Su­per Seven does 0-100 in just 3.7s

The Star Early Edition - - NEW MODELS - DE­NIS DROPPA

IT’S NOT ev­ery day you get to drive a lux­ury limou­sine around a race­track, but the BMW M760Li xDrive priced at R2.7-mil­lion is no reg­u­lar lux­ury limo.

The ever-play­ful engi­neers at BMW’s M divi­sion have given this car the high-per­for­mance 6.6-litre TwinPower turbo V12 treat­ment and created not only the most pow­er­ful BMW pro­duc­tion car yet built, but also the quick­est ac­cel­er­at­ing one.

Pam­pered ex­ec­u­tives with a sporty streak will be pleased to know this lusty limo whisks from rest to 100km/h in just 3.7 sec­onds, quicker even than more overtly fire-breath­ing BMWs like the M5 and M4, and plac­ing this ‘su­per seven’ into the ac­cel­er­a­tive league of cars with horses and bulls on their badges. With an op­tional M Driver’s pack­age, the 250km/h re­stricted top speed is raised to a gov­erned 305km/h – un­governed it would prob­a­bly be fast enough to com­pete in the Indy 500.

BMW South Africa last week hosted the car’s me­dia launch at Port El­iz­a­beth’s Aldo Scrib­ante race­track, on what is the 40th an­niver­sary of the 7 Se­ries in this coun­try. The first V12-en­gined ver­sion, the 750i, came along in 1987 wield­ing 220kW of nor­mally-as­pi­rated 5-litre power with rear wheel drive and hit the 100km/h mark in 7.4 sec­onds. It was a mighty feat for the time but the mod­ern 7 Se­ries flag­ship goes into su­per­car ter­ri­tory with its sub four-sec­ond sprint and out­puts of 448kW and 800Nm, with all­wheel drive to bet­ter man­age the mus­cle.

When you punch the ac­cel­er­a­tor the car ex­plodes into silky ag­gres­sion as g-forces pum­mel you into your lux­ury leather-padded seat. The ram­pant power feels out of synch with the smooth reverie of the sound­proofed cock­pit, which fil­ters out all noises save for one: the fairly lusty growl of that V12. Kudos to the M-gi­neers for not mak­ing it sound like a sewing ma­chine.

This hefty 2.3 ton car will never be a track ma­chine, which is why BMW shied away from call­ing it an M7, but it does hold the road re­mark­ably well for its size and there are M-spe­cific styling, chas­sis and tech­nol­ogy touches to give the M760Li xDrive a more ath­letic char­ac­ter. The eight-speed au­to­matic has re­ceived M Per­for­mance-spe­cific tun­ing to de­liver more in­stan­ta­neous down­shifts, while the xDrive is a rear-bi­ased all-wheel drive sys­tem that pre­vents early un­der­steer.

In­te­gral Ac­tive Steer­ing ad­justs the an­gle of the rear wheels to re­duce lowspeed steer­ing ef­fort and im­prove high­speed sta­bil­ity, and ac­tive roll sta­bil­i­sa­tion pre­vents the car from wal­low­ing in the corners with­out af­fect­ing ride com­fort. Grip­ping the tar gamely are per­for­mance tyres on matt grey 20” wheels, while the M Sport brakes deal with the rigours of the track with­out fad­ing.

The idea of a sporty 7 Se­ries goes back a long way. The leg­endary Win­field-spon­sored 745i that was raced here in the eight­ies by the equally leg­endary late Tony Viana kick­started the whole thing. Built as a South African spe­cial to take on the mighty Alfa GTVs and Sierra XR8s of the time, the near-stan­dard 745i was driven by Tony to vic­tory in the 1985 Group 1 cham­pi­onship. To­day the re­stored car is raced in his­torics by Tony’s old team-mate and friend Paolo Cava­lieri.

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