Today is the twelfth day of the twelfth month of the year 2012 – so perhaps it’s no surprise we’re thinking of the number twelve. Despite ever-tightening emission standards and fuel economy mandates, twelve-cylinder engines remain available in a number of automobiles, including here in North America. Here’s a quick rundown of the 12-cylinder cars you can buy new today, on 12/12/12. Aston Martin Vanquish
5.9-liter V-12; 565 hp, 457 lb-ft
History is truly circular: the Vanquish begat the DBS, and now the DBS gives way to the new Vanquish. This new supercar not only boasts Aston’s new design DNA, but also a stout 565 hp from its revamped 5.9-liter V-12. Couple that power with a car that weighs 123 pounds less than the outgoing DBS Carbon Edition, and you have a Vanquish that can rocket to 62 mph in 4.1 seconds.
Aston Martin DB9/Volante
5.9-liter V-12; 510 hp, 457 lb-ft
Once upon a time, the DB9 was one of the oldest Aston variants in the automaker’s lineup. Now, it’s one of the freshest, having received a very Vanquish-like makeover for the new model year. Power still comes from a 5.9-liter V-12, although some engineering finesse brings power up from 470 hp to 510. Interestingly, that’s not that far off from the Vanquish, despite the fact the DB9 is far less expensive. Aston Martin Rapide
5.9-liter V-12; 470 hp, 443 lb-ft
Okay, so the shapely roofline and tall transmission tunnel don’t leave much in the way of headroom, legroom, and shoulder room – but who cares? Even if you’re forced to ride in either rear bucket seat, you still have the fortune of riding in an Aston Martin, an exquisitely-trimmed sports car bessed with one of the best-sounding V-12s on the planet. Drivers, if your passengers begin to whine about limbs and extremities going numb, drown out their kvetching by stabbing that throttle pedal and letting the 5.9-liter growl away.
Aston Martin V12 Vantage
5.9-liter V-12; 510 hp, 420 lb-ft
If the notion of stuffing the larger 5.9-liter V-12 from Aston’s Vanquish/Rapide/DB9 families into the smaller, lighter Vantage model sounds like your cup of tea (or lunacy), then you’re glad this car exists. Aston’s also seen fit to launch a limited-production V12 Vantage Roadster for the coming year, but sadly, it won’t be sold to North American customers.
Audi A8L W12
6.3-liter W-12; 500 hp, 463 lb-ft
Most A8 buyers will likely either opt for the supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 or the twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8, but for (very) well-heeled customers seeking the ultimate power trip, Audi again offers its flagship A8L sedan with a twelve-cylinder, three-bank engine. The W-12 provides 500 hp, and brings the A8’s MSRP to a heady $135,375.
Bentley Continental GT, GTC, Flying Spur
6.0-liter twin-turbo W-12; 567/616/631 hp, 516/590 lb-ft
Eight-cylinder engines may be trickling into the Continental range, but they’ve yet to replace the Continental’s twin-turbocharged, 6.0-liter W12 outright. In the four-door Flying Spur and Flying Spur Speed, the engine produces 552 and 600 hp, respectively. In two-door GT and convertible GTC guise, the same engine is tuned for 567 hp. Opt for the GT Speed coupe, and that power jumps to 616 hp. Need more? The wild Continental Supersports has about 621 hp on tap.
6.0-liter turbocharged V-12; 536 hp, 553 lb-ft
Technically, the Alpina-tuned B7 is the most powerful 7-Series one can buy from a BMW dealer, but its engine – a 4.4-liter, twin-turbo V-8 – isn’t king of the 7-er lineup in terms of displacement or cylinder count. That crown is still held by the top-tier 760Li, which also slightly out-muscles the Alpina in terms of torque (553 lb-ft to 538).
6.3-liter V-12; 731 hp, 509 lb-ft
MSRP: $330,000 (est)
Given how gorgeous (and how good) the 458 Italia is, it’s easy to forget there are other Ferraris in the automaker’s lineup – including some that still abide by Ferrari’s classic front-engine, 12-cylinder gran turismo format. The new F12Berlinetta is just that, a shapely GT that replaces the aging 599 GTB. The 6.3-liter V-12 – which will likely be used in the marque’s next super car – yields an amazing 731 hp, and revs to a screaming 8700 rpm. Top speed is 211 mph, although the F12 bolts from 0-62 mph in but 3.1 seconds.
6.3-liter V-12; 651 hp, 504 lb-ft
MSRP: $303,500 (est)
Say you like the premise of the F12Berlinetta, but need a vehicle that also offers room for four (and their belongings) while maintaining traction on snowed-over roads. You’re in luck: the FF is just the ticket. Although you sacrifice 80 hp in the name of cabin space and all-wheel-drive, the FF is still good for 133 mph.
6.5-liter V-12; 691 hp, 509 lb-ft
MSRP: $393,695 (est)
Yes, Lamborghini warns, there may come a day when a Lamborghini supercar may not be powered by a large-displacement twelve-cylinder – but for now, why worry? The Aventador is here, and boasts a honkin’ 6.5-liter twelve-pot that’s good for a wicked 691 hp. Launch it right, and the Aventador runs from 0-60 mph in three seconds and hits a top end of 217 mph.
6.0-liter twin-turbocharged V12; 510 hp, 612 lb-ft
Mercedes-Benz CL/SL/S65 AMG
6.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-12; 621 hp, 738 lb-ft
Twelve-cylinder power is still alive and well at Mercedes-Benz, although there’s presently one fewer way to pack a V-12 into a brand-new Benz than there was last year. The large, top-tier CL coupe and S-Class sedans are still offered in “600” guise, which means a 6.0-liter, 510-hp, twin-turbo V-12 is squeezed into their engine compartments. Those who (somehow) need even more power can always go for the AMG-built 6.0-liter V-12, which offers 621-hp in the CL65 AMG and S65 AMG. For the time being, this same engine is the only V-12 available in the new SL-Class. Base price for a new SL65 AMG? Only $213,145, of course.
6.6-liter twin-turbo V-12; 563 hp, 575 lb-ft
It might be the “baby” of the Rolls-Royce lineup, but the Ghost isn’t that much smaller than the Phantom – at least when it comes to cylinder count and engine displacement. The 6.6-liter V-12 – an evolution of the 12-cylinder used in the aforementioned BMW 760Li – produces 563 hp and 575 lb-ft. Interestingly, both figures manage to eclipse that of the Phantom by a sizable measure.
6.7-liter twin-turbocharged V-12; 453 hp, 531 lb-ft
The Phantom itself is larger than life, so perhaps it’s fitting that its engine, a normally-aspirated, 6.7-liter V-12, is one of the largest V-12 engines available in North America -- this side of an ocean-going yacht, of course. Despite the Phantom’s heft and the engine’s somewhat meager output, the 6.7 is still capable of moving the Roller from 0-50 mph in 5.7 seconds (5.8 if you must have the long-wheelbase sedan).