Bmw’s Secret 7 project

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 26, 2010

We get a glimpse of the geniuses behind the BMW's Secret 7 project. The concept was arrived at by engineers Lange, Fischer and Weisbarth, considered to be three of the most prominent personalities at BMW during the mid-70's and up through the early 90's. Lange came up with the M70 V12 engine used in the 8-Series and the 7-Series.

Lange then approached Fischer to further explore the possibilities and this is how the Secret Seven project began. This is the story of how BMW's first V16 engine came to be. After six months of work, Fischer had created the production ready 6.7 liter V16 engine in 1987.

The engine produced 408 bhp at 5,200 rpm and 624 Nm of torque at 3,900 rpm.This was an impressive feat since it meant the new engine had 100 bhp more than the 5 liter V12. The 6.7 liter V16 was fitted on a golden 7 Series; this led to the project being known as the "Goldfish."

Adding 4 cylinders gave rise to space issues in the engine bay. The V16 engine was 12 inches longer then the V12 so the engineers tried to move the cooling system in the E32 into the rear of the car. However, this method would never work on a production ready vehicle from BMW.

Since the cooling equipment was in the trunk, 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. 

By all appearances, the V16 engine was ready for production, but because it didn't get the approval of the board, BMW "Super 7" never made it to the dealership. With the way that everything gets smaller and greener nowadays, it makes it more unlikely that we'd get to see another V16 engine on a BMW.

Topics: bmw, bmw 7-series, sedan

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