BMW has just thrown down the gauntlet in high-end, high tech luxury automotive design with the new fully electric i7 xDrive60, and it’s as subtle as a sledgehammer in a library in the best way possible.
In the metal, the new 7 series is an absolute unit – imposing and defiantly modern. The car’s aero-efficiency is a sight to behold, especially given its grandiose appearance. Go for the M Sport Package Pro, and you’re treated to 21-inch alloy wheels, beefier brakes, and gloss black accents that dial down the bling. The car’s headlights are a talking point on their own, with the option of Swarovski ‘iconic glow’ crystal glass. And for those who love a grand entrance, the front grille, now known as the ‘Iconic Glow’ kidney grille, doesn’t just announce your arrival; it practically throws a parade. Accompanied by crystal headlights, it’s evident that BMW’s designers were given one instruction: make it unmissable.
Under the hood, the i7 xDrive60 is a powerhouse, offering a combined 400kW from its dual electric motors, mirroring the setup found in the impressive iX. The front motor dishes out 255bhp, while the rear one serves up 308bhp, with an overall torque of 745 Nm. It clocks a 0-100 km/h sprint in just 4.7 seconds, and the top speed is capped at 240 km/h. We’re talking about Generation Five of BMW’s electric powertrain here, with charging software that’s continuously improving in terms of thermal management and efficiency. And, importantly, there are no rare earth metals in the motor.
Nestled comfortably under the floor is the lithium-ion battery pack, providing a hefty 101.7 kWh of usable energy. BMW claims an efficiency of 3.1 to 3.3 miles per kWh, translating to a range of up to 625 km on a full charge. Stumble upon a 195 kW fast charger, and you can boost your range by 170 km in just about 10 minutes – a neat little perk for those long journeys.
Driving the i7 is nothing short of astonishing. It has enough grunt to propel this hefty car off the line with remarkable speed. But the true magic isn’t just in the pace – it’s in the refinement. The i7 is a masterclass in engineering, boasting an extraordinarily quiet and smooth ride. It’s agile and controlled on the move, with a ride quality that would satisfy even the most demanding of luxury seekers. The brakes are top-notch, complemented by a well-tuned regenerative function that harvests energy usually lost during deceleration.
And then there’s the tech – the i7 is loaded with assistance systems, aiming for safety and for those who find parking a chore, the 7 series can take care of that for you, either remotely or via the BMW App.
Step inside, and you’re greeted by an interior that’s more akin to a luxury lounge than a car. It’s an orchestra of high-tech gizmos and sumptuous materials, with enough screens to make a Silicon Valley CEO nod in approval.Taking cues from the iX, its Curved Display combines a 12.3-inch instrument display with a larger 14.9-inch main infotainment touchscreen. It’s a tech lover’s dream, with everything, including the air conditioning controls, integrated into the central screen. The screen itself perches on slender brackets atop open-pore matt wood trim, giving it a feel of high-end furniture. Every inch screams premium, from the meticulously stitched leather to the ambient lighting that adds just the right amount of drama.
Below the central screen is the ‘Interaction Bar’, a new addition to the 7 series. It features a crystalline surface and backlighting, running almost the entire width of the cabin. Depending on the chosen ‘My Modes’, it changes color – red for Sport, green for Expressive, blue for Efficient. There’s even a Digital Art Mode designed by artist Cao Fei. And for the audiophiles, the sound signature, co-developed with Hans Zimmer, offers a range of sci-fi-like pulses that you can switch off if they’re not to your taste.
Automatic doors are also a new feature on the 7. With a button below the wheel, you can close the door from the inside, or set it to shut automatically when you press the brake pedal. The doors are smart, recognising inclines and potential hazards.
The seats are the epitome of luxury, offering a range of functionalities and robust massage programs. The back of the headrests is adorned with wood trim and electro-plated accent strips. You can opt for sustainable wool cashmere trim that looks and feels amazing. BMW aimed to create an interior unlike anything before, and they’ve certainly hit the mark. Sitting inside the i7, it’s easy to forget you’re in a car and not some high-end lounge.
But the real showstopper is the 31.3-inch 8K Theatre Screen, a next-level entertainment system with Amazon Fire TV connectivity and Bowers & Wilkins surround sound. The optional upgrade includes 36 speakers and 1,965 watts of output, with exciters in the seat backrests for an immersive audio experience.
The i7 really is just a strange mix of absolute creativity, precision engineering, over the top style and cutting edge tech. It’s bonkers but it’s just perfect.
If you want to experience it for yourself visit Auckland City BMW or East Auckland BMW today and take the BMW i7 for a test drive.