BMW's All-Electric Luxury Sedan: the i7
High end, limo-like luxury and elegance is now available in an all-electric package with the all-new BMW i7 sedan. It is similar to the gasoline-powered 7-series as far as roominess and the feeling of being truly pampered as you roll down the road is concerned. But this i7 adds amazing performance thanks to having an electric motor at each axle. Zero to 60 mph happens in just four and a half seconds.
The timing for Beemer’s lush EV saloon car couldn’t be better as Mercedes-Benz has also released its amazing EQS 450+ luxury EV sedan this year and Porsche has made great strides with its more sporty Taycan 4S model EV. The stage is set for an ongoing all-electric rivalry.
The 2023 BMW i7 comes with every bell and whistle known to man, though the addition of the Executive Lounge Package offers such amenities as electrically-reclining, massaging rear seats in rich leather, extra comfy headrests, and a wireless smartphone charging pad. A massive 32-inch LED TV is available for rear passengers that drops from the ceiling to allow entertainment from such streaming services as Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube.
The i7 debuts as the xDrive60 all-wheel drive model and word has it that an M-sport model may be offered in the future adding more “oomph” to the ultimate driving machine. While the look is all limousine and luxury, there are those BMW purists who are disenchanted with the squinty crystal headlights and the big car’s enormous mock air intake grille “kidneys” that have been a Beemer staple since 1933.
The sedan’s electric powertrain is much like BMW’s iX all-electric SUV with its two electric motors, one for each axle, producing an astounding 536-horsepower. As you might expect, the ride is brisk, lush, and very quiet. You are cradled in the lap of luxury and comfort as you whisk along. The i7 will take you 318 miles before it needs a charge to its large 101.7-kWh battery pack and the automaker says you can add 80 miles of range in just 10 minutes when using Level 3 DC Fast Charging. BMW includes three years of free 30-minute charging at Electrify America charging stations as part of the package.
BMW i7: Interior Space and Comfort
Just as in the gas-powered 7-series, there is plenty of upscale room and extreme comfort to be had in the i7. The cabin is bathed in innovation and high design, a panoramic sunroof is known as the Sky Lounge. A curved glass digital display extends across the dashboard which features BMW’s Interaction Bar with ambient lighting. It is the biggest 7-series car ever and every passenger gets the full luxury lounge treatment in rich Merino leather.
Available Automatic Doors open and close for you. Yep, you don’t even have to open the doors yourself. Once inside, the Bowers & Wilkins surround sound system and built-in Amazon Fire TV keeps rear passengers occupied with the 32-inch theater flat screen. Cargo space is an impressive 11.3 cubic feet in the trunk. However, because the i7 was built on the same platform as the internal combustion version of the 7-series, there is no frunk up front for storage and the cabin floor is not flat as in some purpose built EVs.
The floating digital infotainment display is borrowed from the iX SUV and offers BMW’s all-new iDrive 8 system. It shows off various widgets such as navigation, radio, weather, and a multitude of apps. You create an ID to help the system learn what you like, to hook up your mobile devices for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A personal assistant can make calls for you, play specific music, change the radio controls to pump up the bass… or not. All can be accessed by touchscreen or a knob on the console.
An entire suite of driver assist features come standard and include automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and lane-departure warning with lane-keep assist. Also available are such marvels as hands-free driving on the highway and even a parking assist that lets you step outside the car and park it via a smartphone app.
Conclusion: Performance and Pricing
As we write this, the American market now has two fully fledged high luxury all-electric sedans to choose from in the Mercedes EQS 450+ and the new BMW i7. The Mercedes is a beautifully designed five-passenger saloon car with 329 horsepower and a zero to 60 time of 5.9 seconds. It will take you 350 miles before you need a charge. The EQS has an MSRP starting at $102,310.
The BMW i7 is just enormous inside, offering extreme comfort for five and is both more powerful and quicker than the Mercedes. But those 536 horses and zero to 60 time of 4.5 seconds will cost you seventeen grand more with a starting MSRP of $119,300.
But then, if speed is your major consideration, the more compact Porsche Taycan 4S can handle zero to 60 in 3.8 seconds for $106,500… not that these mega EV luxury sedans are about going really fast while you’re pushed back into all that comfy leather.