Sizzler Seven might ignite Kiwi interest

The title lacks punch – but the car itself has more than enough. But is the BMW’s fiery 7-Series flagship too much for our market?

IT’LL provide the fastest getaway for a Prime Minister on the run – yet a range-topping variant of the luxurious 7 Series, the car chosen by the Government as its official ministerial car, that can hit 100kmh in 3.9 seconds seems set to only reach New Zealand as a special import.

BMW New Zealand spokesman Ed Finn says he has no doubt there are some BMW drivers here who would be keen to cash into the as-yet-unpriced, but potentially set to be around $300,000 – if not more – M760Li xDrive V12.

 Germany announced the car over the weekend, on the eve of BMW NZ’s media drive of the less overt 3.0-litre twin turbo six-cylinder turbodiesel 740d and and a 4.4-litre V8 petrol 750i that have just gone on sale at $199,000 and $235,900 respectively.

“We’re not looking at it at the moment. We think the models we have just introduced are sufficient enough for our market.

“Also, we have a whole lot of other performance cars – perhaps different sorts of vehicles to this one – but still cars that people will also put their money on.

“That’s not to say we might not be able to get it for people who are very interested. But it is more likely to be an indent order as opposed to a mainstream offer.”

As for price? “we haven’t even studied that at the moment so I could not say.”

 Presenting 441kW and 800Nm from its twin-turbocharged 6.6-litre V12 engine, its an alter-ego to another variant of the biggest car Munich makes, a plug-in hybrid, that the brand is also about to unveil internationally.

Both the M760Li and 740e plug-in hybrid will debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month.

The M760’s astonishing sprint time makes it 1.8 and 0.8 seconds faster to the legal highway limit than the 740d and 750i, and several seconds quicker than the 730d diesel derivative that is now going into Government service but will not be available to the public here. All derivatives are limited to 250kmh.

The 730d differs from the 740d by having a single, rather than dual, turbocharged version of the 3.0-litre six, is rear rather than four-wheel-drive and is less plushly appointed than the showroom specification.

Nonetheless the Government’s order of 33 units (now being delivered), its third such deal, will capture the lion’s share of Seven sales this – or any – year, BMW NZ admits.

It sees itself putting just 100 examples of the car into private ownership during its entire model life; that’s around 15 units a year. The outgoing car achieved the same rate.

Why bother? “Because it is our technology flagship … we are expected to have it,” Finn said.

The M760 won’t just be about sheer oomph. BMW is talking up the “genuine sporting prowess” and suggests this version will be gazelle-like through the bends despite its obvious bulk.

That’s thanks in part to the xDrive four-wheel drive system – that provides even more of a rear-wheel bias for better handling than the 740d’s - as well as specifically tuned suspension and changes to the Dynamic Drive system.

It will sound fruitier, too, thanks to a new quad-exit exhaust system which feature valves which can open to enhance the sound.

Official fuel consumption is rated at 12.6 litres per kilometre combined, with CO2 emissions of 294 grams per km. The engine is connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission, which features M Performance-tuned software to provide “sportier” changes. Drivers can change gear manually using the wheel-mounted paddles.

Visual changes over the standard 7 Series include bespoke 20-inch alloy wheels and an M Performance body kit which includes subtly reprofiled bumpers front and rear. An optional rear spoiler is also available.

Upgrades to an already luxurious cabin include a new M Performance steering wheel, an illuminated V12 logo and M pedals.

It gets an extensive list of standard equipment, including adaptive LED headlights, keyless entry and start, electrically adjustable seats front and rear and wood trim and metallic highlights.

Rivals for this range-topping 7 Series conceivably include the $224,000 Audi S8 Plus, which features a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine with 382kW, and the 430kW Mercedes-AMG S63, also a V8.