This BMW 7-Series Has A V16 Engine

I give you, the BMW 767iL. The only BMW with a V16 engine.

In 1987, BMW's first V12 engine saw the light of day. In parallel with it, a V16 machine was also developed, but it never progressed from the concept stage. Here is the story of the sixteen-cylinder monster from Munich.

Large engines with many cylinders are becoming increasingly rare. More and more eight-cylinder engines are being replaced by supercharged sixes or electrified fours, and the twelve-cylinder engines will probably be out of the game soon, although BMW is sticking to theirs as far as possible.

BMW's first V12 engine, the one with the designation M70 and which was basically two straight M20 sixes with a 60 degree angle between the cylinder banks, was launched in 1987 in the 750i. It was 4,988 cubic centimeters (rounded to 5.0 liters, hence the number 50 in the model designation 750i) and thus exactly twice the cylinder volume as the brand's straight six which was 2,494 cubic centimeters (2.5 liters).

During the same year, ie 1987, BMW wanted to show the excellence of its machines and how scalable they were. That is, you can add and subtract cylinders in basically any way, much in the same way how many car manufacturers today work. A three-cylinder engine of 1.25 liters was developed according to this principle, but above all, a giant V16 engine of 6,651 cubic centimeters (6.7 liters) was developed. Two cylinders were simply added to each cylinder bank on the M70 twelve. The engine went under the internal name "Goldfisch", had 408 horsepower and weighed 310 kilos. The V12 had "only" 300 horsepower.

The V16 machine was placed in, as it looks in the pictures, a 750iL (the extended V12 version of the 7-series generation E32). But there is information that the base car was a 735iL, the 750iL's 3.4 liter straight six baby brother, called the M30.

The engine with sixteen cylinders was so huge that it filled up the entire engine compartment. BMW engineers therefore had to place the cooling system in the boot. The grill in the front thus lost its function, instead the rear fenders were opened up and large air scoops were fitted so that cooling air would have a chance to enter. Between the taillights, the cooling system with double fans is clearly visible.

The car was internally called "767iL Goldfisch" and "Secret Seven". It was just a secret, the car was only presented within the company and was never shown in public until recent years. Last year it was exhibited at the Oslo Motor Show.

A 750iL… but what's so cozy about the rear fender?

A 750iL… but what's so cozy about the rear fender?

V16 engines have never been the norm, but there have been some through the ages. In the 1930s, it was primarily Cadillac that invested in this number of cylinders in V-formation. Their engine was 7.4 liters. Fifteen years ago, Rolls-Royce introduced a 9.0-liter V16 engine in the 100EX concept car.

In recent years, in the V16 context, there's been rumors circulating about a strange super sports car called the Devel Sixteen, that, in the most literal sense of the word, is said to do 560 km / h. Which - *cough* *cough* - is bullcrap.

The Bugatti is also known for sixteen cylinders, but the French brand has a different configuration - W16.

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Comments (16)

  • In the oneupmanship race between BMW and Mercedes, this monstrosity is the result. It’s all well and good cramming the largest engine into the engine bay but the boot based cooling system is crap including the air intakes.

    Glad both BMW and Mercedes got curtailed by the wider economic situation at the time.

    Weirdly the Mercedes was the cooler monstrosity.

      1 month ago
  • Isn't the V16 overkill?

      1 month ago
  • Mercedes’ solution was better, add an extra bank of cylinders to the same crank, BMW however added them to the end lengthening the engine. VW also saw the benefits hence W12 and W16 engines. As usual Mercedes dreamt it up first continuing the S-class tradition.

      1 month ago
  • Ah, the 90's , no emmissions laws and no safety laws. Truly a time for exploration. This one was quite mad because, this was the long-wheelbase version, and the giant V16 wouldn't fit. That time Mercedes made a giant 7 litre V12. And Audi stayed all neutral. Also it was a time for one of the most legendary saloon, like the Carlton.

      1 month ago
  • I would love to see a production V16 luxury sedan/coupe so they can depreciate even faster and cheaper LOL, but just be aware of more engine and electrical problems.

      1 month ago