New BMW i7 revealed with 388-mile range and prices from £107k
The first-ever all-electric BMW 7 Series production car is here. Not only that, but the BMW i7 is also the only version of Munich’s luxury saloon available from launch – its plug-in hybrid cohorts won’t arrive in the UK until spring 2023.
The BMW i7 is based on the latest version of BMW’s ‘CLAR’ (cluster architecture) platform, which allows for the use of pure combustion, PHEV and all-electric drivetrains.
The styling doesn’t deviate significantly from the closely-related 7 Series. There’s the same large and backlit front kidney grille arrangement, plus the new split headlight design also seen on the recently facelifted X7. BMW says the latter feature will be reserved for its flagship models.
Designed to target the likes of the Mercedes EQS in the electric luxury car segment, the i7 will launch in xDrive60 guise – a variant Auto Express drove in prototype form earlier this year. It features two electric motors – one for each axle – giving total outputs of 536bhp and 745Nm of torque. At some point in 2023, an i7 M70 will join the range, with a provisional power output of 651bhp.
The 0-62mph time for the xDrive 60 is 4.7 seconds, and the top speed is 149mph. The 101.7kWh battery pack located under the floor is described as “extremely thin” with a cell height of 110mm, meaning the 7 Series’ characteristically sleek silhouette is retained.
According to the WLTP cycle, the i7 xDrive 60 uses 19.6-18.4kWh of the battery’s energy for every 62 miles covered, giving a range of between 367 and 388 miles. The i7 can be charged at up to 11kW AC, while the maximum DC charge rate is 195kW, making it possible to add just over 100 miles of range in 10 minutes with a powerful enough charging station.
The suspension setup involves double wishbones at the front with a multilink rear, and widened tracks compared to the outgoing G11-generation 7 Series. Air suspension is fitted as standard and is able to drop the ride height by 10mm in Sport mode (or at higher speeds to lower drag), or raise it by 20mm if the conditions demand.
An all-wheel steering system turns the rear wheels by up to 3.5 degrees, in the opposite direction to the front wheels at lower speeds and in the same direction at higher speeds. This brings handling benefits at speed and a reduction in the turning circle around town. Further improving dynamics are a 48-volt motor-based active anti-roll system and variable-ratio steering.
Inside the i7, the most notable feature is the optional 8k, 31.3-inch ‘BMW Theatre Screen’. It drops down from the car’s ceiling, and runs on Amazon Fire tablet software, giving numerous content possibilities. You can also spec a 36-speaker, near-2,000-watt Bowers & Wilkins Diamond audio setup, although the standard-fit hi-fi from the same firm is hardly lacking with 18 speakers dotted around the cabin.
In the front is a BMW Curved Display, shared with the iX SUV. It combines a 12.3-inch infotainment system with a 14.9-inch digital instrument binnacle. New for the i7 and its 7 Series sibling is the ‘BMW Interaction Bar’ stretching across the dash and onto the door cards. It’s best thought of as an ambient light bar mixed with a control surface, and is able to display different themes and provide visual feedback for things like safety warnings and incoming call audio.
The standard-fit Merino leather can be specced in five different colours or can be switched for faux-leather ‘Veganza’ at no extra cost. There’s also a cost option to switch the interior trim to BMW Individual Merino leather with cashmere.
The BMW i7 will be offered in only one wheelbase length and with two trim levels – Excellence and M Sport. The Excellence starts at £107,400 and is fitted with 19-inch wheels. The £111,900 M Sport version rolls on 20-inch wheels and uses more aggressively-styled front and rear bumpers.
It’s also possible to spec an M Sport Pro package, which features 21-inch wheels, gloss black trim pieces, M-themed seat belt stitching and uprated brakes. The eventual M70 model is expected to use a different set of 21-inch wheels, tweaked bumpers and aero mirrors, similar to what is seen on the plug-in hybrid M760e. The first UK deliveries will commence in December 2022.
Click here for our list of the electric cars with the longest range…
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