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2017 BMW M760Li xDrive: first drive

By Jez Spinks, 16 Feb 2017 Reviews

2017 BMW M760Li xDrive: first drive

First drive of BMW's storming twin-turbo V12 limousine

It’s common for business deals to be conducted over a round of golf, but we’d settle our executive battles with laps around a racetrack.

And if you come suited up in a BMW M760Li, you’ve got a great chance of sealing a handshake.

The fastest BMW production car built yet nails 100km/h from standstill in 3.7 seconds to promote itself above fellow fast limos including both S-Class AMGs (S65 and S63), Jaguar XJR, and Audi S8 plus.

If it doesn’t feel quite that quick using the launch-control system, the closest Munich will probably ever get to building an M7 is a genuine track performer.

2017 BMW M760iL xDrive rearThrough the mix of flowing medium-speed corners, fast straights, and cambered chicanes of the terrific Thermal Club circuit in Palm Springs, USA, where BMW held the car’s international launch, the M760Li belied its five-metre-long dimensions and 2.2-tonne mass.

While no BMW M3 or M5, and not exactly shrinking around you, in the relative realms of large luxury sedans the big Bimmer brings that combination of predictable balance, forceful brakes, and tyre stickiness that prompts you to drive as fast as you dare.

The M760Li turns into corners with surprising alacrity, even when emerging from a heavy braking zone. And the understeer that eventually arrives mid-corner once the high limits of the 20-inch rubber start to be exceeded is easily dialled out with a slight lift.

2017 BMW M760iL xDrive drivingThis will be the first BMW passenger car to feature all-wheel drive in Australia. And the first with an M Performance badge. The noises coming out of M GmbH suggests it won’t be long before we see it on a core model.

Traction is unquestionably impressive, though even with the DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) button pressed for some extra slippage, we’d expect such an M5 to have a much more emphatic rear-drive bias than the M760Li’s.

Out on the fabulously twisty roads of the Banning-Idyllwild Panoramic Highway, west of Palm Springs, the M760Li feels even more the lithe limo.

2017 BMW M760iL xDrive engineLeaving the eight-speed auto in control, the M Performance 7 Series surges seamlessly through its gears.

With the car in Sport mode, and the gearlever flicked left to take command of the paddles, the transmission holds gears to the redline and the ratios are swapped with a bit more drama.

The V12 also growls more vocally as a flap in the exhaust system is flipped open.

BMW says the M760Li is calibrated with the most extreme gap between its Sport and Comfort modes, and there’s certainly a softening of everything when you flick to the latter.

2017-BMW-M760i L-x Drive -rear -drivingThat includes a muting of the V12 as the M760i glides along with the serenity you might expect of any 7 Series – with the potential to be completely unaware of the power available, especially as there’s some mild lag.

M badges are certainly not prolific. They’re found on the steering wheel, digital instrument cluster and footrest.

Otherwise welcome to the most luxuriously appointed 7 Series, with liberally spread Merino leather, high-pile floor mats, black wood trim and Alcantara rooflining.

2017 BMW M760iL xDrive interiorOf course, there’s a price tag befitting the flagship of the brand’s flagship range: $419,000, which makes it the most expensive BMW.

That’s a huge $130K above the V8-powered 750i. Yet if you want absolute power to go with your BMW status symbol, the M760Li is the deal.


Like: Engine and chassis’ duality of character; track credibility; engaging V12; lavishly equipped cabin

Dislike: Some lag; sizeable price jump over 750i; cabin could be a touch sportier

Engine: 6592cc V12, DOHC, 48v, twin turbo
Power: 448kW @ 5500rpm
Torque: 800Nm @ 1550rpm
Weight: 2180kg
0-100km/h: 3.7sec (claim)
Price: $419,000