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BMW 760i

Broadcast date : 24th September 2006

When it first appeared at Frankfurt in 2001, even devoted BMW fans were shocked at the 7 Series appearance. But, in this case, familiarity breeds content.

And the latest addition to the range here in South Africa is the best-looking version of a car we’ve come to respect.

It’s in the detailing that the 760i has made the greatest strides. The combination of less metal between the wheels on the short-wheel-base version, and exquisite alloys with low profile tyres have given the car a sense of proportion that was previously lacking.

And let’s face it, if you’re going to spend over a million on a car, it needs to look like a mobile sculpture.

The boot can swallow nearly 400 litres of luggage, and also houses some of the vital systems for this electronic marvel, including navigation equipment. It also sports full-size alloy spare wheel, adding peace of mind.

The V12 badge will cost you some R200 000 more than if you’d settled for the 750i, but in this market, the rationale seems to be, "it’s because I can". Afford it, that is.

Of course, the svelte V12 model represents the ultimate in the BMW power play.

BMW are proud of the fact that their V12 engine is normally aspirated, and doesn’t rely on turbos or superchargers to produce a walloping 327 kilo Watts.

As for the legendary smoothness of a V12, yes, the BMW has this in abundance, although perhaps the engine lacks some of the character of its V8 sibling.

There’s none of the muted roar you get from the V8 as you race to 100 in 5,5 seconds and a limited top speed of 250 km/h – on your own private air strip, of course.

Five years on from its Frankfurt debut we have grown used to the cabin’s architectural stance, complete with

I-Drive to minimise the amount of knobs and buttons, and still accommodate a vast array of both comfort and dynamic options.

Air suspension, body-levelling cornering compensation, and a rather fiddly indicator-stalk-like transmission-lever are all there.

And it’s interesting that the latest Mercedes S Class now has similar versions of many of these features, proving, after all, that BMW was on the right track back in 2005.

This is one of the world’s great luxury sedans, easily able to match the likes of Rolls Royce, Bentley and Maybach in terms of fit and finish and the top-quality materials used.

A rather surprising feature of the 760i short-wheel-base version, however, is that the centre fold-down portion of the seat backrest, which contains some infotainment controls, is devilishly uncomfortable to rest against, making this, in effect, only a four-seater.

BMW 760i
  • Engine: V12 petrol, 5 972 cc
  • Power: 327 kW @ 6 000 rpm
  • Torque: 600 Nm @ 3 950 rpm
  • Transmission: Six-speed automatic, rear-wheel-drive
  • 0-100 km/h: 5,3 seconds (claimed)
  • Top speed: 250 km/h (limited)
  • Fuel consumption: 18,0 litres/100 km (estimated)
  • Price: R1 018 000

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