They say the car makes the man. Although I personally think you can drive anything and still be yourself, it’s true that what you drive can say a lot about who you are in many cases. For instance, in the lofty realm of corporate alpha dogs, cars are seen as an effective way of announcing oneself. But at that level, it could also be a challenge to choose the right set of wheels that will proclaim to the world how good life has been to you and how very different you are from the rest, as there aren’t too many choices apart from the Bentleys and the Rolls-Royces in the upper rung and the S-Classes, the 7 Series, the A8s and the XJs a notch below. But even if you pick one of these limos, unless yours is heavily individualised, there’s a risk of it not standing out at the golf club parking lot.
It’s a decision that can prove more nerve-wracking than the toughest ones taken in the boardroom. It’s at these individuals who find themselves at the end of the limousine-buying-decision rope that BMW has aimed its special V12 25 Years Edition 760Li, a tribute to the 1987 7 Series that debuted the V12 engine.
Well, be warned, at first glance this might not seem the best choice if you want to tell the world you’re driving something special. Even in this very special limited-edition guise, there isn’t much externally to distinguish the 760Li from a lesser 7 Series, except for the chrome V12 strips on either side, the 760Li badge on the boot and the quad exhausts. But swing open the vault-like doors to be surprised by the exceptionally luxurious cabin that’s been lavished with fine-grained Merino leather upholstery in champagne tastefully accented by contrasting black piping. The craftsmanship and attention to detail in the cabin are right up there with the best in the industry, and but for the characteristic BMW design and features, you could well be fooled into believing you’re inside a Rolls-Royce.
Adding further distinctiveness is the BMW Individual interior trim in piano black and prominent V12 lettering on the headrests, the iDrive knob and the door sills. If you prefer being chauffeur-driven, the rear offers space and comfort that knocks first-class airline seats, while footrests under the front seats give you that familiar feeling of having the world under your feet.
However, as appealing as this option seems, it would be a deplorable waste of your money if you didn’t try taking the wheel yourself, as you’d be missing out on the best feature of the car — the astounding performance of the twin-turbocharged, 6.0-litre V12 that sends 535 horses and a mammoth 750Nm of torque through the eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox to the rear wheels.
For a turbocharged lump, the V12’s response is instantaneous, with not even a feeble hiss audible inside that hints at forced induction. The 760Li tears away from a stop with potentially neck-snapping speed — BMW claims 0-100kph in 4.7 seconds, and I have no reason to disbelieve it — with the head-up display showing three-digit speeds seemingly at the blink of an eye. But what amazes me is the calm, graceful bearing the 760Li manages to keep even at such great speeds. The silky smooth manner in which it gathers pace and glides over even the coarsest of tarmacs in Comfort mode is reminiscent of the Rolls-Royce Ghost.
That’s just why the 760Li will surprise you when you chuck it into a bend in Sport or Sport+ by revealing a sort of agility that gives the lie to its substantial weight. Steering is precise and perfectly weighted and is as much a delight to pilot as a Jaguar XJ Supersport and way better than the new Maserati Quattroporte’s. But all this comes at a premium. My test car retails for a whopping Dh695,000, which includes a Dh7,500 Alpina front lip and a Dh4,500 boot lip.
At this point, if you’re wondering why you should pay so much more money for this special edition when the regular 760Li or even the V8-powered 750Li would give you the same driving experience, then this car is clearly not for you. And unless you’re someone like Ingvar Kamprad, who drives a 1993 Volvo 240 estate despite having a few billion dollars at his disposal, it’s very likely that you, like us here at wheels, aren’t anywhere close to the top in the socio-financial pecking order. But if you think it’s worth the money, then be quick, as only seven of these are coming to the UAE thanks to Abu Dhabi Motors.
Isn’t that something worth a casual mention after a tee shot?