Being an M Performance model it gets a racier rather than neat corporate suit. Picture:SUPPLIED
Being an M Performance model it gets a racier rather than neat corporate suit. Picture:SUPPLIED

With almost arrogant disregard for critics, for part two of the current 7 Series, BMW has gone and planted on its nose that enormous pair of kidneys first seen on the X7.

The height of the bonnet line has increased by 50mm while slim BMW Laserlights with a night time high-beam range of up to 560 metres also appear. Undoubtedly prominent and sparkly on approach, I feel the now upright bonnet makes out a silhouette that’s a touch disjointed, but that blocky front section hides a 6.6l V12 heart.

The latest BMW M760Li that is exclusively long-wheelbase has revised outputs from the 448kW and 800Nm of the pre-facelift model to 430kW and 850Nm.

Despite a drop in power and an increase in torque, it’s a familiar sensation of raucousness from the most ostentatious yet potent BMW 7 Series when Sport mode is thumbed in. 

Its fast driving experience has certainly improved from the initial model launched here in 2016.

The engine is livelier, its all-wheel drive underpinnings claw the tarmac better and it doesn’t wallow in the corners on its standard adaptive suspension and electronically controlled damping.

There’s plenty of stretch-out space inside the plush cabin. Picture:SUPPLIED
There’s plenty of stretch-out space inside the plush cabin. Picture:SUPPLIED

Even the brakes feel stronger than before, proof that BMW chassis engineers tinkered underneath there to allow a safer, confidently harder push of this 2019 version than you would think possible.

The test car included the optional Active Steering, and a new Reversing Assistant that sees the limo now able to reverse for distances of up to 50 metres by autonomously steering itself along exactly the same line it took when moving forward, as part of the remote self-parking feature.

The tiller also plays a role in the enhanced and oh-so-much closer to fully autonomous driving Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function. In ideal conditions, namely gridlocked traffic, the car independently self-monitors the vicinity and applies soft braking to come to a safe halt or throttles up intuitively to keep up with the car directly in front of its huge grille.

Sensors and cameras make light work of keeping the vehicle inside lane markings and away from other cars. The system is by far the best I’ve experienced in any BMW and is proof that level-five autonomy, where a driver is allowed to have a kip while the car is moving, is truly around the corner. 

Don’t be misled by the boy racer boot-lip spoiler and big-bore exhaust port; the M760Li is quite presidential inside. Pic:SUPPLIED
Don’t be misled by the boy racer boot-lip spoiler and big-bore exhaust port; the M760Li is quite presidential inside. Pic:SUPPLIED

Ultimately this 7 is not a sporting chariot in spite of its venomous state of tune that makes it fun to drive. In fact, I’d prefer someone drive it for me so as to enjoy the extravagance behind the front pews. The cushiness of its suspension despite big wheels and low-profile tyres irons out road imperfections and almost every intrusion is well suppressed thanks to 5.1mm thicker side and rear windows and extra quietening efforts of mechanical components behind the rear seats.

This 7 also boasts a heap of digital toys, including a rear-seat control unit running on updated hardware and new operating system 7.0 software and a tiny masseuse hiding inside the chairs. If you want, and which you must have if you love to be driven, is the optional rear-seat entertainment system which now comes with a pair of 25.4cm, full-HD touchscreen displays including Blu-ray player.

The M760Li is a decadent and digital powerhouse on wheels.


Tech Specs

Engine

Type: twin-turbo V12 petrol

Capacity: 6,592cc

Power: 430kW

Torque: 850Nm

Transmission

Type: Eight-speed auto

Drivetrain

Type: All-wheel drive

Performance

Top speed: 250km/h

0-100km/h: 3.8 sec (claimed)

Fuel Consumption: 12.5l/100km (claimed), 14.4l/100km (as tested)

Emissions: 285g/km

Standard features

Daytime driving running lights LED, High beam assist, keyless access, multiple USB ports, automatic multizone climate control, panoramic roof, entertainment system, run flat tyres, Bluetooth connectivity, electric folding mirrors, auto on/off adaptive headlights lights LED + Laser, adaptive cruise control, park camera distance control front and rear, multi function steering wheel controls, BMW Live Cockpit Professional with navigation, digital 31.2cm instrument cluster and 26cm touchscreen control display, BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, voice control, gesture control, leather upholstery, limited slip diff, EBD, brake assist, ABS, stability control, vitality and relaxation programmes, fragrancing, seat massage, rear window shading, seat heating and seat ventilation, integration of Microsoft Office 365 and Skype for Business, remote software upgrades, iPad controller.

Cost of ownership

Warranty: Two years/unlimited km

Maintenance plan: Five years/100,000km

Price: R2,828,791

Lease*: R60,696 per month

* at 10% interest over 60 months no deposit


BMW M760Li xDrive

WE LIKE: Digital sophistication, performance, luxury amenities

WE DISLIKE: Controversial frontal styling

VERDICT: Internet billionaire’s limo


Motor News star rating

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Competition

Mercedes-Benz S600L, 390kW/830Nm — R2,780,875