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This is BMW's new 600bhp M760Li XDrive

BMW unleashes performance Seven that'll do 0-62mph in 3.9s

You know that BMW M7 that BMW definitely doesn’t make? Well it still doesn’t. Because it makes the M760Li XDrive instead.

You thought that B7 Alpina was a bit of an animal? Well guess what - the new M760iL XDrive (don’t call it an M7) hacks out 600bhp and 590b ft from a 6.6-litre twin-turbo ‘TwinPower’ V12. That gives a 0-62mph time of 3.9 seconds and 155mph (limited) top speed. A bit like that Big Alpina.

But lets not get into a comparison fight, because the official flagship Seven promises to be quite a thing. That silky all-aluminium V12 is tweaked by ‘M-Performance’  - note, not ‘M-Power’, which is a separate entity - and uses one monoscroll blower per bank of six cylinders.

Mounted outside each bank, they breathe intercooled air and benefit from BMW’s usual Double-VANOS variable valve timing and ‘High Precision’ fuel injection. BMW says this allows for a higher compression ratio and contributes a good deal to throttle response and reasonable fuel and C02 figures: 22.4mpg combined and 294g/km are pretty good for an engine of this type.

The prodigious torque is transmitted to the ground via an 8-speed auto with paddles and XDrive four-wheel drive with a defined rear-bias, a system that is no doubt the reason the M760Li can accelerate in quite so startling a fashion. Under 4 seconds to 62mph for a luxury limo is…. somewhat eye-widening. As is the fact that the thing has launch control as standard. And you’ll hear it coming this time too, with a quad-exit active-flap exhaust increasing the volume depending on the effort expended.

Suspension is the same ‘Executive Drive Pro’ suite as on the standard 7-series, uprated for the M-Performance variant. So you get air springs with Dynamic Damper Control and Dynamic Drive to reduce roll and increase comfort, or tighten things up when you need to fling yourself down a backlane. It also features cameras that actively scan the road ahead and precondition the suspension settings, meaning speed bumps suddenly feel very, very remote.

So it’s quick, but also subtle. Ok, so the wheels look like they might be a nightmare to keep clean (buyers will no doubt have people to deal with that sort of thing), but apart from a subtle aero package - front intakes, rear apron and exhaust, optional rear winglet - you’d struggle to tell it apart from its less bahnstorming brethren. There may be M badges on the front wings and subtle V12 emblems on the C-pillars, but a shouty car this is not.

There’s even a version called the BMW M760Li xDrive V12 Excellence Design (see gallery below) that leans even further towards the low-key, trading the M-Performance bits for a quieter exhaust and a bit more chrome. Just check out the length of that shiny hockey stick between the front and rear wheels…

Unsurprisingly, the inside gets a few bits’n’bobs as well and manages to remain just this side of good taste. The list is long and includes as some of the highlights: adaptive LED headlights with anti-dazzle High-beam assistant, keyless Comfort Access, rain sensors and Dynamic safety, electric Comfort seats at the front and rear, BMW Gesture control and enough Merino leather to re-skin a herd.

There’s also the full array of BMW ConnectedDrive gubbins, including the latest-generation Professional Multimedia with massive high-res colour touchscreen and iDrive. Even with all the standard kit, the options list is both extensive and expensive, as you might expect. Just how expensive is still open to question, as we’ll get final pricing nearer to the on-sale date late 2016.

The ultimate fast luxury barge? Well, the Alpina B7, Audi S8 Plus and Mercedes Benz S65 AMG might have something to say about that. Anyone got a continent spare we can use for the group test?

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