BMW 760Li first drive

* We drive the 'green' super-saloon * BMW's most expensive road car * Costs from £94,440...

BMW 760Li first drive

The 760Li is BMW's most expensive road-going model, but it's also claimed to be the greenest twelve-cylinder around. We took it for a drive.

The car's all-new 6.0-litre V12 not related to the V12s used in the Rolls-Royce range, says BMW delivers 537bhp and a more than ample 553lb ft of torque. It's not ideal for the for-hire limo market, however: with fuel consumption officially slated at 21.7mpg and a carbon dioxide output of 303g/km, most chauffeurs are going to prefer the 730Ld at around two-thirds of the price.

This isn't about low running costs, however: 760Li buyers are after the ultimate BMW saloon experience, and this car is suitably opulent.

Its 'Li' tag denotes a 140mm stretch to the wheelbase, giving first-class rear legroom in the pair of reclining, electrically adjustable, heated armchairs, and its cabin is decked out with walnut trim, tactile alcantara headlining, deep-pile carpets, soft leather across the dashtop and nappa leather seat upholstery.

Digital radio and TV boost a top-quality entertainment/communications system.

On the road

Though firmly damped even in 'comfort' suspension mode and occasionally unsettled on rough surfaces, the ride is smooth, quiet and more refined than that of the lesser Sevens.

The 760Li's a smoothie all round: the direct-injection twin-turbo V12 is virtually silent unless you ask it for a high-rev howl, the new eight-speed automatic gearbox (a first for BMW) shifts barely perceptibly, and it's immensely civilised to drive given its potentially ruthless acceleration. Admire, because the days of cars like this are probably numbered.

Our verdict:
The ultimate BMW saloon this side of a Rolls-Royce.

BMW 760Li Price: £94,440-£96,590
On sale: September
You'll like: Super-smooth V12, sense of superiority
You won't: Price