2017 BMW M760i xDrive First Drive Review

For as long as we can remember, the BMW 7 Series has never been wanting for power or quickness despite its large size. When we tested the latest 750i xDrive, it ran from 0 to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. That’s 0.4 second quicker than its Mercedes-Benz S550 4Matic rival despite sporting a slight 10-horsepower disadvantage. For 2017, BMW has returned with a 601-hp V-12 model, which will no doubt lure in those who crave the highest iteration of Roundel performance and prestige, but that isn’t likely to change the 7’s overall reputation as a comfortable cruiser and technological titan.

As you might already know, the M760i is not a proper M model, but it’s the next best thing. BMW doesn’t seem eager to introduce an M7 anytime soon, deeming the milder M Performance treatment more appropriate for this range-topping saloon. The model benefits from the 6.6-liter V-12, M760i-specific gearshift programming for the eight-speed automatic transmission, and special tuning for the steering and chassis control systems. Also look for M Sport brakes, M Sport exhaust with adjustable flaps, larger air intakes in the front apron, and Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires wrapped around 20-inch M light-alloy wheels.

The final product is a solid and confident vehicle. It’s hard to imagine, but this full-size sedan puts sexier cars such as the i8 and M3 to shame. Despite weighing a manufacturer-claimed 5,150 pounds, the M760i pounces to 60 mph in a BMW-estimated 3.6 seconds. The automaker says it’s the quickest 7 Series BMW ever.

Now the question is: Does it feel as heavy and powerful as it is? We recently had the opportunity to take the M760i around a racetrack at the BMW Performance Center in Thermal, California. Even with traction control turned off, the sedan has plenty of grip, latching onto every bend and curve like a good pair of spandex workout pants. As long as you’re going relatively quickly, you forget you’re driving a 2.5-ton sedan.

If you must drive, perhaps for a sunset stroll by the beach—or in our case, by the Anza-Borrego desert just south of Palm Springs—you might think Comfort mode would suit the occasion. Yet despite its name, Comfort feels a bit disengaged and makes the car seem heavier due to disconnected steering feel. Activate Sport mode, and you’ll be perfectly happy no matter the driving situation. It tightens up the steering considerably, but the car remains supple and comfortable. Offering a relatively nimble experience, Eco mode serves a nice dynamic middle ground between Comfort and Sport, nut it might take just a little more pedal effort to get up to speed.

When we first drove the current-generation G11 750i, we lamented that it failed to capture much of the same magic as the S-Class. Striving toward luxury and performance, the V-8 model didn’t seem to get either part of the equation exactly right. Although it’s loaded with technology and creature comforts, the materials aren’t quite as plush as the S-Class. And although it performed well in the 060-mph and quarter-mile tests, it lacked in terms of handling and athleticism. With tightened reflexes, the M760i starts to put some of the misgivings about the 7 Series’ performance to bed. But make no mistake: This is still a world-class luxury cruiser.

Used Car Lot Crystal Ball

Today, 20 models on the market (all European makes) offer a V-12 engine. Needless to say, the V-12 is a true luxury available for those who want to enter the 500-hp club, but that glory comes at a significant cost. You can get a BMW 750i xDrive, complete with a 445-hp V-8, for $98,595, but a V-12-powered M760i xDrive requires shelling out at least $154,795.

The V-12 might be essentially unobtainable to the common man on the new car lot. But give it a few years, and that acquisition cost might be more palatable. Or you could just go hunting for a secondhand V-8 7 Series.