This is the BMW i7, an electric version of the firm’s luxury flagship saloon, and a car that underlines the German car maker’s commitment to making the switch to electrification.
The new i7 xDrive60 will rival the Mercedes EQS and Porsche Taycan when it arrives in the UK at the end of 2022, with first deliveries expected in December.
BMW has equipped the new i7 with a 111.5kWh battery with 101.7kWh of usable energy, which sits in the floor.
Unlike the Mercedes EQS, the i7 does not have its own dedicated EV platform, with the Munich-based car maker opting to adapt the so-called CLAR architecture used by petrol-powered 7 series models.
As a result, the i7 does not have a completely flat floor as the transmission tunnel for the ICE cars is still present.
Thanks to its large 111.5kWh battery the BMW i7 can achieve between 367 and 388 miles of range. BMW says the i7 can be charged at up to 195kW using a DC rapid charger, meaning 106 miles of range can be added in as little as 10 minutes. Charging with an AC unit can be done up to a speed of 11kW.
With a dual-motor setup, the i7 has a total output of 400kW (536bhp) and 550lb ft torque, and a commendable 4.7 secs 0-60mph time. Impressive statistics for a car of this size.
The new BMW i7 exterior
Speaking of size, the i7 is a seriously big car - far bigger even than the sixth generation BMW 7 series before it. At 5391mm long, 1950mm wide and 1544mm tall, the new i7 is 175mm longer than the Mercedes EQS and 32mm taller, although the EQS wins out when it comes to width by a mere 12mm. To put its size further into context, it’s the biggest BMW to date.
At the front, the design features a stylish new headlight design and kidney grille, synonymous with the BMW brand. The grille dominates the front end and is flanked by the main LED adaptive headlights, while a pair of slimmer LED lights, which are for day running, sit at the upper part of the front end.
The German car firm has also added an optional headlight called BMW Crystal Iconic Glow. It features Swarovski crystals to create an all-new light effect which BMW says - somewhat boastfully - is “unmatched by any other”.
At night 22 LED units light up the Swarovski crystals from behind and combine with the kidney grille’s contour lighting to create a special light graphic.
BMW says the i7 “features distinctive design accents” to highlight its all-electric character, with the front grille sporting the BMW i sub-brand logo, while elements of the car such as the front air intake and rear apron are finished in BMW i Blue.
The rear adopts a more simple design, with the LED rear tail lights featuring an integrated chrome strip.
BMW i7 interior and technology
Step inside the i7 and you’re greeted with upmarket, premium materials and an array of tech features that will have you questioning if you’ve stepped into a local electrical goods retailer.
One of the main highlights of the i7’s interior is the incredible 31.3 inch, 8K touchscreen display that comes with a Bowers and Wilkins surround sound system and built-in touchscreen remotes in the door panels.
The BMW Theatre Screen - as it has been named - has Amazon Fire TV built-in, which allows passengers to access a number of different apps, as well as stream videos, play games, listen to music and watch downloaded programmes - all from the comfort of the rear cabin.
When the screen is unfolded from the roof for use, BMW has added an extra bit of, ahem, theatre by implementing an accompaniment composed by award-winning musician Hans Zimmer. As the screen is revealed, the sunblinds for the side windows and panoramic roof are closed and the rear cabin lighting is dimmed. No more need to go to the cinema, then.
If the optional BMW Theatre Screen is not in use it can be folded into the headlining and can be moved closer to the passengers in order for them to operate the touchscreen controls.
Upfront BMW has added a curved 14.9 inch central touchscreen and 12.3 inch driver’s display. The central screen houses the firm’s eighth generation BMW iDrive system, which has been used in the iX SUV and i4.
Although the central screen can be operated through touch, BMW has added a rotary control into the centre console to aid its intuitive use on the move.
For the first time, BMW has added a so-called Interaction Bar, which spans the entire width of the dashboard and runs into the door panels. The touch-sensitive bar can be used to adjust systems such as the climate control and ventilation.
Automatically operated doors can also be added as an option, lest pulling door handles not be your bag.
In a bid to add a sustainable edge to the new i7, BMW has used recycled materials throughout. The door panelling for example, is made from 100% reused plastic, while the interior headliner is produced using recycled PET bottles.
New features of the BMW i7
BMW has updated its adaptive regenerative brakes from the iX and i4, with the system for the i7 now able to tackle downhill sections and use information from the traffic light recognition feature in order to cooperate more efficiently.
BMW has also implemented an intelligent route planner which will calculate the best ‘charging-optimised’ route if the range of the vehicle is not enough to reach the destination. The navigation system also provides information about charging points along the route, with the system able to calculate the estimated charge level when you arrive at your destination and how long you should charge in order to continue your journey.
The i7 is also fitted with adaptive air suspension which has self-levelling capabilities. BMW says the new luxury saloon can be raised by 20mm to clear obstacles or when driving on rough terrain, while in Sport mode and when travelling above 75mph the car lowers itself by 10mm for increased stability.
First deliveries in the UK are expected to land in December with the new i7 xDrive60 starting from £107,400.
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