2023 BMW 760i xDrive Review: Don’t Judge This Book by That Cover
It’s not pretty, but it’s easily the most luxurious and best-driving sedan this side of Rolls-Royceland.
Few production cars have contributed to the world of automotive design like the BMW 7 Series has since 1977. Of course, by “contributed” I mean caused controversy and, for better or worse, been the subject of polarizing opinions. The all-new 2023 BMW 760i lives up to that reputation, breaking into the scene with an edgy exterior, an ultra-modern cabin, and some seriously cool gadgets.
For the seventh generation of its flagship sedan, BMW set out to overhaul the entire concept of its luxury icon. I often talk about how automakers opt to fine-tune the wheel rather than reinvent it, but this isn’t one of those times. The new G70 7 Series is a whole new wheel and then some, with the 760i looking and feeling completely different from its predecessors.
While some may be put off by BMW’s design language for the new 7 Series sedan and X7 SUV, it’s worth remembering that looking at a car is only half the experience. The other half—admittedly the best one—is driving it. And folks, when you do so, you might quickly forget about the unpleasant looks.
|2023 BMW 760i xDrive Review Specs|
|Base Price (as tested)||$114,595 ($159,845)|
|Powertrain||4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 | 48-volt mild hybrid | 8-speed automatic | all-wheel drive|
|Horsepower||536 @ 5,200 to 6,500 rpm|
|Torque||553 lb-ft @ 1,800 to 5,000 rpm|
|Curb Weight||4,969 pounds|
|Cargo Volume||13.7 cubic feet|
|EPA Fuel Economy||18 mpg city | 26 highway | 21 combined|
|Quick Take||Our parents have been telling us since we were kids; it's what's on the inside that matters.|
The BMW 760i is currently the range-topping model of the 7 Series lineup, which only includes it and the 740i for now. I say “for now” because there’s a good chance that BMW will eventually roll out a high-performance version either in Alpina guise or as a full-fledged M7. The electric i7 sits off to the side in the nameplate’s hierarchy, serving as the first and only electric 7 Series.
In my recent review of the X7 SUV I referred to its design as … “yikes.” It’s just not good. In the sedan, though, and much to the ire of everyone who will email me calling me a damn hypocrite, I gotta say it works much better. Sleek like the Mercedes S-Class or stately like the Audi A8 it is not, but it is opulent. It’s got a presence, especially in my tester’s red and black color scheme. The thin LED lights masquerading as headlights still look odd, and the taillights look out of place. That said, the massive grille and some other unusual proportions are sneakily hidden by the lovely two-tone paint scheme (clever choice for a photo-friendly press car), making the overall design look a bit more casual than it really is.
The cabin is where it’s at in the new 7 Series. Let me say that again: the cabin is where it’s at in the new 7 Series. Sure, its competitors have leather-wrapped surfaces, executive seats, seatback-mounted screens, footrests, and glass roofs. But do they have plush-AF cashmere-wool seats all around? Nope. How about a 31-inch, 8K cinema screen that folds down from the headliner? Nope. Door handles with built-in touchscreens? Also no. BMW grabbed every template for every 7 Series cabin it’s ever designed and threw it out the window. The result is magnificent. It’s airy, it’s open, it’s like a modern luxury home on wheels. Yes, it will still take you a year to learn what every button does, but the seats are so comfortable that you won’t mind sitting in your garage an extra hour or two figuring them out. From the materials, design, and the 27.2 inches of curved display on the dash (12.3-inch digital gauge cluster plus a 14.9 infotainment touchscreen), this cabin sets a new standard for luxury cars.
The BMW 760i xDrive is powered by a 4.4-liter, twin-turbo V8 aided by a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. It pairs with an eight-speed automatic transmission, which sends all 536 horsepower and 533 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels. BMW’s tuning of its venerable V8 is stellar in this application. It also helps you forget about its looks.
Driving the BMW 760i xDrive
Just about every modern BMW I’ve driven over the last few years—with the exception of the lovable M240i—has been disappointing in one way or another. The M cars are too fast, the non-M cars aren’t special enough, and the SUVs always seem to be overly sporty. The 760i, I’m happy to say, suffers from none of these ailments.
The steering is magnificent and exactly what you’d expect in an executive car of this caliber. It’s more disconnected than in the Mercedes, but it’s no slouch. In the equivalent of comfort mode, it takes just two fingers to turn the wheel. There’s a good sense of what the tires are doing, but even then, the sedan’s dynamics take a bit of getting used to due to the rear-wheel steering. This made it extra easy to maneuver the nearly 18-foot-long behemoth through endless roundabouts and parking lots.
