BMW reveals fully electric i7 flagship sedan—as a version of redesigned 7-Series lineup

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The all-electric flagship sedan of the BMW lineup, the 2023 BMW i7, has been revealed. And it looks virtually interchangeable with the rest of a completely new 2023 BMW 7-Series lineup revealed Wednesday. 

The i7 is in fact a version of the 7-Series—a variant of this model line, not built on a dedicated electric vehicle platform that omits plans for a combustion engine, like the Mercedes-Benz EQS, Lucid Air, Audi E-Tron GT, or Porsche Taycan, but on what BMW calls a flexible vehicle architecture. As such, it was engineered and conceived for three different drive types from the start: mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid gasoline versions, and fully electric. 

BMW said that the strategy—to be shared with an upcoming next-generation 5-Series and corresponding i5—will help lower the automaker’s carbon footprint and will allow more flexibility to meet the additional demand for EVs as it ramps up. BMW does have a dedicated EV platform in the works, called Neue Klasse, but it won’t arrive until 2025

2023 BMW i7

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2023 BMW i7

The BMW i7, in U.S. form, will be badged the i7 xDrive60. Making a combined 536 hp and 549 lb-ft from its dual-motor system, it will be capable of blasting the i7 to 60 mph in as little as 4.5 seconds, and to a top speed of 149 mph. BMW estimates that the i7 will be able to return up to 300 miles of range on the EPA cycle. 

V-8 or EV? They both look the same

The 2023 BMW 7-Series lineup will initially include the 740i ($94,295), the 760i xDrive ($114,595), the i7 xDrive60 ($120,295). An M750e xDrive plug-in hybrid will follow next year.

The 740i is powered by a Miller-cycle version of BMW’s turbo inline-6 engine. The 760i xDrive is powered by a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8, with all-wheel drive. Both include 48-volt mild-hybrid tech. 

2023 BMW i7

2023 BMW i7

The i7 builds on BMW’s fifth-generation electric-drive toolkit, which packages the motor, power electronics, and reduction gear into a single compact housing. The synchronous motors have no rare-earth-dependent permanent magnets, and in the i7 the unit at the front wheels makes 255 hp while the one in back makes 308 hp—for a combined 536 hp and 549 lb-ft. 

Prismatic cells—exact supplier not yet confirmed—total a usable capacity of 101.7 kwh. In U.S. spec, the i7 has an 11-kw onboard charger, and it can DC fast-charge at up to 195 kw—with three years of unlimited Electrify America charging wrapped in. BMW says it can gain up to 80 miles of range in 10 minutes. 

BMW says that compared to the i4 fastback and iX SUV, the charging software has been further developed, with more precise cooling for the battery pack. It’s also introducing improved charging-optimized route planning. The i7 will remember the technical details around particular charging stations, and BMW says that it has based charging around a continuous nominal voltage—resulting in a more rounded charge curve that’s more predictable and results in shorter charge times in most situations. 

BMW has also refined the adaptive recuperation feature—based on road conditions and route information—although the driver can choose high, medium, or low brake regeneration, as well as a ‘B’ position for one-pedal driving.

2023 BMW i7

2023 BMW i7

All versions of the 7-Series get a two-axle air suspension with automatic self-leveling and electronically controlled dampers at all four wheels.  It’s height-adjustable, depending on the mode and needs.

BMW’s Integral Active Steering—a version of rear-wheel steering—is included in the 760 xDrive and i7, and optional on the 740i. It adds to maneuverability by turning the rear wheels up to 3.5 degrees in the opposite direction at low speeds, or in the same direction at higher speeds.

Traditional long-hood proportions

Up close, as we saw the new 7-Series models last week in a no-cameras preview, the luxury sedans look traditional, with classic long-hood, rear-biased proportions, but with thin, distinctive lighting in front and in back, the latest, rather large version of BMW’s kidney grille, and new trim and door hardware, they represent the latest from the German automaker. Surfaces are creased on the hood, with a noticeable leading edge of the hood that starts many inches back from the leading edge of the front end—a departure from previous 7-Series generations. 

2023 BMW i7

2023 BMW i7

Side sculpting is clean and smooth, and taillights are thin and wrap around the corners. Fully electric i7 models carry more brightwork, with more chrome trim incorporated in the details, especially at the rear lights. In front, adaptive LED headlights are standard across the entire model line, and all versions also now have perimeter lighting for the grille. 

