BMW launched today what is arguably the most important version of its new flagship luxury car — the BMW i7. The new electric bimmer is the most technologically advanced, most luxurious car the Bavarian brand has ever made and it’s the car BMW needs to lead it into the future.
Looking at the BMW i7, it looks a lot like the 7 Series, almost identical in fact. That was intentional. BMW’s design team didn’t want customers choosing between the two cars based on style or design. Instead, the Bavarians wanted their customers to choose the 7 Series and then just pick their powertrain. Up front, both the BMW i7 and 7 Series have the same grille and the same new split headlights. The new split headlight design also looks great, giving the front end more visual verticality, which reduces the visual impact of the large grille. Despite being bigger and brasher than the previous-gen 7 Series, this new front end design is actually better looking and less offensive.
The upper portion of each headlight is responsible for daytime running lights and turn signals but has also been designed to represent BMW’s signature dual light effect. Underneath, the lower portion is responsible for the main and high beams but is also tinted, so as to sort of hide in the background until needed.
Down the sides of the car, flush door handles, aerodynamic wheels, and honest-to-goodness Hofmeister Kinks flank the BMW i7. It also gets fancy Rolls-Royce-like automatic doors, which open and close at the push of a buttons. Those aerodynamic wheels are big, too, sitting at 19″ as-standard, with 20″ and 21″ wheel options, including M Performance wheels.
Major upgrade inside
However, it’s inside the i7 that gets truly interesting. Again, much like with the exterior, BMW didn’t want customers to have to sacrifice any sort of interior luxury or comfort by choosing either the gas-powered 7 Series or the all-electric i7. So the cabins are pretty much identical. Front passengers are treated to an all-new dashboard layout that includes lighted crystal-like trim, dubbed the “Interaction Bar”, that can change colors and is one of the more unique features of any BMW interior in history.
The i7 also gets a two-spoke steering wheel but this time it isn’t hexagonal and has a flat-bottom. Also like the iX, the center console features a toggle switch gear selector and the same array of buttons and rotary wheel. Handling all of the tech up front is BMW’s iDrive 8.
If you add the Theater Screen option, you get a massive 31″ 8k widescreen display that folds down from the headliner of the car for a literal theater-like effect. It features built-in Amazon Fire TV, which allows passengers to watch any sort of streaming content they can imagine, through the car’s own 5G data connection.
Power, Range and Charging
The BMW i7 xDrive60 is powered by dual electric motors, made using no rare earth materials at all. Maximum power output is 536 horsepower and 549 lb-ft of torque, which ironically (or not so ironically) gives it the same horsepower as the BMW 760i. According to BMW, 0-60 mph happens in 4.5 seconds and the i7 has a top speed of 149 mph.
Those two electric motors, which provide torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, get their energy from a 101.7 kWh (usable) battery pack, which is said to be capable of up to 300 miles of range. That range figure is a BMW-estimated figure, based on EPA testing procedures.
Charging the BMW i7 is similar to charging the BMW iX. It can be charged at 11 kW AC, or at up to 195 kW on a DC fast charger. However, what makes the i7 different from its taller sibling is its flatter charging curve. Due to improved cooling and software efficiency, the BMW i7 can charge at 195 kW for longer than the iX, which allows it to recoup 80 miles in just ten minutes. BMW has also partnered with Electrify America, to provide all i7 customers with three years of unlimited 30-minute fast charging sessions, enough to almost completely recharge the battery.
BMW i7 xDrive60 sells for $119,300 + $995 destination. US market launch to commence in Q4 2022.