First Drive: BMW M760Li xDrive

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The BMW M760Li xDrive is a difficult car to pigeon-hole. On the one hand, it's the fastest-accelerating production car the German manufacturer has ever made, but on the other it's an incredibly long and luxurious limousine designed for travelling great distances in extreme comfort.

To try to get our heads around it, AOL Cars travelled to Palm Springs, California, to give it a go.

What is it?

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 something of a 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.

What's under the bonnet?

BMW made a lot of noise about it being 30 years since it installed a V12 engine in its 7 Series at the launch. And since that first unit arrived in 1987 in the 7 Series, the 12-cylinder lump has doubled in power.

The 2017 6.6-litre unit now boasts a whopping 601bhp, a staggering 800Nm of torque and is capable of propelling it to 60mph in just 3.6 seconds. That gives it the impressive title of the fastest-accelerating BMW ever made – not bad for a model that's not even a 'proper' M car. All that grunt does mean you'll pay at the pumps; the M760Li will return 22.1mpg and emits 294g/km.

What's the spec like?

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.

First Drive: BMW M760Li

First Drive: BMW M760Li


Any rivals?

It's difficult to find direct rivals for a super-powered limo, but there are a few high-performance luxury cars out there. The Audi S8 Plus is the first to come to mind - it has 597bhp and can do the 0-60mph sprint in an identical 3.6 seconds, and in this company it could almost be considered a bargain at £100,000.

The Porsche Panamera Turbo offers similar performance again and splits the two on price. It's more luxurious inside but its exterior styling can divide opinion. The Mercedes-AMG S63 offers a fantastic all-round package and sounds great, but at £120k it's only marginally less expensive than the BMW.

What's it like to drive?

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.

AOL Cars verdict

For petrol heads, the fact BMW perseveres with a V12 is a revelation. In a world where downsizing is the buzzword, it seems hard to believe that a manufacturer would launch a 6.6-litre petrol-drinking lump.

Although the market for it will be small, we're still very glad it has one. Ok, so this might not be the M7 that many performance BMW fans crave, but it's as close to it as we're going to get. It's great fun to drive, sumptuously luxurious and wonderfully relaxing when you want it to be - and all in, a very competent and exciting 7 Series indeed.

The Knowledge:

Power (bhp): 601bhp
Torque (Nm): 800Nm
Max speed (mph): 155mph (189mph M Driver Package)
0-60mph: 3.6 seconds
MPG: 22.1mpg
Emissions (g/km): 294g/km
Price: £132,310