25 years of BMW 12-cylinder engines: setting new standards in the
Munich - October 26, 2012... BMW's second-generation 7 Series,
unveiled in 1986, featured two new top-of-the-range sedans whose
formidable six-cylinder in-line engines generated universal enthusiasm
in the motoring media. Nevertheless, it was an open secret that an
even bigger star was waiting in the wings: the first German
12-cylinder luxury model in half a century.
Expectations were running high, fuelled by BMW's release of various
advance details of the new model's technical specifications. In
September 1986, one news magazine informed its readers: "BMW will
be opting for an aero engine-style design. That means most engine
systems on the 12-cylinder 7 Series model, which is due for market
release in June 1987, will be duplicated. There will even be two
lambda sensors. And even if half the engine capacity failed, for some
reason, speeds of over 200 km/h would be possible even on just six
cylinders." Last but not least, BMW's development chief at the
time was quoted as saying: "if the engineers wanted to go for
nothing but the best of everything, we didn't try to stop them."
The rumour mill was rife with speculation about the future
top-of-the-line engine's capabilities. One story doing the rounds
claimed that: "BMW is doing everything it can to promote a sense
of exclusiveness and cachet. They even want the licensing authorities
to allow them to state the performance not in figures but in words –
to the effect that the engine is appropriate in power and performance
for the requirements of the vehicle."
In February 1987, BMW finally put an end to the speculation and
released the technical specifications of the 12-cylinder engine in the
new BMW 750i, ahead of its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show the
following month. The new engine, which had been designed completely
from scratch, would develop 300 horsepower from a displacement of five
litres. Its refinement, low noise levels and excellent balance between
performance and fuel consumption set new benchmarks in engine design.
These objectives were achieved by using state-of-the-art technologies
and a raft of innovative ideas right across the board. In short, the
BMW 750i's 12-cylinder engine had been built with the aim of setting a
new and groundbreaking benchmark that would occupy the highest
echelons of automotive engineering.
View the attachments for this post at: