2018 BMW M760Li xDrive
Just don’t call it an M7.
Words by: Adam Allen
So…not an M7. Got it.
BMW has chosen to place this model under the relatively new M Performance umbrella- for those who need a refresher, that means this 7-series is a cut above the rest of its stablemates but it is not a full-on M car. As we all know, M cars are raw, visceral conveyances who have one tire planted on the street with the other firmly on a racetrack. Until the day comes when BMW decides to seriously caffeinate the 7-series with a high-strung engine and a starched suspension, this is the closest thing we will get to an M7, and we’re OK with that. It’d be hard to complain with a Rolls Royce derived twice turbocharged V12 under the hood producing 601 velvety horsepower.
Didn’t you have a chuckle inducing encounter on the street about the long-winded name?
We sure did. While collecting the M760Li from a nearby parking garage, we were excitedly approached by a rabid BMW enthusiast with eyes were as big as dinner plates as he took in the entire princely 3,211 mm wheelbase. Always keen to chat about cool cars with complete strangers, we told him what it was and explained why its name is what it is. He furrowed his brow for a moment as he looked at the badge on the rear decklid and said, “I just thought you were one of those guys who slap an M badge on anything to trick people into thinking you’re drive an M car.” We both had a good laugh at those who try and pass their 320i off as an M3. If it were our decision, we would have left the M Performance badge off the 7 series and just called it the 760Li, but it just doesn’t seem right complaining about a car this opulent and this fast.
Just a guess, but you were quite taken with the V12, weren’t you?
It isn’t often cars with a dozen cylinders graces the Carpages Garage with their presence, but when they do, it is a properly special occasion. We drive all sorts of cars with steroidal power outputs, yet there’s something about a V12 that puts them all to shame. BMW cribbed this mega motor from the blokes at Rolls Royce but decided that 563 horsepower wasn’t enough and turned the thermostat up to 601 horsepower, just enough to eclipse the impressive-in-its-own-right Alpina B7 by one thoroughbred. Although there are two turbos helping to force more air into the twelve combustion chambers you’d never know unless you looked at the spec sheet- there is simply zero evidence of forced induction, both from an auditory and power deliver perspective. When you push the accelerator into the plush carpet up front you’ll see 100 km/h flash by on the speedometer faster than you would in an M3. We lacked the courage and ambivalence for speed limits to see what happens if you leave your foot planted for an extended period of time, but we can tell you that there are few cars out there these days that gather sheer, unrelenting speed with as little effort as the M760Li does, and certainly none of them as decadently luxurious. xDrive helps transmit the tsunami of power to the ground with little drama which is a good thing, because most folks would struggle to get 590 lbs./feet of torque to the tarmac without vaporizing the rear tires and putting themselves into some scary situations. We all know that V12 engines are a feast for the ears, and this N74B66 is no exception. Don’t expect an Italian-like shriek from the engine bay- instead, the V12 in the M760Li sounds like a deeper voiced version of what you might expect of two of the company’s wonderful inline-sixes if they shared a common crankshaft. No matter the situation- either wafting around town, never cresting 3,000 rpm or sending the tach to the redline- it is utterly smooth and devoid of any vibration or harshness whatsoever. Even when you fire it up, the starter motor emits a unique, turbine like whir before the V12 settles into an innocuous idle. If you must know, we saw 18.7L/100km over mixed driving during our test. Who cares though, right? Those who were expecting a monster twin turbo V12 to be economical should probably not have indulged in those extra few glasses of Schnapps.
While it sounds like a riot to derive, I prefer my driving done by someone else for me.
