BMW M760Li Review: To Drive Or Be Driven? – Forbes – Forbes

The new BMW M760i looks menacing, with its carbon fiber bodywork.

Credit: BMW.

The new BMW M760i looks menacing, especially with its carbon fiber bodywork and other visual tweaks.

Every once in a while, a car comes along that defies conventional categorization. Take, for example, the new pinnacle of BMW’s flagship 7 Series sedan line, the M760Li xDrive we recently drove over the course of a week through Chicago’s bucolic western suburbs.

A long-wheelbase 7 Series like this is most often employed as a chauffeur-driven executive car for CEOs and other upper-echelon occupants, especially when fitted with our tester’s optional array of back-seat accoutrements that include heated, massaging, and reclining seats with dual entertainment-system screens, dining tables that fold deftly into a center console, and power deploying footrests, just like first-class – international first-class, no less – airline seats.

And yet there’s, an “M” in the vehicle’s nameplate, which suggests a decidedly performance-minded bent, along with a prominant “V12” badge above the rear fenders (also on the center console and illuminated door sills) that ensures an overabundance of acceleration. Not to mention the menacing-looking matte-finish carbon fiber exterior that looks as if it could allow the elongated sedan to escape radar detection, if not withstand a barrage of bullets (in fact it can do neither, but it certainly looks sharp and, along with other assorted carbon fiber elements, shaves pounds off the car’s curb weight).

In other words, the BMW 760Li is an executive car for executives who occasionally prefer to drive rather than be driven. Its main competitors include the Audi S8 and Mercedes-AMG S63 and S65 variants. Starting at $154,795 (including the $995 delivery charge), it’s the evolutionary link that connects the BMW and Rolls-Royce brands, bridging the gap in both price and substance between the 7 Series and the Ghost.

Under this attractive-in-its own-right cover lies the M760Li's 601-horsepower twin-turbo V12 engine.

Credit: BMW

Under this attractive-in-its own-right cover lies the M760Li’s 601-horsepower twin-turbo V12 engine.

Not as rip-roaringly sporty as a full status BMW “M” model like the coveted M3, here the letter stands for “M Performance,” which in BMW speak means it’s a more aggressively tuned model that nonetheless accepts the necessity of exhibiting a softer side under normal circumstances. It shares its 6.6-liter V12 twin-turbo powerhouse of an engine with the Rolls brand, but here it’s massaged for improved response, with a quick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission channeling a full 601 horsepower to the pavement via BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system.

Acceleration is both quick and effortless, thanks in part to BMW’s Launch Control, with the car’s M Sport exhaust system contributing a throaty soundtrack on the way to 60 mph in a sudden 3.6 seconds. But beyond that it…just…keeps…going…until the scenery begins to blur and common sense (or the plaintive cries of one’s passengers) encourages moderation. Top speed is an electronically limited (and tire-preserving) 155 mph.

Though nowhere nearly as eager and responsive through the curves as would be a much smaller performance car, the M760Li nonetheless holds its own in this regard thanks to specific suspension tuning and front-axle steering ratio, beefier M Sport brakes, Integral Active Steering, and 20-inch Michelin tires. While the car’s steering feels numb, even when the car is switched into Sport mode, it’s still sufficiently quick through the curves and makes easy work of around town driving and parallel parking. The 7 Series’ Active Comfort Drive suspension system affords a smooth ride over pockmarked pavement and a dearth of body roll through the turns. At that, we suspect those who can afford an M760Li probably also keeps a Porsche Cayenne or a Mazda MX-5 Miata in the garage for times when more-engaging driving is on the agenda.

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