The pinnacle of the BMW brand, the 7-Series, will soon be available without an internal combustion engine for the very first time, and it's called the BMW i7 xDrive60. BMW's all-new 7-series will also be available in the standard combustion form, and as a plug-in hybrid, for those not quite sure if they are ready for a pure EV but think they want to move on from ICE.
The new 7 utilizes BMW's flexible Cluster Architecture - (CLAR) platform, which allows the i7 to be produced on the same manufacturing line as its ICE and PHEV brothers. Therefore the i7 doesn't have a bespoke chassis, as is the case for the BMW iX.
It also doesn't have a front storage compartment or "frunk". The BMW representatives at the first look event held last week at the NY Auto Show explained that was because the i7 is built alongside the ICE and PHEV 7-series and the components upfront don't allow for a storage area.
But what about that huge space where the ICE normally would be? We couldn't get a concise answer to that question. It's clear by now that BMW doesn't place much importance on their EVs having a front storage area because the i4, the iX and now the i7 doesn't have one.
The i7 has a dual-motor, all-wheel-drive setup with a combined output of 536 hp and 549 lb-ft of torque. The front motor produces 255 hp and the rear generates a peak output of 308 hp. BMW states the i7 xDrive60 will accelerate from a standstill to 60mph in 4.5 seconds and has an electronically-limited top speed of 149 mph.
The motors are of the electrically excited synchronous variety, not fixed permanent magnet, and are produced without the need for any rare earth metals.
If you're not impressed with the performance, our friends over at EVGlobe tell us that BMW has a 600+ hp version in the works that will wear an M badge and be called either i7 M60 or i7 M70.
Battery And Charging
I asked a BMW representative if the company was using the same battery cells used in the iX or the low-height cells utilized in the i4 and was told they are using the iX's taller battery cells and using a modified version of the BMW iX's battery pack for the i7.
The i7's battery has a total capacity of 107.8 kWh, of which 101.7 kWh is usable. That's actually slightly smaller than the pack in the iX, which is 111.5 (total) and 105.2 kWh (usable). From its internal testing, BMW estimates that the i7 will have an EPA-rated driving range of 300 miles which is slightly less than the iX's 324 miles (with the 20" wheels).
Gallery: BMW i7 (2022)
The i7 can accept up to 11 kW from a 48-amp level 2 charging station, which should completely replenish a fully-depleted battery in about 10.5 hours. As for DC fast charging, the i7 has the same 195 kW peak charging rate as the iX. However, BMW explained that they have massaged the charging curve on the i7 and it's smoother than what we see on the iX.
Because of that, plus the fact that the battery is slightly smaller, the i7 should charge faster than the iX, even though they have the same maximum DC fast charging rate. We don't have any estimates from BMW, but since the iX can recharge from 10% to 80% in 35 minutes, we suspect that the i7 should be able to accomplish the same feat in about 30 minutes.
The i7 also comes with three years of unlimited, complimentary use of the Electrify America network. That's a better deal than what BMW offers for the i4 and the iX. Those vehicles come with two years of 30-minute complimentary charging sessions on the Electrify America network. I guess 7-Series customers have come to expect being treated a little better than everyone else.
Spacious, luxurious Cabin
The i7's interior is all that you'd expect from the brand's apex model, and then some, providing its occupants with comfort, luxury, and the best of BMW's latest technology. The Panoramic Sky Lounge LED roof is standard on all versions of the new 7 Series and is equipped with an electronically operated sliding shade. It creates a light show using light threads backlit by LEDs and creates shapes that replicate the pattern of the quilting on the seats.
The soft and pleasantly warm feel of this sumptuously refined natural material comes together with the standard glass applications for selected controls, the optional open-pore fine wood of the interior trim strip, and the stainless steel speaker covers to create a luxurious sense of wellbeing. - BMW press release
- 12.3" driver's display and a 14.9" touchscreen control display screen
- The BMW Interaction Bar that controls climate, hazard & ambient lighting, and glove box
- 5.5" color touchscreen entertainment and climate control units for rear passengers
- Standard Active front seat ventilation & cooling for front passengers; optional for rear
- Quilted Merino leather seating stitched into a prominent diamond pattern
- Alcantara headliner that's color-coordinated to the specific leather trim
- Four-zone automatic climate control with individual footwell temperature adjustment
- Standard radiant heating for steering wheel with panel heating for the armrests in the door trim and percenter console
- Standard Panoramic Sky Lounge LED glass roof
- Optional automatic opening/closing doors
- Optional 31.3" 8K BMW Theater Screen
In addition to the sundry of standard luxury features, i7 owners will be able to add the new BMW Theater Screen to their vehicle if desired. The Theather Screen is a massive 31.3" (79.5 cm) that offers an 8K touchscreen display with Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound system and built-in Amazon Fire TV.
Rear seat passengers can watch films and TV shows in 16:9, 21:9, or 32:9 cinemascope aspect ratio and can control the system with the 5.5" color touchscreen control panels that are built into the rear door panels.
Another cool option is the automatic opening & closing doors. To open or close the front and rear doors, passengers touch the flush door handles or the buttons in the BMW Interaction Bar at the front of the cabin or the rear door trim. The opening and closing sequence can also be activated using the key fob.
Finally, the Flagship
BMW had an early start with electrification compared to many of the established brands. They were seemingly all-in on EVs as far back as 2010 when they were pouring billions into BMW i and looked to be way ahead of most brands.
But then, right around 2015 they took a step back from pure EVs to focus on plug in hybrids, a move that was a disappointment to many electric vehicle enthusiasts. However, they're back and have just launched two very good all-electric offerings in the i4 and iX.
When the i7 launches later this year with a base MSRP of $119,300, it will solidify BMW's commitment to making pure EVs. The 7-Series, while not a huge volume seller for BMW, is the brand's flagship and electrifying it demonstrates to us that it won't be long before every model offered comes in an all-electric variant. We look forward to offering our full driving impressions as soon as BMW makes that opportunity available.