In July 1994, the meteoric career of the first 12-cylinder BMW 7 Series model drew to a close, as the first 750i bowed out to make way for a new generation. Around 50,000 of these cars had been sold. In other words, almost one in six 7 Series models were fitted with the V12 engine.
Clearly, the aim of placing such a special flagship at the head of the model range had been a complete success. It was a foregone conclusion therefore that the third BMW 7 Series would be headed by a 12-cylinder model too. The first customers took delivery of this new BMW 750i in autumn 1994.
The BMW’s head of development, speaking at the press launch, commented: “We’ve done our level best to raise the bar yet again.” The new sedan boasted exceptional qualities: generous comfort, low vibration and noise, excellent suspension and an ergonomic, luxurious interior. Developed on the basis of the M70, the M73 had a displacement of 5.4 litres and produced maximum output of 326 hp. The increase in maximum power had not, however, been the primary development goal.
The accent had been on achieving an approximately 13 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency, on reduced emissions and on improving the refinement of the new 12-cylinder model. These goals were attained by reducing friction losses, for example by using roller rocker arms, and by increasing the compression ratio from 8.8:1 to 10.0:1, for efficient operation on premium unleaded fuel.
The power was managed by a five-speed automatic transmission with adaptive control. The further improved DSC system provided stability control and optionally, for the first time, an on-board computer with navigation capability was available.