Bad BMWs occasionally darken my driveway, snarling and hissing through oversized exhausts like warnings from a cave.
I know I’ll be rolling on wheels of evil, wrestling with cantankerous beasts that deliver sublime mechanical violence – usually in the form of some fat-tired M2 or M3.
They generally ride like half-empty cement trucks and roar incessantly, howling through corners faster than a fleeting thought.
Most of the time, I’m half-deaf and walk with a limp after driving one, but it hurts so good.
So, I didn’t know what to expect from the strange 2017 BMW M760i, a stretched $175,000 Daddy-Warbucks cruiser that arrived wearing what appeared to be a nice coat of flat dark-gray primer.
Say what? It also offered a sumptuous off-white leather interior and a turbocharged 600-horsepower V-12 engine that can match a Dodge Charger Hellcat in acceleration. Seriously.
That was just the start.
As you probably know, BMW has struggled some in recent years, contending with falling sales and harsh reviews from magazines that once adored it, but through it all, stiff-lipped, self-confident BMW kept building blistering engines.
The German automaker may have lost some of its touch with steering and handling, but it knows how to produce motors that are nothing short of lightning in an aluminum box.
Initially, though, I was so distracted by the 760’s unusual exterior that I kind of lost sight of its nuclear-reactor 6.6-liter engine.
The polarizing “paint” – which evoked images of a half-finished hot rod from the ‘50s – just didn’t seem quite right on a six-figure luxo-barge whose immense back seat could swallow the biggest of men.
At least Bimmer got most of the lines right beneath that paint, called “frozen dark-brown metallic” for some reason.
Familiar kidney-bean grilles and fierce-looking headlamps, for example, glowered above large lower-air grilles.
Meanwhile, a really long, slightly raised hood hinted at the long-legged marvel beneath it and kind of complemented the sedan’s enormous doors.
Although some auto writers have criticized BMW’s conservative styling, the 760 looked fairly lean and taut to me – as tight as you can probably get on a 5,200-pound door-slammer.
Mostly flat on the sides, the Bimmer drew some muscle from a strong character line through the door-handles.
It also sported small vents behind the front wheels that flowed elegantly down into slender pieces of brushed-aluminum trim above the rocker panels.
Everything rolled on 20-inch gray-and-alloy wheels wearing 245/40 tires up front and 275/35s in back – generally some pretty serious meats.
Oddly, though, they seemed kind of small because of the 760’s long 126.4-inch wheelbase – the one exterior proportion that looked excessive to me.
I got over that in a little more than 3 seconds – about the time it takes the muscular V-12 to push the big 7-series to 60 mph.
Of course, with a window sticker higher than some middle-class homes, the 760 had better also radiate refinement and polish – and it does.
As you probably know, V-12 engines are inherently well-balanced and BMW’s version is so silent and smooth at idle you could pass the car off as an electric.
However, it doesn’t take but a second for the 760 to shed its tux for a black-leather jacket.
Push moderately into the accelerator and the BMW responds with torque-rich, pavement-inhaling acceleration – as well as a lusty, slightly muted growl.
Hit it really hard and you will pin everyone to their soft white leather seats, eliciting multiple exclamations of “holy (expletive)!”
Sixty-mph arrives in an extremely fleet 3.4 seconds, Car and Driver estimates, and 100 mph takes less than 8 seconds from a standing start.
To put that into perspective, the 2017 BMW M760i can accelerate to 60 a full half-second faster than a new Corvette Grand Sport. No wonder my neck hurts.
The Bimmer’s silky 8-speed automatic was just about as impressive, holding the engine in a lower gear approaching corners and happy to let the silent-assassin V-12 run loose to 6,500 rpm.
Of course, if you do that often, you won’t achieve even the measly 13 miles per gallon that the 760 is supposed to hit in town. I promise you won’t care.
Although the cars ride tended to be German-firm, it felt fluid and comfortable on most surfaces with lots of well-controlled wheel-travel.
Moreover, the hefty sedan could also contend nicely with corners, clawing through them flatly with lots of all-wheel-drive grip.
Even the steering seemed reasonable – a bit numb, perhaps, but so quick it made the 760 feel a thousand pounds lighter.
I’d happily drive this car to California – in record time.
No one would complain about their seats. The broad black-leather dashboard in the 760 sort of set the tone, flashing white stitching on its soft edges and flowing gracefully down to a mid-dash in off-white.
The mid-dash nicely matched the sedan’s broad white console and padded door centers.
Its off-white leather seats, meanwhile, featured perforated, quilted centers and enough legroom for me to sit in back comfortably with a cooler of something exotic in front of my feet.
As you would expect, the 2017 BMW M760i also offered a full cabin of nannies, including active cruise control, traffic-jam assistant and lane-departure assistance.
Look, I think BMW deserves much of the criticism it has attracted by jumping into every upscale segment it can find, often with vehicles that don’t feel fully developed, but BMW demonstrates with the 760 that it can still build distinctive, awe-inspiring Autobahn-burners.
2017 BMW M760i xDrive
- What I liked most: The car’s super-sophisticated, all-world performance.
- What I would change: Try to make the car’s clumsy length look more proportional.
- MSRP: Base price, $153,800. As equipped, $175,595.
- Fuel economy: Rated at 13 mpg in town, 20 mpg on the highway and 16 overall, with filler on the right side.
- Official color: Frozen Dark Brown Metallic.
- Odometer reading when tested: 3,831 miles.
- Weight: Estimated 5,250 pounds.
- Length-width-height: 206.2 inches long/74.9 inches wide/58.2 inches tall.
- Fuel-tank capacity: 20.6 gallons.
- Towing capacity: Not available.
- 2017 BMW M760i in a few words: A car with so many capabilities it almost justifies its lofty price.
- Warranty: Four years, 50,000 miles.
- Final assembly location: Dingolfing, Germany.
- Manufacturer’s website: BMW