Thanks to demand from buyers in the Middle East and China, the 12-cylinder engine will remain in BMW's line-up for the life of the current 7 Series.

BMW will keep on making 12-cylinder engines for the life of the current 7 Series range as it proven to be popular with the super-rich in the Gulf's oil states and the world's most populous country.

"We will keep [the V12] for the rest of this generation at least, until 2023," Michael Bayer, head of powertrain development for the 7 Series range, told Top Gear.

He noted it would be possible, but incredibly difficult, to make the current 6.6-litre twin-turbo V12 compliant with future emissions regulations.

When it unveiled the 7 Series facelift earlier this year, the company quietly retuned the M760Li's V12 engine from 449kW/800Nm to 440kW/850Nm.

Christian Metzger, product chief for the 7 Series, said the company has been at "maximum capacity building these engines" since it unveiled the M760Li variant in 2016.

He explained customers from the Middle East and China have been especially eager for the 12-cylinder model.

Seen as a status symbol, the V12 7 Series has proven popular in China despite attracting huge tax penalties, which make it as expensive as a supercar.