By on April 4, 2019

With environmentalism gradually neutering the internal combustion engine, small motors are increasingly cropping up in cars they seemingly have no business in. While that’s partly the fault of there being so many gigantic automobiles on the market, at least historically speaking, none of it would be possible without increasingly stringent fuel economy mandates.

As emission rules are unlikely to soften globally (we’ll see what the United States does), larger engines are assumed to go the way of the dodo bird — or some other overly specialized creature.

That’s led automakers to reassure, or perhaps warn, us that we can still expect a few more years of excessive displacement. But many have already drawn their last breath. The already uncommon V12 has been relegated to a bundle of supercars, top-tier luxury behemoths, and a handful of German automakers that are in the process of eliminating it. Mercedes-AMG plans to axe its V12 soon, leaving BMW as the country’s only high-volume holdout.

According to Top Gear, BMW intends to keep the 12-cylinder around for a few more years. “We will keep [the V12] for the rest of this generation at least, until 2023,” BMW powertrain Development head Michael Bayer explained, while discussing the 7 Series.

He also suggested it might be possible, with a little luck, to make the 6.0-liter V12 comply with the next round of efficiency regulations, extending the engine’s life a bit further. That could work in its favor, even if its output is eclipsed by something smaller and more powerful, as BMW would be the only place to shop for it. (We can’t say how many luxury shoppers select vehicles solely on their cylinder count.)

[Image: BMW]

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