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There's a certain automotive subset that is all but guaranteed to end up as a parade of chauffeur-mobiles for important individuals. The recently restyled 2020 BMW M760i is one of those cars, but the M in the name hints that this sedan should also be pretty rewarding for the lucky person who gets hired to pilot the thing.
The M760i is the best of both worlds. It's stellar for the driver, and it's stellar for the driven. Let's slide into the mindset of each to see what makes it so compelling.
Another early morning. The boss is expecting a prompt pickup at 7 a.m., giving him enough time to sneak into the office before the usual 8 a.m. conference call. The M760i is already clean, since I spent an hour last night vacuuming it out, and it needs to be -- every spot shows up on the white Merino leather ($4,000) and the piano-black trim ($1,080), and this executive is a particular one. I dip behind the wheel, tap the start button and listen to that V12 bark into existence.
The M760i's 6.6-liter, twin-turbocharged V12 is a real peach, and a dying art, to boot. Despite packing 600 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque, it's as smooth as the leather inside, the nose rising ever so slightly with a throttle push, effortlessly shoving this 5,100-pound sled to the horizon. Before the boss hops in, I take the opportunity to switch the drive mode and the eight-speed automatic transmission to Sport, the air suspension flattening body movements and combining with the steering and throttle to create a surprisingly rewarding experience that belies its curb weight. The V12 gets a little angrier sounding, too, throwing subtle burps from the exhaust as the head-up display blinks to remind me that speed limits do still exist. If I get a little too excited behind the wheel -- and who wouldn't, really -- the brakes are larger than my toddler's entire body and will bring the whole show to a stop with authority. There's grip for days in all situations, thanks to the standard Pirelli P-Zero summer tires (245/40R20 front, 275/35R20 rear).
I roll into the head honcho's driveway with about 10 minutes to spare. It's a tight driveway, but the parking sensors and surround-view camera ensure I never nick a wheel. I have just enough time to dive into the iDrive infotainment system's 10.25-inch touchscreen, heading right to the clever Caring Car program, selecting "Vitalize." It changes the climate control, ambient lighting and music to settings that BMW thinks will give me some energy for the day ahead. It's not coffee, but it helps.
As that perks me up, I dive into the BMW's navigation pane and lay out the route to the office using the iDrive knob on the center console. It's not my favorite way to add a destination, but it's quick enough when it's already stored on the hard drive. There's an accident on the usual route, but the suggested detour only adds a minute or two. Thankfully, this is one of the easier systems I've worked with, so I'm not stuck in menu hell as I would be with Mercedes-Benz's COMAND.
With a couple minutes until departure, I use my door switches to shuffle the M760i's front passenger seat forward, adding even more legroom for the boss. The sun is just starting to creep over the horizon, so I unfurl the electric side and rear sunshades with a hard press of a single button by the window switches. I'm already outside and standing at the rear door when the clock strikes 7 and, as always, the boss strides outside and says hello. Back to the driver's seat, and we're off.
The boss must think I know the route by heart, but I don't. In addition to receiving turn-by-turn directions through the head-up display, there's also a small permanent map in the middle of the 12.3-inch gauge cluster, which is super easy to glance at without pulling my eyes away from the road. I don't like that the roads aren't marked with names, rendering it useless when navigation isn't active, but it works. We land at the office early, I hop out to open his door, and now it's time for a break -- and a trip to the gas station. The M760i is a thirsty one, only occasionally reaching its EPA-estimated economy of 13 miles per gallon city and 20 mpg highway.
Another early morning. Despite my need to get to the office earlier than just about everyone else, my driver is always ready and waiting. That Aventurin Red Metallic paint shines in the hint of early morning sun; it was well worth the $1,950. I keep telling him he doesn't need to worry about sliding the front passenger seat forward since the rear legroom is measured in furlongs as it is, but he's an insistent one. Buckling myself into the rear seat, I immediately switch on the seat massager, one of the best I've ever experienced, trumping even my old Mercedes-Maybach S-Class.
It's still not entirely bright outside, which is my favorite time to get picked up, because then I can enjoy the tasteful smattering of ambient lighting in the cabin. I wish there were more colors available than the small number BMW offers, but it'll do. Upgrading the pair of sunroofs to their embedded-LED counterparts ($900) is a unique touch that always impresses other passengers.
The ride to work is the same as always, almost impossibly comfortable. The M760i's standard air suspension soaks up everything and returns a ride that feels more like gliding than driving. The laminated windows do a great job of keeping outside noise where it should be, with only a hint of rumble coming through the floor from the tires, and that really only happens at highway speeds.
Opting for the M760i's rear executive lounge seating ($5,750) is a must, as it gives me not only a footrest but also a table that deploys from the center armrest, which is great for getting work done on the commute. This package eliminates the front-passenger seat massager, which would be annoying if it were my personal car and not just my ride to the office. I recline the seat a bit, stretch my legs and relax my head against the cushy headrest pillow.
I don't like to think of myself as a micromanager, but it's innate. I'm always sneaking a casual glance at the seatback screen, which mirrors the main infotainment screen, giving me control over the music that's piped through the excellent 16-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound system ($3,400) and letting me glance at my estimated time of arrival without bothering my driver. My laptop is blocking that screen today, but that's fine because the center console also houses a small Samsung tablet tied to the infotainment system. It fits perfectly in my hand, but I usually just leave it in its dock and fiddle with it there.
Before I know it, I've landed at the office, feeling just as fresh as I did before the commute, if not a bit perkier. Work is long, but thinking about the ride home helps that time melt away.
Opting for the ultimate luxury ride seriously reduces the competition. The 2020 Audi S8 provides nearly the same power from its mild-hybrid V8 powertrain, and I prefer its infotainment system, but it's not on sale in the US just yet. The Mercedes-AMG S65 is probably the closest Merc comes to the M760i, while it's still on sale, as the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class' two trims are both significantly more expensive than the Bimmer, although the S650 is the only other way to get a V12 nowadays. The Lexus LS can get mighty fancy, as well, and for cheaper, but its tech is the pits.
The 2020 BMW M760i is something special -- as well it should be, with a base price of $157,700 and my tester ringing in at a house-like $173,795. It can be a surprisingly sharp performer, despite its size and heft, but it's most at home with everything in Comfort mode, rolling down the street like there's a permanent air gap between car and concrete. Whether you're the one doing the driving or not, it's a treat.