This is the BMW i7, an all-electric version of BMW’s new seventh-generation 7 Series and, following its market launch in November, it’ll be the only version of the 7 Series available until more models arrive in 2023. That front-end will certainly raise a few eyebrows, but the i7 is the biggest 7 Series yet (there’s no short wheelbase version this time) and is absolutely packed with luxury and tech features.
What are its rivals?
The BMW’s main rivals are also chiefly German: the Mercedes S-Class and EQS as well as the Audi A8. The electric EQS with its 730km range is the i7’s main competitor, though once the diesel and plug-in hybrid versions of the 7 Series arrive next year, it’ll bring it more into line with the equally big and luxurious S-Class and A8, plus the Lexus LS of course.
Any tech info?
For the driver, the biggest news is the addition of the Curved Display seen elsewhere in the BMW line-up and which comprises a 12.3-inch instrument cluster with a 14.9-inch multimedia screen to create one larger expanse of glass ergonomically angled towards the driver. A touch-sensitive Interaction Bar also runs the width of the dash that is used for other functions such as adjusting the climate control and opening the doors. Optional features include automatically-opening rear doors that open with just a touch of the handle or key fob. The biggest optional tech feature though is the massive 31.3-inch BMW Theatre Screen that flips down from the roof in the rear, and which can be used to stream a wide range of content through in-built Amazon Fire TV access. Turning on the Theatre Screen lowers the rear window blinds to prevent glare and, although it’s a touchscreen, it can also be remotely controlled by smartphone-sized controllers on the door panels.
What’s the range like?
The i7 xDrive60 will be the first model to launch and draws its power from a 101.7kWh battery to deliver a range of up to 625km. The xDrive60 makes do with 544hp from its front and rear electric motors; though, if that isn’t enough, a range-topping M70 xDrive variant is coming down the line with more than 600hp.
There won’t be any petrol-only models coming to Europe, but there will be 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel arriving next year as well as two plug-in hybrid models, the 750e xDrive and the M-fettled M760e xDrive. Both use 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol engines, developing 310hp and 571hp, respectively and both, BMW says, are capable of up to 89km of electric-only driving.
The i7 is due to arrive before the end of the year, but with the current global chip shortage showing few signs of abating, it could well be 2023 by the time it hits Irish roads. With prices starting from €133,085, BMW’s luxury flagship is unlikely to be a huge seller here, but those who can live with the price and the looks are sure to be rewarded with a sumptuous first-class interior.