RAC

BMW 760Li

BMW has given its all in fashioning the 760Li. Steve Walker takes a look.

Preview

What is the ultimate car? Conventional wisdom would suggest that it's some kind of ultra-rare exotic supercar with a price tag that reads like Mexico's national debt. These things can certainly go like lightening around a racetrack but can they really be the pinnacle of automotive achievement when you can do a Vauxhall Corsa-worth of damage to them just by going over a speed hump too quickly? If you take the view that a car worthy of being called 'ultimate' needs to be more of an all-rounder, perhaps a top line luxury saloon would be more deserving of the accolade. Something with fearsome performance, room to swing a mountain lion and refinement that allows to you hear your driver thinking about dropping a pin. Enter the BMW 760Li.

Ten Second Review

Any car worthy of sitting atop the BMW model range has got to be good. The 760Li sets about justifying its lofty billing with a 6.0-litre V12 engine utilising twin turbochargers to make 544bhp. Upgraded trim materials and a full complement of technological features including air suspension and an 8-speed automatic gearbox should make it capable of mixing with the best cars on the planet.

Background

You can pick up a BMW 7-Series for around £55,000 these days but not a 760Li, not by a long shot. Where an entry-level 730d or 740i might be picked up as a company car by a high-flying executive who wants to add an element of luxury to their road travel, a 760Li operates at an altogether higher plane. The flagship BMW is gunning for buyers with the means to own and run a fully-loaded limousine with V12 power and have it barely make a dent in their bank balance. There aren't too many of them around but the German marque is banking on the 760Li having the right stuff to lure them out.

Driving Experience

The engine is quite a piece of work. We've come to expect that from the Munich firm's engineering department but this time they surpassed even themselves. It's a twin-turbo V12 no less and it features advanced technology throughout. High precision direct injection with piezo injectors and Bi-VANOS variable valve timing ensures optimum performance and efficiency. It's great to know all that's going on under the bonnet but owners and enthusiasts will be more interested in the end result of 544bhp and 750Nm of torque. That will see the 760Li to 60mph in a supercar-baiting 4.6s and if the top speed were not limited to 155mph, goodness knows what the car could crank itself up to given the right amount of runway. Of course, the 760Li needs to go quickly in comfort and to that end, BMW has included technology to adjust the driving characteristics according to conditions. There's Drive Dynamic Control which features Variable Damping Control and allows the driver to customise the set-up of the car. The gear change timing on the eight-speed automatic transmission, throttle response, steering assistance, damper settings and the stability control threshold can all be adjusted to your own personal tastes. The rear axle also features self-levelling suspension to improve comfort levels for those luxuriating in the back.

Design and Build

There's nothing particularly ground breaking about the way the 7 Series looks. The exterior lines are clearly derived from the previous generation car with elements carried over from BMW's other current products. This flagship model is separated from its stablemates by an extra-wide chrome frame around the front grille and a subtle V12 insignia on the side gills. The roof also gets chrome rain channels and at the rear twin rectangular exhaust pipes provide a fitting riposte to the complaints of newly overtaken drivers. The L in 760Li stands for long wheelbase and the lengthening of the car has created 14cm of additional rear legroom. The 7 Series was hardly deficient in this respect beforehand but now there's room to really stretch out. High class materials adorn every surface with alcantara headlining and burr walnut inlays helping create a highly salubrious atmosphere.

Market and Model

The 760Li is certainly dressed to impress and the specification leaves little room for disappointment. Heated and electrically-adjustable seats are standard for all occupants and you can even have them air-conditioned or with a massaging function for a small extra charge. Why not? Entertainment is laid on by a 12 gigabyte hard-disc based multimedia system with advanced satellite navigation technology. The doors have an automatic soft close function so there's no need to do anything so uncouth as slam them, plus there's an electric sun blind for the rear window. Standard safety features include the Lane Departure Warning system which monitors road markings and tells the driver if they wander out of their lane, while the Speed Limit Warning System can actually read road signs and warn the driver if they exceed the speed limit. When it comes to options, 760Li buyers can really cut loose. Amongst the highlights is a night vision system that can detect and warn the driver if a pedestrian moves into the path of the vehicle in the dark. There's also a front side view camera system that activates cameras on the nose of the car to give the driver a better view at blind junctions.

Cost of Ownership

Fuel economy returns of under 22mpg would send most motorists off to hunt for the rascal who's been siphoning unleaded out of their tank. Normal rules do not apply at the pinnacle of the luxury saloon market, however, and the 21.7mpg with 303g/km emissions of the 760Li is actually a very good showing for a car of its capabilities. BMW's EfficientDynamics technology has set the standard in a market where every mainstream manufacturer is taking steps to maximise economy and lower emissions. The 760Li benefits from the full EfficientDynamics package with key body panels fabricated from aluminium to save weight and Brake Energy Regeneration using energy that would have been lost under braking or on the overrun to recharge the car's battery.

