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BMW M760Li confirmed for Australia

Lucky 7: It is not quite a pure M7, but the bonkers M760Li is the closest thing BMW has ever offered.

The time is right for an M-badge on a 7 Series: BMW


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20 Feb 2016

BMW has confirmed that its first 7 Series to wear the esteemed M colours in almost 40 years will be offered for sale in Australia, with the first examples of the monstrous Mercedes-AMG-bating 441kW V12 turbo limousine expected to arrive later this year.

While many hi-po BMW fans have welcomed the notion of an M-badged 7 Series, the move to introduce the M760Li xDrive is a back flip on the company's unofficial long-held principle that the high-performance brand does not match the 7 Series mantra.

When asked if the new flagship of the 7 Series range would make it Down Under, BMW Group Australia CEO Marc Werner replied “sure” and explained that, while finalisation was still underway, the company needed the model to fill an obvious gap in the local line-up.

“This is one car that has been missing in our product portfolio so far, and putting an M-badge on our flagship the 7 Series makes perfect sense,” he said.

Its current top-shelf 7 Series – the 4.4-litre 750Li can’t quite cut the mustard against Mercedes' mighty S65 AMG which has 6.0-litres at its disposal, but with a mammoth turbocharged 6.6-litre V12 and four-wheel drive, the 760Li is 0.4 seconds quicker from zero to 100km/h than the Merc, taking just 3.9s.

Audi's S8 Plus may only have a 4.0-litre V8 to play with, but produces 445kW and has a 0-100km/h dash of just 3.8s, but is matched on maximum speed by the BMW, which can top 305km/h.

With the 2016 7 Series, BMW is promoting it as a car that maintains the best in the company's luxury and comfort, but brings a new level of driving enjoyment to the range, and Mr Werner agreed “absolutely” that the fresh focus on vehicle dynamics has allowed the application of ‘M’ DNA.

“At the end of the day, each and every car that we will be launching is always going to be the ultimate driving machine and that also holds true with the new 7 Series.”

While BMW has resisted the mythical M7 for nearly four decades, Mr Werner explained that times have changed and developments in all technology will continue to allow the company to breach new ground, introducing previously unimaginable models along the way.

“We have always raised our hands for bringing this kind of car. We look forward and not backwards and it's available now.”

Other examples of the reversal of engrained BMW practices include the introduction of its first turbocharged M-car – the X5 M in 2010, and the 2 Series Active Tourer which was the first BMW to adopt front-wheel drive in nearly 100 years.

Until now, the closest thing to an M7 that high-performance BMW 7 Series advocates could get their hands on was the B7 Bi-Turbo, which is a tuned-up version of the model, performed by BMW-backed specialist Alpina.

With easily the largest engine in its class but power and torque figures in the same region as its key rivals, BMW is likely to have bought itself some wriggle room, and could turn up the taps of its big V12 for a special edition or update just as Audi did with the S8 when it added the Plus variant.

Such fettling could take the big BMW beyond its 441kW and 800Nm, while more conspicuous bodykits could push the 7 Series ever closer to the forging of the first M7 badge.

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