We Performance-Test BMW's V-12 7 Series

CARS.COM — You’d expect BMW’s latest performance car to have two doors and a sleek roofline with a spec sheet reading 601 horsepower, zero-to-60 mph in 3.6 seconds and an engine with 12 cylinders and two turbochargers. The 2017 BMW M760i xDrive does not. Rather, it’s BMW’s biggest sedan. We took the M760i to the dragstrip to fully experience its excessive horsepower while testing zero-to-60 mph and quarter-mile acceleration.

Related: 2017 BMW 7 Series Video Review

The 601-hp, twin-turbocharged 6.6-liter V-12 moves the 5,128-pound behemoth at a speed that would make Newton himself rethink his silly laws. It’s 156 more horsepower than the next-most-powerful 750i. The secret to putting 601 hp to the ground without massive wheelspin is the M760i’s standard all-wheel drive (denoted by xDrive in the luxury sedan’s name). That, paired with launch control, helped the M760i reach 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and the quarter-mile in 11.4 seconds at 122.7 mph in our testing.

Launch control with the eight-speed automatic transmission is the key. To engage it, switch off traction control — then it’s as simple as flipping the M760i into its Sport driving mode and holding the brake, mashing the accelerator pedal until the engine revs rise to around 3,000 rpm and letting off the brake while remaining full bore on the accelerator. The M760i squeals its tires just a tad leaving the line but then rockets to 60 mph and continues full steam through the quarter-mile at 120-plus mph.

Fast four-doors are not uncommon in the realm of $130,000-plus super sedans like the M760i, which starts at $156,495 with destination and $1,700 gas guzzler tax. The Audi RS 7, Porsche Panamera Turbo and Tesla Model S P100D could all give the M760i a run for its money or blow its doors off (in the case of the 2.5-second-to-60 mph P100D).

It’s an unnatural feeling to be going that quickly in a car like the M760, partly because the M760 remains a 7 Series first and performance car second despite its brisk acceleration. Like other 7 Series models, the M760 has the opulence of a bespoke luxury sedan with rear lounging seats, some of the comfiest, sofa-like front seats in its class. It also features signature 7 Series technology, including the removable rear tablet and a multimedia system with gesture control.

BMW hasn’t uncorked the V-12’s exhaust very much, so the M760i remains stately. There isn’t a defining noise from the tailpipes — more of a whirl of mechanical noises than a distinctive or pleasurable engine song. The engine is quiet — almost too quiet for a performance car, but great for a luxury car.

The speeds recorded in the M760i are in a league with cars we’ve tested including the 707-hp Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and 2017 Nissan GT-R. The 2017 Nissan GT-R hit 60 mph in 3.3 seconds and ran through the quarter-mile in 11.3 seconds at 121.7 mph, while the Challenger Hellcat was 3.5 seconds to 60 mph and 11.3 seconds in the quarter-mile at 125.6 mph. With four doors, we ran as quickly as 11.0 seconds in the quarter-mile with the Charger SRT Hellcat. That’s not bad company as far as acceleration goes, but it takes a lot of moolah to get there in the peak of 7 Series opulence at as-tested $179,595 for our M760i. 

How We Conducted the Testing

All acceleration data was recorded at Great Lakes Dragaway in Union Grove, Wisc., with a RaceLogic VBOX II GPS data logger. Weather during our testing saw a high of 57 degrees. We used the drag strip’s method of measuring quarter-mile acceleration with a 1-foot rollout accounting for the distance a front wheel moves in the timing beam before rolling out of the beam and triggering the timing system, which is typically a few tenths faster than not including rollout. Zero-to-60-mph times were raw times from a standstill and do not include a 1-foot rollout.

 
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