in the U.S., spanning multiple brands such as Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Maserati, among others.

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