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Driven: BMW M760Li. Image by BMW.

Driven: BMW M760Li
Ridiculous. An absolutely ridiculous car. And itís completely and unequivocally mesmerising.


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BMW M760Li

5 5 5 5 5

Good points: There's absolutely no need for such a monstrous machine as this to exist

Not so good: There's absolutely no need for such a monstrous machine as this to exist

Key Facts

Model tested: BMW M760Li
Price: 7 Series starts from £63,040; M760Li from £138,335
Engine: 6.6-litre twin-turbo V12 petrol
Transmission: xDrive all-wheel drive, M Steptronic eight-speed automatic
Body style: four-door saloon
CO2 emissions: 294g/km (VED £2,070 first 12 months, then £450 per annum next five years of ownership, then £140 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 22.1mpg
Top speed: 155mph (limited; option to raise limiter to 190mph with M Driver's Package)
0-62mph: 3.7 seconds
Power: 610hp at 5,500rpm
Torque: 800Nm at 1,550-5,000rpm

Our view:

Look, this is another one of our 'straight to the point' reviews: we've driven the sixth-generation BMW 7 Series (both the G11 standard-wheelbase and G12 long-wheelbase versions) in enough different guises to know it's a truly brilliant luxury limo. Indeed, it's even Mercedes-Benz S-Class-rivalling in some ways, maybe even better than the top-end Merc in others. It does everything you'd expect a Seven to do, as in drive sportily like a smaller BMW thanks to its Carbon Core technology, and yet it can loaf along as civilly, demurely and smoothly as anything else in the world on its air suspension, all while layering on top handsome looks and a first-class cabin that's replete with toys. We love the current 7 Series to bits.

Which brings us onto the meat of this particular review, which relates to engine choice. What you want in a big, comfortable four-door like this is torque, isn't it? And the 730d has 620Nm of the stuff, enough for a 0-62mph time of 6.1 seconds, a mammoth amount of midrange flexibility and a lovely straight-six burr. You don't need anything more... do you? Ah, but then you drive the 320hp/680Nm version of the same turbodiesel, badged as the 740d and you think to yourself 'yeeeeess, this is more like it, I'll have one of these, please, thank you and goodnight.' Before you end up sampling the incredibly clever 740Le plug-in hybrid model and the instant shove/silky silence of the electric drive makes you vehemently reject diesel power for your Seven immediately.

But then you're lucky enough to have a go in the 750Li xDrive and, huzzah! This is it. This is where it's at. You couldn't possible need any more thump in a BMW 7 Series than this. With a twin-turbo, 450hp V8, it rips from 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds and yet it'll supposedly return more than 30mpg. We've found the sweet spot. Everyone; pack your bags and go home, our work here is done.

Except it isn't. We really haven't found the sweet spot. Because the sweet spot of the 7 Series range is right here. Oh, goodness, nothing we've driven before has got a drivetrain that's quite such a dominant part of the motoring experience as the insane BMW M760Li. It's packing a 6.6-litre V12 that's essentially the engine used in most modern Rolls-Royces, only turned up on the power front to 610hp and (marginally) detuned on torque to a still-faintly-ludicrous 800Nm. The whole car - xDrive and eight-speed automatic and leather-lined luxury cabin, all - weighs in at a whopping 2,255kg.

Which makes the ferocious, explosive violence of its performance all the more gob-smacking. Even in world of 400hp, all-wheel-drive hot hatches and 460hp BMW M4s, the M760Li is another stratospheric level of acceleration again. Leaving 30mph zones and transitioning to a 60mph open A-road, it rockets to the limit in the merest blink of an eye, most of the very brief time it takes to add 30mph to its speed taken up by the gearbox shuffling down a couple of cogs as you clog the throttle. Give the V12 its head and the performance is downright illegal - in this country, at any rate. The M760Li hauls through extremely high speeds in incredibly short order, so you have to treat the accelerator pedal as if you're standing on the last of the Fabergť eggs if you want to preserve your licence.

You'll have a devil of a job resisting the BMW's temptation, though. It's simply so potent, even on half- or quarter-throttle, that you'll make everything else on the roads look slow. Which makes its 'G12' bodywork, with its rear doors the size of Kent, all the more amusing: the M760Li is like the most unhinged, vicious thug - capable of terrifying acts of quite remorseless barbarity - encased in the most perfectly tailored Savile Row suit. And it sounds terrific, all baritone bent-12 gargling, with not a hint of V6 or V8 about it. The noise is muffled slightly by the Seven's acres of sound-deadening and double-glazed glass, so it doesn't make the old neck-hairs tingle like a full-on M-car, but it's still naughty enough to have you giggling, each and every time you open the taps. Which will be often, we can assure you.

