Following the debut of BMW's redesigned V-8-powered flagship 745i sedan in 2002, a rear-wheel-drive 760Li companion with a V-12 engine arrived during the 2003 model year. Loaded with technical advances, the 6.0-liter V-12 develops 438 horsepower.
Both the long-wheelbase 760Li and a standard-length 760i sedan are available for 2005. Standard adaptive headlights move with the front wheels to enhance night vision through curves. A Rear Entertainment System with a six-DVD changer and an iDrive controller and a Comfort Access system with keyless entry, exit and operation, are new options.
The six-speed adaptive automatic transmission uses shift-by-wire technology and is controlled with a selector behind the steering wheel. Manual gear changes can be made.
BMW's iDrive system places access to the most-used controls via a rotary dial between the front seats. An electronic parking brake is used, and available Active Cruise Control can maintain a set distance from the vehicle ahead. "We actually don't want to sell a car to a person who has no interest in technology," said Tom Purves, chairman and chief executive officer of BMW North America.
The 760's styling is virtually identical to that of the 745, which has been praised by some for its freshness yet faulted by others � especially for the rear-end's shape. Design elements follow BMW tradition and include the familiar twin-kidney grille, four headlights and a reverse kink in the C-pillar. Noticeable styling touches on the 760Li include extra-wide rear doors, chrome-plated roof strips and chrome inserts in the bumpers.
Bi-xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights operate with both high and low beams. An "eyebrow" turn signal appears above each headlight cluster, and a high-pressure headlight cleaning system is installed.
Built on a 123.2-inch wheelbase, the 760Li stretches to 203.5 inches long overall, versus 117.7 and 198 inches for the 760i sedan. An aluminum suspension with Active Roll Stabilization is intended to reduce body roll. The self-leveling rear suspension uses air springs.
Like the V-8-powered 745, the 760 seats up to five occupants. Because the 760Li has a longer wheelbase, backseat occupants enjoy an additional 5.5 inches of legroom for limousinelike accommodations. Its wider door openings ease entry and exit. The door openings are infinitely variable rather than fitted with specific stops.
The 760Li can be equipped with optional, separate automatic air conditioning and a cooling box for beverages. An electronically controlled sunblind for the rear window and a Logic7 stereo system are standard. Sirius Satellite Radio is optional.
Under the Hood
BMW's 6.0-liter aluminum V-12 produces 438 hp and teams with an adaptive six-speed-automatic transmission that includes a manual-shift provision.
Antilock brakes, side-impact airbags for the front seats and BMW's Head Protection System are standard. Knee airbags for front occupants are also installed. Rear-seat side-impact airbags are offered as an option. BMW's automatic parking brake feature prevents rolling in stop-and-go traffic.