(EXTREMELY) RAPID COMFORT
If you insist on a V12 limousine that is as content at the racetrack as it is at the office, few match the 760Li
IT seems at odds, the notion of a stretched luxury saloon with performance abilities. Who would want both characteristics in one car? BMW, however, certainly believes there’s a niche market and has plugged it by melding the refined and comfortable extendedwheelbase 7 Series with the biggest and most powerful engine it could find in its arsenal: a 6,6-litre V12 with dual turbos.
Save for a slightly more aggressive front bumper with larger air intakes and a subtle rear spoiler, there isn’t much in the way of styling addenda that warns fellow road users of the power you are packing. What does give the game away, though, is a raft of M and V12 badges, and huge 20-inch wheels. And, of course, what happens when you put your foot down.
With outputs of 448 kw and maximum torque of 800 N.m, BMW decided four-wheel drive was the best option to control these levels of grunt in a vehicle weighing 2,2 tonnes. This extra traction has resulted in a claimed 0-100 km/h acceleration time of 3,7 seconds, which should be enough to see off most supercars at the robots. Sense and sensibility return with a top speed limited to 250 km/h, although you can opt for the M Driver’s package that raises the limit to 305 km/h.
Each turbo on the V12 supplies a bank of six cylinders with intercooled, force-fed air. At the other end, large-diameter exhaust pipes reduce backpressure and include flaps inside the rear silencers that open when the sport button is pressed.
The transmission is ZF’S excellent eight-speed Steptronic torque convertor that does the business with ease in drive mode. Choosing sport mode, however, speeds up the gear changes, sharpens the throttle and elicits a real V12 wail from the exhaust pipes.
The construction makes use of carbon-fibre, especially round the passenger cell, thus reducing the mass as far as as possible (with so many luxury features plus the added mass of the four wheel-drive components, this car isn’t exactly a lightweight).
Another thing you don’t normally associate with luxury limos is a racetrack, but a confident BMW took us to its test track outside Palm Springs to see how the M760LI would fare. We started on the tight go-kart track, where it was very clear what a difference the 7’s active roll stabilisation (now employing electro-mechanical actuation instead of hydraulic) made between drive and sport