The new 7-Series models are 212.2 inches long, 76.8 inches wide, and 60.8 inches high, and it rides on a 126.6-inch wheelbase. There’s only one wheelbase for the new car, essentially aligned with the long-wheelbase versions of the outgoing 7-Series, and all of those dimensions are up versus the current 7-Series, to varying degrees. BMW says that headroom has improved throughout the interior, although the rear seating height for the i7 is roughly an inch higher, due to the battery pack underneath. Electric i7 models have 17.7 cubic feet of cargo space, versus 19.1 cubic feet for internal combustion models. 

The layout of screens in the 7-Series includes a 12.3-inch information display just ahead of the steering wheel plus a 14.9-inch touchscreen around the center of the dash (but canted somewhat to the driver). They’re arranged “beneath a shared glass surface,” as part of a curved display, and the new interface is colorful and high-contrast, clustering functions into widgets that can be moved around the middle display. The center console keeps a version of BMW’s familiar iDrive controller, while the gear selector has a new design. 

2023 BMW i7

2023 BMW i7

Separately, a new Interaction Bar provides dynamic light animations for certain functions—a bit like VW’s ID Light—yet it also has touch-sensitive controls for ventilation and climate control, wrapping from the dash around to the doors. 

Prepare to be entertained

The 7-Series lineup is available with a BMW Theater Screen—a 31.3-inch, 8K touchscreen display that folds down from the ceiling and is Amazon Fire TV compatible. In front, users can stream YouTube and other on-demand services, and there’s now an interior camera for snapshots, future apps, or as part of an anti-theft recorder. 

2023 BMW i7

2023 BMW i7

Each rear door gets a 5.5-inch color touchscreen and serves as an integrated part of the Theater Screen when so equipped—also enhanced via speakers built into the rear headrests and bass shakers built into the backrests, as part of an optional Bowers & Wilkins surround sound system and coordinating work with film score composer Hans Zimmer, to help make the whole experience immersive. The audio system includes up to 36 speakers—including four mounted in the headliner—and a total output of 1,965 watts. 

Optional automatic doors automatically open or close with a touch of the Interaction Bar, and door handles have a new design that just requires a touch of the fingers underneath to release. 

Cabins offer available cashmere for seating trim, open-pore wood for trim strips, and stainless-steel speaker covers. Ventilated and cooled front seats are included in the 760 i xDrive and i7 and optional on the 740i, while massage seats are optional. Four-zone automatic climate control is included, with nanoparticulate filtration, and the i7 comes with “extremely efficient heat pump technology.” A radiant heating option includes steering-wheel heating plus panel heating for the armrests at the door and center console. 

2023 BMW i7

2023 BMW i7

The i7 includes multifunction rear seats with active ventilation and massage—optional on other models—with adjustability via those touch screens. BMW 740i models can be optioned in extended Merino leather, while full Merino leather is available across the model line—plus available wool/hide upholsteries and color-coordinated headliners. 

Executive-level in back 

An executive Lounge option adds recline for passengers in back, along with an integrated legrest and neck cushions, and you can add a quilted, heated armrest and wireless smartphone charger for the space. BMW says the recline of 42.5 degrees “sets the benchmark in the segment.”

BMW hasn’t included interior space and legroom specs yet. That said, the i7 doesn’t feel as spacious behind the front seats as the Lucid Air, for instance, which is 16 inches shorter overall on the outside.

An M Sport package adds various sporty M-specific design features—most notably, side skirts and deep-set side air intakes—and is now standard on the 740i and 760 xDrive and offered at no cost on the i7. Contrasting black or blue brake calipers and Extended Shadowline Trim are part of an M Sport Professional package. 

2023 BMW i7

2023 BMW i7

2023 BMW i7

2023 BMW i7

2023 BMW i7

2023 BMW i7

The 7-Series lineup incorporates sensing tech from Mobileye and has over-the-air upgrade capability for active safety and infotainment features. A driving assistance system allows the driver to take their hands off the steering wheel on divided highways at up to 80 mph, with continued focus on the road ahead. 

BMW is also striving to make the 7-Series a new benchmark for low-carbon production, with recycled and natural-fiber materials.

The U.S. market will get to see first deliveries of the 7-Series models in the fourth quarter of 2022. 

Pre-orders are now open for the i7 and require a $1,500 deposit. 

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