Buckle up as BMW gives its 7 series the rocket ship treatment
Take a look around the new BMW M760Li.
The M760Li takes the title of the fastest-accelerating BMW ever made, but what does that mean out on the road? James Baggott explains.
Those of you hoping this was BMW's M7 need to look away now. Although this may be the fastest BMW the German firm has ever made, if you're after a fire-breathing, full-blooded M car, the M760Li will leave you a little disappointed.
You see, it may have that fabled tri-colour badge on its boot, but this isn't cut from the same cloth as an M2, M3 or M4.
BMW says that's because this is a car for buyers with a somewhat split personality. One moment they may be keen on a country road assault so they can enjoy the glorious V12, the next they might want to kick back and relax in the massaging seats and just cruise along.
Looks and image
The 7 Series has long been a luxury choice for the type of buyer who still enjoys driving, though - and the M760Li is the epitome of that.
With several driving modes to choose from, sporty drivers are well catered for as throttle response is quickened, gear changes are swifter and the whole car feels more taut and agile in bends when its sport setting is active. Flick back to the comfort setting and it's a different story - mellower, more relaxed, it eases over bumps and floats along beautifully. It's an impressive dichotomy.
The looks of the M760Li won't be for everyone, though. There are some less-appealing chrome touches and in the matt grey it looks, dare we say it, a little common. Inside, though, it's a wonderful place to spend time.
Buyers in the UK will predominantly drive themselves, but for those that do get chauffeured around, the back seats are arguably more comfortable than up front. There's multimedia screens to enjoy, cushioned headrests and massaging, reclining backs.
Space and practicality
The 7 Series does feel a little smaller in the rear than rivals from Mercedes and Audi, though. Up front the driving position is a little cosseting too, with controls wrapped around you, but it's easy to get settled and comfortable.
Behind the wheel
The BMW is a true Jekyll and Hyde car with distinct personalities behind the wheel. We tried the M760Li on the track first. Although the long sweeping bends and snooker-table-smooth surfaces weren't going to show off the car in anything other than the best light, it was incredibly swift for such a lump.
That V12 makes a pleasing sound, and while there may be some body roll, it's not too intrusive and, for a car of this size, is actually rather impressive in the way it's kept under control.
It's all helped by four-wheel drive that has a rear-wheel-drive bias when it's needed. The steering is a little light in the comfort setting, though, especially for track work, but flick it into sport and it's far better.
Value for money
At £132,310, you'd expect to get some goodies thrown in, and fortunately you do. Lightweight 20-inch alloys, a Bowers & Wilkins sound system and Car Play are included, as is an Advanced Parking system, adaptive LED headlights, a head-up display, and massaging seats.
There's even rear-seat entertainment and a panoramic glass sunroof thrown in too. How very generous. Naturally, there's an extensive options list. Executive lounge seating to make rear passengers even more comfortable, night vision and BMW laser headlights are just a few of those you can tick.
Who would buy one?
With a mighty price tag, and plenty of very capable engine options to choose from in the 7 Series already, the M760Li isn't going to be the biggest seller in the range. BMW estimates that just 100 a year will find homes in the UK.
What do those buyers look like? Well, as you'd expect, they're successful business people who like to drive themselves, usually over the age of 45. In Asia, the buyer is far younger at 35-plus, and almost all of them will be driven around instead.