Of course you do, Your Excellency. Should you decide to relinquish the reins to your trusted chauffeur, you will not be disappointed. After the soft close doors fasten themselves behind you with a satisfying click, you’ll be bathed in surroundings that can only be described as exquisite. This car is equipped with everything that BMW has in its arsenal to deliver a pampered automotive experience. The seats are deliciously comfortable and offer a myriad of power adjustments. They are also heated, cooled and boast a customizable massage program for those long continent-traversing days in the saddle. Gentle ambient lighting soothes the eyes while you enjoy your favorite tunes expertly replicated by the Bowers and Wilkins sound system with artful metal speaker grilles that glow warmly at night. Rear seat passengers might be tempted to remove their shoes and revel in the deep pile carpets while taking in their favorite movie on the seatback mounted tablet screens. All this is controlled by a separate tablet that resides in the palatial rear seat divider, which also acts a discreet place to stow the beautifully constructed foldaway tables. Make sure you ask Jeeves to select the Comfort Plus drive mode and the M760Li’s pillowy air springs will make sure that absolutely no imperfections on the road beneath you make their way to your keister. This is the four wheeled equivalent of a Michelin starred dinner consisting of Beluga Caviar, Wagyu beef and a ten-pound lobster all washed down by the finest Champagne.
If you do take the wheel, will it be fun?
All BMWs in the M Performance family are supposed to offer a heightened driving experience over their regular counterparts, and the M760Li is no exception. It has that monumental engine sending power to all four wheels, except this version of xDrive has been fettled with so that it sends more power to the rear. This, along with four-wheel steering, imbue the big sedan with a nimbleness you weren’t expecting. The braking hardware is properly massive and slows things down with authority; we never even got close to making them fade. It has two of those intangibles you find in special cars that are on the large side of the size spectrum- it is shocking how well it disguises speed and it seems to shrink around you when you lean on it a bit. Although faster in a straight line than the legendary M3, it would be left far behind on a sinewy bit of tarmac- even in the most aggressive setting, it’s still quite soft and never feels like you can balance it on the razor’s edge like you can with say, an M2. We just felt like driving this thing at 10/10ths is a bit like loudly burping while at a fine restaurant. It may be satisfying, but it feels hugely out of place and you probably just shouldn’t do it.
What might go wrong?
You know what? It’s hard to find stuff to complain about when you’re driving something like this. If we’re being backed into a corner, we might gripe about the lack of discretion offered by the M760Li- there’s a whole bunch of badges that adorn the exterior and it all seems a bit shouty. There are those who will like that the car broadcasts what it is to fellow motorists and passerby’s, but we prefer to be a little lower key. Rather than register this as a complaint, we were bemused to find an ECO PRO drive mode available. There is absolutely nothing Eco about a 6.6 litre V12 producing north of 600 horsepower folks. We tried it just to see what it was like, but we felt neutering the engine like that bordered on the blasphemous, so we reverted back to Sport mode after a minute of so and never visited ECO PRO again. Lastly, there’s more noise coming from those virtually painted on tires, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise because not only are they aggressively treaded winter tires but they are run flats as well.
Should I buy an M760Li?
If we had the means to make this car a permanent fixture in the Carpages Garage, we wouldn’t hesitate to do so. We’d pat ourselves on the back for not only having a massively quick ultra-luxury sedan at our disposal but also for our inherent financial prudence. If you fancy yourself a V12 powered luxo-barge, your other choices are limited to the Mercedes Benz S65 or the Bentley Flying Spur, both of whom start at $92,600 and an unbelievable $353,780 more the M760Li respectively. Of course, if you’re the sort who prefers to let the help do the driving, we would bet that Jeeves would be tickled pink to whisk you from A to B on a tidal wave of V12 power.
2018 BMW M760Li xDrive– Specifications
- Price as tested: $182,700
- Body Type: 4-door, 5 passenger sedan
- Powertrain Layout: Front engine/All-Wheel Drive
- Engine: 6.6-litre twin turbocharged V12, DOHC, 48 valves
- Horsepower: 601 @ 5,500 rpm
- Torque (lb-ft.): 590 @ 1,550 rpm
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Curb weight: 2,315 kg (5,101 lbs.)
- Fuel consumption: 18.7L/100km (13 mpg)