I could tell you that the 760i is a smooth cruiser on the highway, but you could’ve figured that out on your own. What I will tell you is that these seats are some of the best I’ve ever experienced, and they take the driving experience to a whole new level. Ranked up there with the Chevy Tahoe and Ferrari Purosangue, it would appear these specific partial-leather seats were designed with Americans in mind: extra tall, extra wide, and extremely soft. I wouldn’t have been surprised to reach under the seat and pull out a La-Z-Boy tag, though I did lose the key fob between the cushions much like you’d lose the TV remote in a recliner.
Switch over to sport mode and the 760i transforms into a completely different machine. Responsive, brash, sharp, and I’d dare say, agile. Roundabouts make for ideal skid pads, y’know? But my favorite part; the engine noise. The V8 sound remains subdued because this isn’t a sports car, but there’s enough rumble to make you smile. You can use the paddle shifters to force shifts up or down according to your driving style, but it’s not necessary. In this driving mode, the transmission does everything it can to mask the car’s nearly 6,000-pound curb weight. And hell, it does a great job at making you feel like Jason Statham in The Transporter. (The first two, I mean. The others suck.)
The rear seats are actually better than the fronts, making me wish I had a chauffeur for at least part of the week I spent with the 760i. The right rear passenger seat even has a lounge mode, which is essentially Recliner Mode. It’s sort of a halfway point between completely flat and completely upright, with the leg rest fully extended and the front passenger seat automatically pushed all the way forward. In this mode, the blinds are closed and the mood lighting is set to low. If desired, the 31-inch Theater Screen can be lowered and you can watch a movie or show of your choice. My test car wasn’t equipped with the account or login necessary to stream, but the screen itself was impressive.
The Highs and Lows
While the cabin is phenomenal, it’s not the only ingredient of this amazing recipe. The drivetrain is equally as important in crafting a first-class driving experience, and that’s exactly what the 760i delivers. I once called the current-gen Mercedes-Maybach S580 the pinnacle of the automobile for several reasons; namely that it provided an amazing experience for the driver as well as the passenger. Now, that title belongs to the BMW.
One area where the BMW can’t compete is exterior design. No, I don’t hate it, but I also don’t love it. In my view, this 7 Series can look OK if specced in the right colors, but the comparable Mercedes, Audi, and Bentley look stunning in any color.
BMW 760i xDrive Features, Options, and the Competition
The options list in my 760i press car is lengthy. How lengthy? About $45,000 lengthy. Let’s start with the big ones like the two-tone paint, which is a whopping $12,000 option. Then there’s the Rear Executive Lounge Seating Package for $7,250, the BMW Individual Composition option for $5,450, and Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System for $4,800. Just those four total over $30,000, making other tech and comfort equipment seem cheap. The 5.5-inch touchscreens built into the rear doors are neat, and also part of the $3,000 luxury rear seating package. A bargain!
Even at the stratospheric price of nearly $160,000, though, the BMW 760i xDrive really does feel like a bargain, and no, I’m not yanking your chain. It may compete directly with the regular Mercedes S-Class and Audi A8 but, if you ask me, its quality actually makes it comparable with the cars one tax bracket up: the S580 Mercedes-Maybach and the Bentley Flying Spur. While phenomenal machinery in their own right, they both appear haggard compared to the new 7. And with a price tag of $212,050 for the Maybach and $261,340 for the Bentley, their badges would appear to be the only reasons to buy them over the BMW.
It’s a nearly 6,000-pound luxury sedan with a movie theater in its backseat. Not sure what expectations anyone may have for fuel economy, but here they are anyway.
Value and Verdict
I can’t recommend you buy a car if you don’t like how it looks. Regardless of what we’re taught when we’re little—that appearances don’t matter and it’s only what’s on the inside that counts—there’s gotta be a certain level of attraction. I couldn’t tell you to do it, but I could definitely do it. With a driving experience this good, the 2023 BMW 760i xDrive could look like a Pontiac Aztek and I’d still drive one. OK, maybe I wouldn’t necessarily jump at the opportunity, but I wouldn’t immediately turn it down, either.
See, the thing with the 7 Series over the years is that they’re not exactly ugly, but they’re not exactly pretty. Like haute couture, they’re subjective designs created to make a statement. How many times have you seen a fashion runway show and said, “Eww, who would ever wear that?” The 7 Series has, at times, had the same effect. But once you wear, er, drive it, it feels fantastic. I highly recommend you drive one. I think you’re gonna like it.
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