This year marks the 20th anniversary of when the James Bond movie “Tomorrow Never Dies” hit theaters. In Pierce Brosnan’s second outing as the legendary not-so-secret agent, 007 battles the media mogul Elliot Carver (played by Jonathan Pryce), who is determined to start a war between China and the UK, and gain exclusive broadcast rights in China in the process. In order to prevent Carver from succeeding, Bond partners with Chinese spy Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh) and uses the equipment MI6’s resident gadget master “Q” provides him. Bond’s Omega Seamaster contains a detonator. He can use his Ericsson mobile phone as a stun gun or a fingerprint scanner.
He also gets a very special BMW 750iL. The sleek and silver sedan has an extended wheelbase and goes long on power, too. As the flagship of the third-generation 7 Series, the 750iL has a massive 5.4-liter 12-cylinder engine under its hood.
Of course, being a Bond car, 007’s big-bodied BMW has a lot more than just a big engine. It’s jam-packed with weapons and gadgets to help him complete his mission.
Several weeks ago, BMW lent us a 2017 BMW M760i to review. It may not have had the fortifications and firepower that Bond’s 750iL had, but we didn’t have a problem with that. Our car had some gadgets of its own.
2017 BMW M760i Exterior
If you’ve never seen “Tomorrow Never Dies,” at least watch the car chase in it. It’s one of the most entertaining in the 55-year-old film franchise and a great showcase of the armor and artillery that Q’s engineers could fit into a car. To prevent heavies from getting inside, the 7’s exterior is electrified. A built-in tear gas system is ready to ward off even more persistent crooks. The roundel on the hood pops up to reveal a pair of rotating saw blades that can cut through thick metal cable. The tires can re-inflate after being punctured. To help clear a path ahead, the sunroof can fire a series of missiles.
That’s cool and all, but we’re fans of driving just for enjoyment, not survival. We liked that our test vehicle had a bold, large twin-kidney grille with active shutters to manage drag and airflow to the engine. Those 20-inch wheels? They looked like finely honed instruments of speed instead of just metal rings to wrap the performance run-flats around. The soft-close doors only needed a light swing to bring them to the point where they finished shutting themselves.
Our favorite exterior feature of our M760i loaner was a toss-up between its optional Frozen Dark Brown Metallic paintjob and the V12 badges on its C-pillars. For being so low-key, the matte paint certainly got attention everywhere we drove. It was stealth-like only in appearance, not in its effect on people around us. Those V12 badges were less subtle; they made no mystery about what was powering the car they were attached to.
2017 BMW M760i Interior
Compared to its exterior, Bond’s 750iL was light on interior gizmos. There was a safe in the glovebox for holding his Walther PPK and small valuables. Technically, you can count Bond’s Ericsson cell phone as an interior gadget because he uses it in the back seat of the 7 to steer the car away from heavily armed assailants.
Our 7 Series was geared more toward comfort and convenience than protection and puppetry. We didn’t have to take our eyes off the road to check our speed. We just looked at the part of the windshield right in front of our eyes to see the head-up display of how fast we were going and other bits of information. The front seats were ventilated and heated. Even the armrests were heated, just like the steering wheel. The driver’s seat also offered several different massages at three levels of intensity. A 10.2-inch touchscreen displayed the menus and settings for a variety of features, such as the navigation system and the 1,400-watt Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System. Gesture Control allowed us to just twirl a finger to the left or right to lower or raise the volume, respectively.
As great as the front row of the M760i was, its back row was its real party piece. That’s because our review vehicle was equipped with the optional Luxury Rear Seating and Rear Executive Lounge Seating Packages, which turned the M760i into a missile-powered limo for whomever was lucky enough to sit in the back passenger-side seat. A removable tablet between the two rear seats could open the side, rear, and overhead sunshades; change the color of the ambient lighting on the doors and in the elements embedded in the sunroof panels; release one of four scents from the optional Ambient Air Package; and move the passenger-side seat into its reclined sleep position. That slid and tilted the front passenger seat forward and caused a footrest to fold down from the back of it. On top of all of that, the executive lounge seat was heated (as well as the armrests), ventilated, and capable of massaging. Everyone who rode in it felt comfortable and relaxed – and like a big shot.
2017 BMW M760i Performance
BMW makes coupes, Sports Activity Vehicles, sedans, sports cars, and convertibles. You can get a 2, a 3, a 5, a 6, or a 7. However, only one Bimmer comes with a 12-cylinder engine: the M760i, the flagship of BMW’s flagship line. Whereas the V12 in Bond’s 750iL was a naturally aspirated 5.4-liter power plant, the V12 in our 7 was a massive 6.6-liter unit…pumped up with twin turbos. Output was an eye-popping 601 horsepower and 590 lbft of torque. An 8-speed, paddle-shiftable automatic and BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system translated those impressive numbers into shocking acceleration. BMW claims the M760i can go from completely still to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds. We believe them. We set the Driving Dynamics Control (DCC) to Sport, bumped the shifter to the left to engage its sport mode, then pushed the right pedal. Hard. The power was smooth and unrelenting, a wave of thick cream that we rode to line-blurring and law-bending speeds.
We also enjoyed driving the M760i at a more leisurely pace. The DCC’s Comfort setting smoothed out nearly every bump in the road. Its Comfort+ mode smoothed out the rest. (In this particular writer’s opinion, Comfort+ offered the best ride quality of any car I’ve ever tested.)
2017 BMW M760i Safety
Unlike 007, we didn’t need our 7 to have armor or deployable, tire-popping spikes to protect us. We had Adaptive brake lights that lit up brighter the harder we pushed the brake pedal, Active Front Headrests, front belts with automatic pretensioners, and an array of airbags that offered protection up front, high up, and on the sides. A 360-degree camera system and a backup camera gave us a clear view of what was around us and, most importantly, peace of mind.
2017 BMW M760i Overall
The 2017 BMW M760i has a base price of $156,700.* The one we were fortunate enough to review had a sticker price of $179,595. If you want to get one of the 601-horsepower super sedans and travel in even greater luxury than James Bond himself, you don’t have to fly to England and break into Q’s lab. All you have to do is go to an AutoNation-affiliated BMW dealership.
*MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.