My friend's reaction was immediate.

"Ninety-two thousand dollars? I'd be scared to drive it."

His loss. For, when it comes to an executive shuttle, there are few cars finer than the BMW 750iL.

That L stands for long wheelbase -- in this case 120.9 inches. Add in an overall length of 201.7 inches and 4,553 pounds of curb weight and you have a rather substantial automobile.

The "base" 740iL comes equipped with a double overhead cam V-8. The 750iL loses a camshaft but gains four extra cylinders. The result is 322 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 361 pound-feet of torque at 3,900 rpm from a 5.4-liter V-12. This is good for a 0-60 sprint of 6.7 seconds. To say this big boy is fast is an understatement. It also is only half of the story.

Like any 12-cylinder car throughout history, this car has a smooth, unruffled demeanor. The speed (along with the likelihood of tickets) just keeps coming. The capability of this car will far exceed any driver's willingness to use it. Top speed is electronically limited to 128 mph, but it feels like it will go faster. Putting all this power to the ground is a ZF five-speed automatic transmission. Shifts go unnoticed and the transmission always seems to be just where you'd like it to be. Give a tip of the hat to the Adaptive Transmission Control. ATC automatically tracks the type of driving style and selects the appropriate gear.

Handling and braking are equally outstanding. Even in a car this large, the BMW is fun to drive. Striking a good balance between road feel and luxury insulation, this big fella always seems up to the task. There's no body lean when cornering, which is accomplished with the help of Dynamic Stability Control. DSC uses a steering-wheel angle sensor and a cornering-force sensor to detect understeer or oversteer, as well as the sensors at the front wheels. Despite the technology, with all this power in a rear-drive chassis, caution is called for when it gets wet.This car can still slip easily.

One of the most unusual items is a Parking Distance Control, which uses eight ultrasonic sensors to warn when you're parking too close to something.

If you think that's a lot of technology just to drive to Laneco, you're right. But it's easy to get used to. This impression is backed up by the cockpit, with a console festooned with row upon row of buttons and readouts.

One display controls your audio functions, on-board computer and cellular phone options. The 440-watt, 14-speaker audio system is outstanding, with AM/FM/cassette/CD/weather band functions and three pre-set acoustical environments. It also has redundant steering wheel controls. The climate controls are easy to operate and have different settings for driver and passenger.

Despite all the technology in the center console, everyone is well taken care of. The front bucket seats are supportive, and it takes many long hours behind the wheel before fatigue sets in. The rear seat is truly luxurious, with so much foot room that footrests are provided. Also unique is the seat back angle adjustment for the rear seats. Separate climate controls are included, as are rear shades to ensure your privacy.

Protecting your investment in fine motoring is an arsenal of security features. The car is double locked -- if a thief breaks in, he can't unlock the doors. The ignition key has an ever-changing random coding to prevent another key from starting the car. Along with the alarm system is an interior motion detector, to protect the interior of the car while it's locked from car thieves.

The saddest thing about this fine automobile is its exclusivity. Those who can afford it can afford a chauffeur to drive it. Few owners will get the privilege of piloting this ultimate driving machine.

Too bad. Neither they, nor my frightened friend, will know what they're missing.

BMW 750IL Standard: 5.4-liter single overhead cam V-12, five-s eed automatic transmission, anti-lock disc brakes, metallic paint, leather upholstery, cruise control, fog lamps, heated front seats, on-board computer, All Season Traction, Dynamic Stability Control, Cold Weather Package (headlight cleaning system, heated front and rear seats, heated steering wheel, ski bag), self-leveling suspension, power moonroof, premium audio system, rear sun shades, cellular phone, parking distance control Options: None available Base price: $90,300 Gas guzzler tax: $1,700 As tested: $92,570 EPA rating: 15 mpg city, 20 mpg highway