It started with a BMW 7 Series winning the SA National Group One Championship in 1985, and now it’s back, infused with racing DNA, in the form of the BMW M760Li xDrive. Not only is it the return of a legend but a first for the segment – combining luxury with an authoritatively motorsport character.

Tony Viana, took the first ever factory entry of a BMW 7 Series in circuit racing, worldwide, to the 1985 SA National Group One Championship – and it won!  The following year, he went on to race a modified BMW 7 Series that also took 1st place in the SA Modified Saloon Car championship, sponsored by Wesbank and known as the ‘’Wesbank Modifieds’’. Group II (two) by international standards – became the country’s premier saloon car/touring car category.

The legendary car in question is now owned by Paolo Cavalieri who, together with Evolution 2 Motorsport, keeps the legacy alive – and now infused with racing DNA, BMW is proud to introduce the next chapter to the story.  The new BMW M760Li xDrive is the latest M Performance car to join the line-up and enjoys a unique position as the flagship of the luxurious 7 Series model range and the hallmark of M engineering.

Selected members of the press had a chance to experience the cars going head to head at an exclusive track day at the Aldo Scribante Raceway in Port Elizabeth.

Click here to watch the 1985 Group 1 Race at Kyalami

The BMW M760Li meets the original BMW 7 Series race car (E23):

The difference that M makes

The latest 12-cylinder petrol engine with M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology makes its debut under the hood of the BMW M760Li xDrive. With High Precision Injection technology, the engine enables a sharp and direct responses to even the slightest movement of the accelerator. It also boasts a linear torque curve and exceptionally low fuel consumption and CO2 emissions for an engine in this performance class. And with power transfer via the state-of-the-art eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission which comes standard, it only reinforces the BMW M760Li xDrive’s range-topping performance.

If that hasn’t swayed you, perhaps 0 – 100 km/h in 3.4 seconds will pique your interest. There’s also the output of 448 kW at 5,500 rpm and max torque of 800 Nm at 1,550 rpm to make a bold statement – all while maintaining it’s still luxurious appearance.

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Beauty and power

In its exterior appearance alone, the new BMW M760Li xDrive is unmistakeably from M racing stock and heritage. Yet it manages to easily outperform its segment rivals in driving comfort and luxury, thanks to its 7 Series character.

Customers can choose between the overtly dynamic appearance of their BMW M760Li xDrive with M Aerodynamics package and the optional BMW M760Li xDrive V12 Excellence (at no extra cost) for a more discreet luxurious look.

The M aerodynamic package with larger air intakes in the front apron and galvanised Cerium Grey finish for the kidney grille frame hint at the status of the car. While the V12 Excellence model features a chrome bar extending across the full width of the car in the upper section of the air intake grille. In addition, the kidney grille bars are in Silver with chrome fronts and surrounds likewise in bright chrome.

The BMW M760Li xDrive on the track

Supremely comfortable

You can enjoy a modern and luxurious ambience, with features like electrically adjustable front comfort seats with memory function and exclusive Nappa leather trip finishes. In addition to the intuitive operation with touch display and BMW gesture control, the BMW M760Li xDrive also features a smartphone holder integrated into the centre console, which enables wireless, inductive charging for mobile phones – for the first time in a car.

The exclusive M leather steering wheel carries the M logo and the illuminated v12 logo on the door sill plates and other M specific finishes are yet another hint of the driving experience that awaits. The innovative Executive Drive Pro suspension system is a passport to dynamic sharpness and unbeatable ride comfort. Active roll stabilisation minimises body movements and the rear-biased BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system delivers the dynamic excellence you’d expect of an M Performance model.

Luxury comes standard

The BMW M760Li xDrive is kitted out with an extremely extensive list of equipment items as standard: the M aerodynamic package, 20-inch M light-alloy wheels in Cerium Grey metallic matt with mixed-size tyres, an M sports exhaust system with flap control, Executive Drive Pro, Integral Active Steering, Adaptive LED headlights with anti-dazzle High-beam assist and Dynamic Damper Contrare are all at your immediate disposal.

There are also the latest driver assist systems and BMW ConnectedDrive services to enhance every drive you take.

Have you seen the video of the two BMW 7 Series models going head to head on the track? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below: