2003 BMW 7-Series Review

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Jim McCraw Jim McCraw Editor
December 12, 2002
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MIAMI, Fla. — BMW's new flagship sedan, the 760Li, comes to market with a entirely new and enormously powerful 6.0-liter V-12 engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, and not one, but two sets of controls for its iDrive system, one for the front seat, and one for the rear seat. You see, this is BMW’s most often chauffeur-driven model, so the company had to provide a complete extra control system for the owner, who might be in the right or left rear seat.

2003 BMW 760Li

2003 BMW 760Li

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Positioned against formidable competition from the Mercedes-Benz S600 with its twin-turbocharged V-12, the 760Li is built on the 123.2-inch wheelbase 745 sedan platform and replaces both the short- and long-wheelbase versions of the old 760 with no increase in physical size over the 745Li. Nearly every option on a 745 becomes standard on the 760, plus a whole lot more. You can tell them apart, though, because the 760Li wears V-12 markings, and has a larger grille surround than the 745Li and its own wheel designs.

On a roll?

On the heels of enormous sales success in this country in 2002, up more than 25 percent in a crazy market, BMW wants to continue the momentum with the Z4 roadster just introduced, the new X3 SUV based on the 3-Series, and at the top end of the market, this ultra-luxury 760Li (they changed the name from 760iL to be more consistent, they say).

2003 BMW 760Li

2003 BMW 760Li

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BMW's latest offering shines still more light on its prowess at working with electrical and electronic systems suppliers and systems integration, with still more electronics built into the V-12 engine. This is the world’s first mass-produced V-12 engine with direct gasoline injection and common-rail technology borrowed from BMW’s diesel engine. It’s a 60-degree V-12 with very high 11.3:1 compression, four overhead cams and four valves per cylinder, and the heads feature BMW’s Double Vanos variable intake and exhaust valve control system as well as the Valvetronic variable-valve-lift mechanism and an electronic drive-by-wire system that effectively eliminates the traditional throttle on the engine.
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