Inside, the M760Li gets just as ridiculous as its outside appearance and performance levels suggest.
In the world of ultra-premium sedans, there are few things that portray more excess than a decked-out, full-size German luxury brute. Enter the 2018 BMW M760Li xDrive, a four-door that doesn’t try to hide its intentions, and one that always attempts to make a huge presence whenever it enters the room. With twelve cylinders on tap, it makes no compromises compared to the pedestrian six – or even eight – cylinder options that “lesser” vehicles come equipped with. When buying a BMW where money is truly no object, this is your ticket.
Finished in an attention-grabbing matte Frozen Dark Brown, the M760Li looked a little more gray-black than brown, but regardless, there was a good amount of people breaking their necks to look at the car. During a week on test from BMW Canada, the 7 was taken on a road trip from Toronto to Montreal, and in addition to the stares, at least a few people whipped out their phones to get a picture. Much of this attention can be attributed to the matte paint, as the more plainly equipped 7-series (reviewed here) might as well be confused for a 530i or 330i.
Another factor in the M760Li’s conspicuity is the pair of “V12” badges flanking on the C-pillars. For your trouble, you are rewarded with a 6.6-litre, twin-turbocharged V12 engine that packs 600 horsepower at 5,500RPM, combined with 590 lb-ft. of torque starting at 1,500RPM. All this power is routed through an xDrive all-wheel drive system that didn’t skip a beat when it came to putting the power down to the ground in winter weather conditions. BMW says that the sprint to 100KM/H happens in 3.7 seconds, and that makes it the most powerful car currently produced by the Bavarian giant.
When behind the wheel, the twin-turbo V12 takes the buttery smoothness of an inline-six, and multiplies it by two. BMW has managed to retain the sweet torque curve reminiscent of a naturally aspirated engine, and there is no turbo lag to be seen. Depending on RPM and throttle input, the V12’s sound is much more refined than the roar of a V8, yet provides more definition than a wailing straight six. When turned up to 11, expect your internal organs to be rearranged in your seat as the M760Li slingshots to quantum speeds. Even with such thrust, perfect comfort and refinement is maintained at all times. The big M never feels laboured, and only ever responds with a dignified “yes sir, right away, sir” when prompted.
Like other BMW products, the longitudinally-mounted ZF 8HP eight-speed automatic transmission is tasked with gearchanging duty in the M760Li. Used industry-wide in anything from a Jeep Wrangler to the Rolls-Royce Wraith (reviewed here), the 8HP feels right at home in this application, and BMW has always been able to pull of the best calibrations amongst all other automakers. Simply put, the shifts are lightning-fast, super smooth, and the correct gear is always selected. Paddle shifters are available for those who would like manual control, but they are simply not necessary – the computers do a plenty fine job when left to their own devices.
While somebody spending this kind of coin on an outlandish flagship sedan won’t usually care about fuel economy, it is worth noting that the M760Li is rated for 17.7L/100KM in the city, and 11.9L/100KM on the highway. Interestingly, an observed fuel economy of 11.2L/100KM following a Toronto-Montreal road trip managed to trump both numbers. As expected, premium fuel is required, and the fuel tank will accommodate 78 litres of it.
With such an intense straight-line performance experience, the BMW M760Li is also no slouch when it comes to the rest of its driving dynamics. Despite a curb weight of 2,326 kilograms (5,128 pounds), it tackles corners with much more confidence than expected for a sedan of this size and mass. With air suspension at all four corners, handling is impeccably tuned, and while it may not be worthy of something carrying a full-on M7 badge – if such a vehicle were to exist – it is definitely good enough for the M760Li moniker. Cars like this and the M550i (reviewed here) seem to straddle the sport and comfort balance pretty impeccably.
For most of the test week, the M760Li was set to a quasi-sport mode: using the custom user-configurable settings, the engine, transmission, and suspension were all set to be more comfortable, and the steering was set to be the stiffest. As a small caveat, it is worth noting that the handling performance observed was with Pirelli Winter 240 Sottozero Serie II Run Flat winter tires installed on the press car, with a 245/40 R20 front and 275/35 R20 rear stagger. Expect even better performance with proper summer rubber and warmer temperatures.
Moving inside, the M760Li gets just as ridiculous as its outside appearance and performance levels suggest. The test vehicle was equipped with Smoke White Full Merino Leather, contrasted with amazing Grey Poplar wood trim and satin aluminum finishes. Black stitching on the white leather was especially nice, and to call the seats comfortable would be a significant understatement. Heated and ventilated seats (and armrests!) are available at all four positions, and full seat adjustments are available on the rear centre console. Massage functionality is included for driver and both rear seat passengers – the poor bloke riding shotgun up front (read: the non-VIP bodyguard or hired gun) gets the short end of the stick here.
In addition to the aforementioned seating accoutrements, the Executive Lounge Tier 2 package ($10,000!) also gets you two large non-touch screens for rear entertainment, an Android-based tablet for controlling various functions, as well as the ability to push forward the front passenger seat for maximum legroom at the right-rear. In doing so, a power footrest also folds itself down for maximum comfort. Lighting colours and even the interior cabin scents (via the $500 Ambient Air Package) are controllable by all passengers.
Other options on the M760Li include the $4,900 Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround audio system, which features the utmost of clarity and power for any and every type of music. The Frozen Dark Brown paint is $2,000, and headlight washers are a surprisingly optional $300 extra. BMW charges $2,200 for the Advanced Driver Assistance Package, which includes park assist sensors, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, and cross traffic alerting. From a base price of $162,200, the options kick things up to $182,700 as-tested before taxes and fees.
At the end of a week of living with the 2018 BMW M760Li, it became pretty clear that BMW thought about pretty much every single little detail in terms of creating a luxury environment for those who have the means to pay for it. Without a matte “Frozen” paint scheme that involves very specific care and feeding, the 7 Series falls considerably short of the panache of the Mercedes-AMG S 63 4MATIC+ and S 65 flagship sedans. The S 63 is priced similarly to the M760Li, but makes do with only a V8 with similar power output that is quite sweet in itself. In order to get into the V12, the S 65 blows past the quarter-million dollar mark. If the utmost of smoothness and the number of cylinders factors heavily into a purchase decision, the 12-cylinder BMW seems like a bargain at $182,700: it’s all relative, right?