BMW M760Li xDrive: Beemer's biggest and boldest
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If you see the new BMW M760Li xDrive Performance limousine in your neighbours' driveway, maybe you should ask whether they are Lotto winners.
It is, after all, the most powerful and most expensive BMW offered for sale in New Zealand.
There is only one M760Li xDrive M Performance limousine in the country and, as Driven found out last week, it is big in every respect.
At $347,000 the limousine easily eclipses the price of the German marque's I8 plug-in hybrid supercar, which sells for $281,200. However, it travels from zero to 100km/h in just 3.7 seconds, compared with the I8's 4.4 seconds.
Much of the M760Li xDrive's value is hidden beneath the bonnet and underneath the car, where the 12-cylinder 6.5-litre engine throbs smoothly and effortlessly, and where BMW's xDrive four-wheel-drive wizardry operates. The engine puts out 448kW of power and a full 800Nm of torque. The engine is coupled with an eight-speed sport automatic gearbox.
The result is that this huge limousine reaches the open-road speed limit not only quickly, with the immense power transferring efficiently to the road, but with all the confidence and assurance that BMW's sophisticated technology can deliver.
Although the sedan is a full 6m long, and weighs a full 2.4 tonnes, it is a driver's car. And any chauffeur lucky enough to be spending his or her working day or night behind the wheel, will enjoy the experience.
There is an almost instant response when you press the accelerator, so getting away quickly at the lights is a breeze.
Behind the wheel there is no sense you are driving such a long, large, wide and heavy sedan. Rather the 760Li feels nimble, especially in dense city traffic.
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The car has the usual driver aids such as lane assist, park distance control and surround view cameras and sensors, which all help avoid getting into trouble on the road.
Parking is not a problem either, even if the space is tight - the car can be closed and one of the two remote devices can be used to manoeuvre it into the parking space. The car will back into the park as far as it considers is safe, so there is no concern it will touch the rear wall.
It is inside that the M760 that the true opulence becomes obvious, whether you're sitting on the massaging front seats driving, or stretching out in the lie-back seats in the cavernous rear.
The upholstery is hardly practical in stormtrooper white, but the huge doors help make it easier to get in and out of the back.
When the doors are opened in the dark, the car throws down a lit-up "carpet" to guide the way.
There is a panorama glass roof is above both the front and rear seats. At night, this also lights up to create a special mood in the cabin.
The rear seats can be tilted back in the way that business-class seats on aircraft operate. And, on the back of the front seats, two foot rests fold down at the press of a button.
Between the two rear seats (each is like an armchair) is a wide leather central armrest, with a removable mobile tablet fitted. There is even that relic from the past, pull-out ash trays, on the rear doors.
Between the seat backs is a Champagne fridge which sits discreetly behind a powered leather facade. The fridge intrudes into the huge boot but can be removed should the space be needed for more mundane or practical items.
There is no plastic visible inside the M760Li -- all the buttons and dials are made of ceramics.
Limousines are a relatively rare species on New Zealand roads, where the vast majority of car buyers drive rather than being driven by a hired hand.
In Australia, a significant proportion of BMW 7-Series sold are long-wheelbase models, but here there are few limousine fleets -- the ministerial and Government VIP fleet being the obvious exception.
But even those long-wheelbase 7-Series models are nothing like the M760Li in terms of creature comforts and sheer power.
Whereas the baseline BMW 740dxDrive model sells here for just over $202,000, the top of the range M760Li xDrive M performance model we drove sells for $347,000.
So this is a 7-Series for the buyer who wants the best of everything, and for whom price is no object.
BMW NZ will sell only a handful of these ultra-luxury versions of the 7-Series, so they will always be a rare breed here.