2017 BMW M760i xDrive First Impression | Edmunds

2017 BMW M760i xDrive First Impression

A Glorious Blend of Opulence and Performance

The 7 Series is BMW's top-of-the-line flagship luxury sedan, and at the top of this lineup sits the all-new 2017 BMW M760i xDrive. Simply put, it's the ultimate version of the company's ultimate model. For those familiar with BMW's model history, the alphanumeric jumble of a name should raise eyebrows on its own.

The "M" signifies BMW's motorsports division had a hand in the vehicle's development. The "60" denotes a V12 engine. The "xDrive" part simply indicates that it has BMW's latest all-wheel-drive system. Put together, the name suggests a sporty and powerful sedan with all-weather capability. After experiencing it firsthand, we can say the BMW M760i xDrive lives up to its name and expectations.

2017 BMW M760i xDrive

Is the M760i Really Necessary?
There's nothing ordinary about the standard BMW 7 Series sedans known as the 740i and 750i. The six-cylinder 740i will easily satisfy the vast majority of drivers while the eight-cylinder 750i will likely exceed expectations. The M760i's 6.6-liter V12 could then be considered overkill, but it's designed to appeal to the rare driver who thinks too much is just enough.

BMW estimates the M760i — with 601 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque — will accelerate to 60 mph in a scant 3.7 seconds, compared to the 750i's confirmed time of 4.5 seconds. That's an impressive result for a sports car, let alone an imposing luxury sedan that pushes the scale past 5,100 pounds.

Is this necessary? No, but at this level of wealth and luxury, one-upmanship is a strong component of the package, even if the driver never explores its full potential. It's a full house in the high-stakes luxury sedan poker game, and the price of admission starts at $155,000.

2017 BMW M760i xDrive

How Fast Does It Feel?
The BMW M760i's considerable tonnage melts away as soon as you prod the throttle and it becomes a distant memory when cornering. Our introduction to the M760i began with a decent amount of time on a racetrack, which seemed unnecessary for this type of car, but not entirely unjustified.

Acceleration is smooth and seemingly unstoppable as the eight-speed transmission seamlessly grabs the next gear. At no point does the V12 feel taxed. Switch to the Sport+ drive mode, engage launch control by standing on the brake with one foot and stomping on the gas with the other, and you're helplessly pinned to the seat when you release the brakes. There's no tire squeal or the need for steering intervention. It just goes.

The M760i also hustles through the corners with the kind of confidence that defies expectations for such a big and heavy sedan. It's an engineering feat accomplished with a smart distribution of power to the front or rear wheels as needed and is mostly imperceptible until you edge closer to the limits of handling. More noticeable is the rear-wheel steering system that helps the M760i carve through turns with a level of precision that's remarkable for a sedan of its size.

Obviously, track credentials won't be a significant factor for the typical buyer, but this kind of handling mastery certainly applies to those pulse-quickening moments when you need to take evasive maneuvers on public roads.

2017 BMW M760i xDrive

What About Luxury?
Don't think for a second that the M760i's performance comes at the expense of comfort. In the softer Comfort drive setting, the ride quality is as compliant as you'd expect from any premium luxury sedan. After our time on track, we were caught in a torrential desert downpour, but we were insulated from the deplorable conditions in a silent cocoon of leather and wood.

As good as the M760i is from the behind the wheel, the most comfortable spot is actually behind the front passenger, provided you shell out for the $7,500 Executive Lounge Seating package. Included are power recline adjustments, a power footrest, a large center console with a fold-out table, an entertainment system and massage functions. It's as decadent as it sounds.

Elsewhere in the cabin, passengers are surrounded by impeccable materials and a long list of high-tech features. The silver metallic buttons leave a decidedly upmarket impression and are logically placed for easy operation. In an effort to reduce the clutter of buttons, many functions are controlled through BMW's iDrive control knob, which has evolved into one of the better units out there. By the very nature of the numerous functions controlled, iDrive may take some getting used to, but most of the basics are easily mastered.

The Competition
When it comes to performance-enhanced premium luxury sedans such as the 2017 BMW M760i xDrive, the $150,000 question of "Which do I choose?" isn't easy. Both the Audi S8 and the Mercedes-Benz AMG S 63 sedan offer similar levels of performance and luxury along with their own unique twist on the idea of the full-size luxury sedan. And if you want to get even more extreme, there's always the Bentley Flying Spur or the Porsche Panamera Turbo. All will get you where you're going; it's just a matter of how much fun you want to have along the way.

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