Over time, BMW had four V12 engines in production series cars: the M70, M73, N73 and N74. But it’s the latter which will hold a special place in everyone’s hearts. The N74 was the first turbocharged V12 engine made in Munich. Furthermore, it also powered an entire range of Rolls-Royce models. As of 2022, the N74 is officially no more in a BMW-badged car. The last model to use a V12 engine was the 2022 BMW M760i Final V12 Edition.
But what really made the N74 V12 special?
- Power: The N74 V12 is capable of producing up to 602 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque, making it one of the most powerful engines ever produced by BMW.
- Technology: The N74 V12 features advanced technologies like direct fuel injection, variable valve timing, and turbocharging, which contribute to its high performance and efficiency.
- Smoothness: The V12 configuration of the N74 engine makes it incredibly smooth, with very little vibration or noise, providing a refined and luxurious driving experience. Hence why it was used in Rolls-Royce models as well.
- Lightweight: Despite its size and power, the N74 V12 is surprisingly lightweight thanks to its aluminum construction, which helps improve overall vehicle handling and performance.
- Exclusivity: The N74 V12 is a very rare engine, only used in limited production models like the BMW 760Li and the Rolls-Royce Ghost. Its exclusivity adds to its allure and makes it highly sought after by performance enthusiasts and collectors alike.
- Fun Facts: The N74 marked BMW’s first use of an 8-speed automatic transmission
BMW produced four different versions of the N74 V12: the N74B60, N74B66, N74B66TU and N74B68. It was the latter that came with the biggest displacement ever: 6.75 liter used in the Phantom, Cullinan and Ghost. The power output in this iteration was 563 horsepower and 605 lb-ft of torque. On the other hand, the 6.6 liter N74B66TU made 602 horsepower and could handle a top speed of 190 mph.
The N74B60 was used in the BMW 760i/760Li (F01/F02/F03) from 2008 to 2015.
The N74B66 found its place under the hood of several Rolls-Royce models:
- 2010–2020 Rolls-Royce Ghost
- 2014–2020 Rolls-Royce Ghost V-Specification
- Eadon Green Panthean Coupe (a retro-styled British Luxury Coupe]
- 2014–2022 Rolls-Royce Wraith
- 2015–2022 Rolls-Royce Dawn
This technical upgrade (TU) of the N74B66 powered the BMW M760Li xDrive (G12) from 2016 to 2022.
The N74B68 engine is currently used in the following models:
- Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII (2017-)
- Rolls-Royce Cullinan (2018-)
- Rolls-Royce Ghost (2021-)
Why Did BMW Phase Out The V12?
As eight-cylinder engines approached the performance of twelve-cylinder engines, it has become increasingly difficult to justify the latter. The recent introduction of V8 plug-in hybrids has made the case for V12 BMW engines almost untenable. Additionally, the limited demand for the V12 BMW M760Li also played a role in the decision to phase out the engine. Despite its impressive performance, the V12 had to be retired.
Luckily, pre-owned BMW M760i or M760Li with the V12 engine are fairly affordable now (some as low as $53,000), so if you’re looking to own a piece of the V12 history, this might be a good opportunity to chase some low mileage models.