We’ve driven this new BMW M760Li xDrive as it should be driven and as one would assume many prospective buyers might: a full 700-mile international slog from Megeve in the French Alps back to Blighty. The car borrows the 6.6-litre twin-turbo V12 from the Rolls-Royce Wraith. Although the engine has been detuned slightly, its 601bhp and 5901b ft wouldn’t look out of place in a supercar. Indeed, this is currently the fastest-accelerating model BMW produces, bar none.
Predictably, the pace is epic: away from autoroute toll booths the raw acceleration is fearsome, but beyond the attack of g-forces the power delivery is progressive and utterly manageable. The big V12 is the epitome of smoothness at id le and remains that way during relaxed driving. Ratchet it up to Sport mode and the exhaust emits a little more parp, but it’s never unruly. Don’t think for a moment that it’s boring, though. Switch off the traction control and the rear-biased xDrive system lets you hang the tail out on this two-tonne-plus car with ease.
And with standard four-wheel steering and active anti-roll bars, plus M Sport-tuned adaptive suspension, it’s quite bizarre how quickly this big 7 Series shrink-wraps around you as you scythe through the countryside. It’s comfortable, too. Blasting along France’s autoroutes, cocooned in well-appointed luxury while receiving a gentle pummelling from the massage seats, it simply eats up miles with the detached serenity of a Eurostar train.
On this side of the Channel there is more fidget, a little more roar from the fat 20in tyres and dull thuds through the cabin over sharp-edged intrusions, but these aren’t the M760Li’s failings as much as they are those of our crumbling roads, and any rival on similar rubber would also suffer. As a car for crossing large distances in total comfort, the M760Li xDrive is a gem.
But what’s so impressive is that if the roads are treacherous en route to your destination, it’ll cope, and if the roads are a treat, it’ll delight. Next to the £188,550 Mercedes-AMG S65 it’s a bargain, too, and although it can’t quite match its rival for outright comfort or kerb appeal, it’s easily the more engaging car to drive.