What is it?
Nine months after it was launched, BMW’s fifth generation 7 Series gains a range topping V12 version, in the shape of the 760Li; also BMW’s most expensive production road car.
Although the V12’s swept capacity is identical to that of the previous generation, BMW claims this all-aluminium engine to be ‘all-new’. The big news is that, in a first for BMW, a V12 is combined with twin-turbos (one for each bank of cylinders) to produce 532bhp and 553lb ft.
The 760Li is also the first model to get BMW’s new eight-speed automatic transmission (developed in conjunction with ZF) also due on the 5 Series GT.
Although BMW is producing the 760i in both short and long wheelbase versions, in the UK we will get only the latter. There is however the choice of regular (as tested here) or M Sport specification.
What is it like?
So how do you distinguish a V12 7 Series from the lesser versions? Other than the badges there are a few tell-tale exterior signs, the most obvious being the quad exhausts, but also V12 labels next to indicator repeaters, and additional chrome detailing. And as with some previous versions, the kidney grille is also more prominent, this time by increasing the thickness of the chrome surround rather than actually enlarging the grille itself.
Inside, as you would expect the interior is packed with toys otherwise optional on other 7 Series models. Bespoke to the 760Li is a particularly plush looking leather and alcantara roof lining and wood trim featuring walnut inlays (other trims are available).
To drive it is, as you would expect given the outputs, very brisk indeed. BMW claims 4.6 second to 62mph, which seems completely believable. Top speed is as usual limited to 155mph, and as a measure of the performance when the limiter kicks in, even doing so gradually, the reduction in acceleration is marked. What the 760Li isn’t though, is a hot-rod in the vein of Mercedes’ similarly priced and S63AMG.
For the most part the BMW’s V12 remains almost completely silent, whether at idle or low to mid range revs, and unless you have an awful amount of space available, you will rarely get the engine spinning much beyond 4000rpm.