Brilliantly, the M760Li handles well; better than 'well', actually, because it's bloody fantastic in the corners. Sport modes firm things up in all regards and it's perfectly useable, even on the bubbliest of British road surfaces, but leave the car in Comfort Plus, because it's completely hilarious. You get a bit more lean on the air suspension and more pitch under acceleration, which makes the nose of the 7 Series rear up noticeably as it tries to apportion 610hp out as best it can under extreme duress, but you get no less grip, no less traction and one of the most supple performance cars we can ever remember. Indeed, so farcically good is the 5.25-metre-long limo's road-holding that you start making comparisons in your mind that run 'it's like an over-sized, over-powered Subaru Impreza/WRX STI, this'. THAT'S how good the BMW is on your favourite, quiet back road. It's an utter joy to drive, just as an M car... sorry, M Performance car (ahem!), should be.

Of course it whispers along smoothly. Of course it's very quiet at a cruise. Of course it feels like a £140,000 car, in the manner of its fixtures, fittings and equipment list. And of course, none of this stuff matters. If this isn't just an out-and-out M7, we'll eat our hats. It's sublime. Magnificent. And absolutely bound to be one of the rarest sights you'll ever see on our roads: you'll probably clock a few of the latest 4WD M5s but it's likely that you will rarely spot an M760Li motoring past you in the outside lane. So it has immense cult appeal, too.

In summary, the M760Li is like the final firework at a big, flashy public display. It's criminally overblown for what it needs to do and it (almost literally) represents a shedload of money going up in a fizz-bang and then lots of smoke - we've seen 5,000-mile used examples up for sale with 50 grand off the near-£140,000 list price. But it's essential. It has to be there. There must be one last, glorious hurrah for the petrol-loving crowd. Sure, in Britain, there's no need for the M760Li - yet that's absolutely no reason at all not to be thankful to your very core that it exists.

We doubt V12 BMWs, or any other V12s, for that matter, will last for much longer, even in the status-obsessed global markets that the M760Li is so clearly intended for. But, if this is indeed the swansong of petrol, the final exhilarating, glittering bang as the era of fossil fuels draws to its inevitable conclusion, then we would say to Munich - as Vanessa Williams once so famously crooned - 'just when I thought our chance had passed, you go and save the best for last'. It might not be meant for the UK and it will be financial suicide to go for it, but the demented, lunatic, wondrous, brutal M760Li has to be one of our favourite cars of all time.

There's a solution to the financial conundrum, though: depreciation. Wait for this savage beast to take a huge chunk out of the BMW M760Li and you'll be onto a winner in three, maybe four years' time. Because what you have here is a moment of mainstream carmaker madness, crystallised in metal and leather for all eternity like a Jurassic mosquito trapped in amber. And it's impossible not to fall hopelessly, head-over-heels in love with it as a result. This is automotive perfection.


Audi S8 plus: We're still waiting for the first performance iteration of the Mk4 A8, but the outgoing, 605hp S8 plus is an RS Audi in disguise. M760Li monsters it, though.

Jaguar XJR575: Slightly tuned-up version of the 'regular' 550hp XJR is fantastic and remains avantgarde in the styling stakes, but it's hopelessly outgunned by the mighty Beemer.

Mercedes-AMG S 65: Big V12 limo from Mercedes has even more power and torque than the M760Li, but its chassis is nowhere near as sharp and it's six-tenths slower to 62mph, too.

Matt Robinson - 30 Apr 2018    - BMW road tests
- BMW news
- 7 Series images

2016 BMW M760Li xDrive. Image by BMW.2016 BMW M760Li xDrive. Image by BMW.2016 BMW M760Li xDrive. Image by BMW.2016 BMW M760Li xDrive. Image by BMW.2016 BMW M760Li xDrive. Image by BMW.

2016 BMW M760Li xDrive. Image by BMW.2016 BMW M760Li xDrive. Image by BMW.2016 BMW M760Li xDrive. Image by BMW.2016 BMW M760Li xDrive. Image by BMW.2016 BMW M760Li xDrive. Image by BMW.


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