The car above is a BMW 850i. It has a V12 engine. How did BMW make this vast powerplant? They combined two inline sixes, and this made for one particular peculiarity.
BMW's V12 had not one but two ECUs. There was one for each bank of the V12 engine, the two of those feeding into a single throttle control computer. You can read more about how that works at this helpful link right here.
Jalopnik alumnus Murilee Martin summed up the attraction of the M70 V12 on this site years ago.
Now, some cowardly types are afraid of the engine in these cars; they whine about how one of the two computers that each control half the engine often craps out, making the engine a very heavy six-banger. Then, of course, there's the 47 million engine sensors, which themselves are so ungodly complex that even the Blue Gene would break out in drops of fear-sweat trying to interpret their outputs. But: V12!
V12 indeed! Who wouldn't want such a paragon of automotive smoothness and power? Look at this thing. BMW even drifted a V12 8er during its press photo session. The whole attraction of the car was massive overpower.
And overdesign came with that. The Bavarians at BMW are much smarter now, which is why they sell an engine with three turbos on it. Wait, nevermind.
In any case, it makes me wonder if the old 850 is really that complicated by today's standards? Does your car have more computers, or are car companies better at organizing electronic brains than they were a couple decades ago?
Or maybe you're like me and you drive something terrifically old and crappy. Let me know below.
Photo Credits: BMW