Summary

Lots of people will have a view on what they consider the ultimate car to be and opinions will differ but the BMW 760Li has got to be a front runner. It's got power, speed, space and luxury: it's even reasonably priced in the grand scheme of the sort of cars it's competing against. Many customers at this rarefied level of the market will pass over the BMW in favour of cars carrying more exclusive badges but few models, regardless of the badge on the nose or the price on the windscreen, will outclass a 760Li.

Lots of people will have a view on what they consider the ultimate car to be and opinions will differ but the BMW 760Li has got to be a front runner. It's got power, speed, space and luxury: it's even reasonably priced in the grand scheme of the sort of cars it's competing against. Many customers at this rarefied level of the market will pass over the BMW in favour of cars carrying more exclusive badges but few models, regardless of the badge on the nose or the price on the windscreen, will outclass a 760Li.

Lots of people will have a view on what they consider the ultimate car to be and opinions will differ but the BMW 760Li has got to be a front runner. It's got power, speed, space and luxury: it's even reasonably priced in the grand scheme of the sort of cars it's competing against. The engine is quite a piece of work. We've come to expect that from the Munich firm's engineering department but this time they surpassed even themselves. It's a twin-turbo V12 no less and it features advanced technology throughout. High precision direct injection with piezo injectors and Bi-VANOS variable valve timing ensures optimum performance and efficiency. It's great to know all that's going on under the bonnet but owners and enthusiasts will be more interested in the end result of 544bhp and 750Nm of torque. That will see the 760Li to 60mph in a supercar-baiting 4.6s and if the top speed were not limited to 155mph, goodness knows what the car could crank itself up to given the right amount of runway. The L in 760Li stands for long wheelbase and the lengthening of the car has created 14cm of additional rear legroom. The 7 Series was hardly deficient in this respect beforehand but now there's room to really stretch out. High class materials adorn every surface with alcantara headlining and burr walnut inlays helping create a highly salubrious atmosphere. The 760Li is certainly dressed to impress and the specification leaves little room for disappointment. Heated and electrically-adjustable seats are standard for all occupants and you can even have them air-conditioned or with a massaging function for a small extra charge. Why not? Entertainment is laid on by a 12 gigabyte hard-disc based multimedia system with advanced satellite navigation technology. Many customers at this rarefied level of the market will pass over the BMW in favour of cars carrying more exclusive badges but few models, regardless of the badge on the nose or the price on the windscreen, will outclass a 760Li.

Any car worthy of sitting atop the BMW model range has got to be good. The 760Li sets about justifying its lofty billing with a 6.0-litre V12 engine utilising twin turbochargers to make 544bhp. Upgraded trim materials and a full complement of technological features including air suspension and an 8-speed automatic gearbox should make it capable of mixing with the best cars on the planet. You can pick up a BMW 7-Series for around £55,000 these days but not a 760Li, not by a long shot. Where an entry-level 730d or 740i might be picked up as a company car by a high-flying executive who wants to add an element of luxury to their road travel, a 760Li operates at an altogether higher plane. The flagship BMW is gunning for buyers with the means to own and run a fully-loaded limousine with V12 power and have it barely make a dent in their bank balance. There aren't too many of them around but the German marque is banking on the 760Li having the right stuff to lure them out. The engine is quite a piece of work. We've come to expect that from the Munich firm's engineering department but this time they surpassed even themselves. It's a twin-turbo V12 no less and it features advanced technology throughout. High precision direct injection with piezo injectors and Bi-VANOS variable valve timing ensures optimum performance and efficiency. It's great to know all that's going on under the bonnet but owners and enthusiasts will be more interested in the end result of 544bhp and 750Nm of torque. That will see the 760Li to 60mph in a supercar-baiting 4.6s and if the top speed were not limited to 155mph, goodness knows what the car could crank itself up to given the right amount of runway. Of course, the 760Li needs to go quickly in comfort and to that end, BMW has included technology to adjust the driving characteristics according to conditions. There's Drive Dynamic Control which features Variable Damping Control and allows the driver to customise the set-up of the car. The gear change timing on the eight-speed automatic transmission, throttle response, steering assistance, damper settings and the stability control threshold can all be adjusted to your own personal tastes. The rear axle also features self-levelling suspension to improve comfort levels for those luxuriating in the back. The L in 760Li stands for long wheelbase and the lengthening of the car has created 14cm of additional rear legroom. The 7 Series was hardly deficient in this respect beforehand but now there's room to really stretch out. High class materials adorn every surface with alcantara headlining and burr walnut inlays helping create a highly salubrious atmosphere. Fuel economy returns of under 22mpg would send most motorists off to hunt for the rascal who's been siphoning unleaded out of their tank. Normal rules do not apply at the pinnacle of the luxury saloon market, however, and the 21.7mpg with 303g/km emissions of the 760Li is actually a very good showing for a car of its capabilities. Many customers at this rarefied level of the market will pass over the BMW in favour of cars carrying more exclusive badges but few models, regardless of the badge on the nose or the price on the windscreen, will outclass a 760Li.

Scores
Performance 9
Handling 8
Comfort 9
Space 8
Styling 6
Build 9
Value 6
Equipment 9
Economy 7
Depreciation 6
Insurance 5
Total 82
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