Joint municipality: 25 years of bmw twelve-cylinder

Joint municipality: 25 years of bmw twelve-cylinder

Munich, 12. November 2012 – history is best remembered. This also applies to cars: i still remember when bmw presented the new 7 series in 1986. What a design! The classy limousine looked much lighter than the mercedes s-class, which is in the "daily news" held with helmut kohl at the bonn chancellery. But at this point in time, the bmw developers were still keeping their biggest trump card a secret. A huge engine with the short m70.

Hello stuttgart

And so the rumors got wild: allegedly, the engineers at the admissions authorities had tried not to have to disclose the performance of the mega-unit in figures. Bmw preferred to do that itself in february 1987. 300 hp from a five-liter displacement. Sure, that’s how strong the mercedes 560 se was, but only without a catalytic converter and with eight cylinders. Because the bmw 750i was the first series production twelve-cylinder from a german manufacturer after the war. Visually, the car was restrained with a coarsened kidney grille and modified tailpipes. No v12 emblem sported the dozen of cylinders above the front axle. The two-digit number just seemed to be for itself, especially in view of the environment at the time. Sure, jaguar had a zwolfender, but then it got a lot more exotic with ferrari or lamborghini. Complete. There was nothing more. Yawning emptiness. Not under the hood of the bmw 750i, of course: the compact unit of engine, transmission and front axle attracted visitors to the 1987 geneva motor show in droves. The sellers recorded over 3000 pre-orders.

Long forward

25 years later, karlheinz lange, former head of bmw engine development, chats out of the box. The subject of twelve cylinders has been dealt with since 1972. But the two six-cylinder units that were joined together under the project name m33 had a drawback: at 315 kilograms, the result was too heavy, because the starting point was made of gray cast iron. After all, the other key data were already correct: five-liter displacement, injection and 300 hp. Starting in 1977, attempt number two made use of the newer, smaller six-cylinders with the code m20. Under the name m66, a v12 was created with a cylinder angle of 60 degrees and displacement levels of 3.6 and 4.5 liters. The latter made 275 hp on the test stand and also weighed only 275 kilograms. But now the headwind came from world politics: the second oil crisis caused fuel prices to rise from 1979, and the bmw developers were slowed down by marketing. They didn’t want to bring the wrong model again at the wrong time like the thirsty 2002 turbo in 1973.

New development made of aluminum

From 1982 the situation relaxed again, and in december bmw decided on a completely new development, this time with an aluminum housing. Almost a year later, the first m70 engine was on the test bench. More factual than emotional: this requirement not only affected the designers of the new 7 series, but also the engine people. Although they took a look at the jaguar v12, it wasn’t really in-depth, says lange. Its engineers were allowed to install everything that was good and expensive in the top model 750i. Catalytic converters, injection and ignition, it should only be the best. This impressed the press: most of the systems were available in duplicate, even with six cylinders over 200 km / h were still possible.

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