BMW’s Secret 7 Series: E32 6.7L V16

BMW’s Secret 7 project was quite staggering, as we came to learn, just like the M5 Convertible and the E39 M5 Touring we already presented you. The idea was the brainchild of engineers Lange, Fischer and Weisbarth, three influential people at BMW during the mid-70’s and up through the early 90’s. Lange was the one that came up with the M70 V12 engine used in the 8 Series and the 7 Series. So Lange asked Fischer to further explore the possibilities.

This is how the Secret Seven project was born, and BMW’s first V16 engine came to life. It only took Fischer six months to come up with a production ready 6.7 liter V16 engine in 1987. The numbers were impressive: 408 bhp at 5,200 rpm and 624 Nm of torque at 3,900 rpm. This meant that the new engine had 100 bhp more than the 5 liter V12.

The 6.7 liter V16 was fitted on a golden 7 Series, therefore the project was also know as the “Goldfish”. The addition of 4 additional cylinders would rise problems related to space in the engine bay. The V16 engine was 12 inches longer then the V12 so the team of engineers did the simplest thing they possibly could and that was to move the cooling system in the E32 into the rear of the car.

Of course this method would never work on a production ready vehicle from BMW. The cooling equipment was in the trunk, so they had to hand made custom fiberglass grills and air scoops that sat on the rear quarter panels of the car to channel cool air into the trunk. Air was expelled through a custom made valance panel that sat in between the taillights of the car, which lead to the use of smaller tail lights eliminating the rear high intensity fog and reverse lights.

It seemed like the V16 engine was ready for production, but getting approval from the board was far fetched, so BMW “Super 7” never saw the inside of a dealership. It would have been a nice add-on to the German line up. The way everything gets smaller and greener nowadays, there is practically no chance of seeing another V16 engine on a BMW, unless they can manage to run it on water.
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