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In this EV review, we dig into the BMW i7. Legendary Bavarian automaker BMW has reigned as one of the world’s most admired brands for decades. Long known for performance and driving dynamics, the company has focused more and more on tech and innovation in recent years to remain competitive against rivals new and old. The German brand has a very long and complex history with electrification. Its main impulse in the modern era was the introductions of the i3 city compact and i8 hybrid sports car in 2013 and 2014. The products, while impressive, saw limited success against newer and more purpose-built EVs from Tesla.
Fast forward a few years, during which Tesla has began outselling every other premium brand in the U.S. market. BMW’s electrification efforts have returned with a vengeance. While many accuse the BMW brand of playing catch-up to Tesla on actual electric range and so on, nobody could accuse them of skimping on brand principles of performance, luxury and tech. The i4 Gran Coupe and iX sports activity vehicle both debuted to much fanfare as the first fully-electric BMW sedan and SUV on the market, followed by the ultra-high-end i7.
Based on the new “G70” generation 7 Series that debuted in 2022, the i7 is BMW’s first all-electric flagship and has the luxury – and pricetag – to show for it. Dual electric motors in the i7 xDrive60 provide all-wheel-drive and 536 horsepower, as well as over 300 miles of range. The exterior design has polarized many, but the first-class cabin has received nearly universal acclaim as BMW’s best interior ever – inching it closer to BMW Group stablemate Rolls Royce rather than the more affordable 5 Series. Pricing begins at an eye-watering $119,300, but it’s immediately clear to any occupant that it lives up to that number.
BMW i7 EVU Hot Take
- Extreme luxury
- Oh so quiet, great use of sound deadening materials and technology
- More agile than expected
- Controls feel unnecessarily complicated
- Range doesn’t match rivals at this price point
BMW i7 Exterior, Body and Packaging
The BMW i7 shares its platform and body with the standard G70 7 Series, rather than the two-different-flagships approach taken by longtime competitor Mercedes-Benz and its S-Class/EQS models. It’s one of BMW’s biggest sedans ever, marked by a striking split-headlight design and long, rakish 3-box sedan that’s more future-techno-steampunk rather than aerodynamic egg. A first for the 7 Series, it features automatic open-and-close doors, and a nifty backup camera washer is built right into the rear trunk lid BMW roundel emblem. Customers will have a choice of several different spec styles, including a luxury-focused design that’s more conservative and classic or a fierce and villain-looking M Sport package.
BMW i7 Interior, Features and Tech
The interior was clearly the focus of the all-new 7, and it packs a clean-sheet design unlike any BMW before it. It’s recognizable as BMW, but you can tell that this took years. Dominating the dash are dual high-res screens for driving info and entertainment, originally debuting on the iX electric SUV. Large, ergonomic seats cosset every passenger, and there’s some really intriguing new upholstery options like a cashmere-wool fabric blend. Crystal (no, really) light bars wrap the dash and doors, giving one of the most impressive ambient lighting effects of any car at any price point. An optional BMW Theatre Display provides rear passengers with a 31.3 inch 8K screen that boasts Amazon Fire TV and 5G connectivity. Predictably, the BMW i7 has the most advanced driver assistance and automated cruise control that BMW currently offers, all controlled through steering wheel and HUD interfaces.
BMW i7 Driving Experience
While we haven’t had extensive time behind the wheel of the i7, we have gotten a small sample and it’s clear that luxury was the focus here. It doesn’t totally drop BMW’s signature driving dynamics, but this is a 7 Series mainly focused on comfort and atmosphere rather than a track time. The ride is magically soft and much closer to S-Class than M5. That doesn’t mean it’s devoid of fun – the 536 horsepower motors bury you in your seat when launching the i7 and, despite its size, it can still be taken through the twisties. The massive luxobarge will hit 60 in 4.5 seconds, which feels like one of BMW’s famously conservative estimates. The driving modes also have distinctly different personalities, all featuring synthesized sounds by famed composer Hans Zimmer; for example, the comfort noise is a futuristic hum while the Sport mode sound is a thundering crescendo. It’s truly something different out of all the EV soundtracks car brands are now producing.
BMW i7 Charging and Range
The BMW i7 cracks the magical 300 mile mark with an EPA estimated 318 mile range on a full charge from the sole model offered in the U.S. (the AWD xDrive60 trim). Expected on an EV of this price range, it supports both AC and DC charging and can achieve an 80% DC quick charge in just 10 minutes. The i7 xDrive60 packs BMW’s 5th generation eDrive technology, and its motors displace a massive 105 kWh. It can handle up to 10 kW on AC slow charging and up to 195 kW on DC fast.
BMW i7 Final Thoughts
In our review, the BMW i7 represents a huge leap forward for electrification at BMW, just like the iX did the year before. The iX is more of an experimental product with wild design and will likely be more of a niche product for the brand, whereas the i7 is a much higher volume – and therefore much higher importance – product for the company. While the exterior design and split headlight front fascia have been the subject of intense criticism for good reason, the vehicle looks significantly better in M Sport guise and its interior is beyond reproach. Coupled with supercar power and how many insanely cool tech features it brings, its towering $120,000 sticker starts to feel reasonable. It’s shaping up to be one of the company’s biggest home runs in years, no matter how much you hate those grilles and headlights.
More information on the BMW i7 can be found at www.bmwusa.com.