As governments continue to push for greener technologies, more and more brands are quickly working to add electric-only versions of their vehicles. BMW has already given us the iX and i4. Now, they are introducing the 2023 BMW i7, their flagship electric vehicle.
Motors – Like many other luxury sedans, the BMW i7 is powered by two electric motors to provide an AWD system. Total power output is 536 hp and 549 lb-ft of torque for this xDrive60 model. This is the only powertrain available at the moment. With this sedan weighing 5,917 lbs, acceleration is a brisk 4.7 seconds to 100km/h. Power delivery is smooth and gradual under normal driving conditions. But at the pull of the “Boost” paddle on the steering wheel, power delivery is instant, as though you’ve been launched from a fast roller coaster.
Battery & Charging – In the floor is a large 101.7 kWh battery pack that can provide up to 512 km of driving range. This varies depending on which size wheels you option for your BMW i7 and on other factors such as driving style, ambient temperature, climate control usage and so on.
The 2023 i7 can accept up to 11 kW from a level 2 charger which will recharge the battery from 0-100% in about 10.5 hours. Maximum charge rate from a level 3 DC fast charger is 195 kW and it should result in a 10% to 80% recharge time of around 30 minutes. The i7 also comes with 3 years of complimentary charging at Electrify Canada stations.
Braking – The i7’s brakes are strong. They effortlessly stop the big sedan with ease. Brake pedal feel is also good with easy modulation for smooth stops and a smooth transition from regenerative braking to the physical brakes. There is a one-pedal drive mode, which is selected by moving the gear selector to “B”, but this will always reset whenever you turn off the car.
Handling – For such a big and heavy sedan, the BMW i7 handles quite well for what it is. It’s not the first word in “sporty driving” but it does feel more enjoyable on a twisty road than the Mercedes counterpart. The 2023 BMW i7 also feels quite agile at slow speeds thanks to the rear wheel steering. The back wheels turn in the opposite direction to the fronts at slow speeds to reduce the turning circle.
Ride Comfort – BMW vehicle’s are generally known for having slightly more firm rides than other rivals. But the BMW i7 is as comfortable as an S-class. The air suspension effortlessly glides the big sedan over poorly maintained city streets. Additionally, the seats are plush with a lot of adjustments for your body type. Plus, they have a great massage function.
Interior Space – Whether you sit in the front or the back, the BMW i7 has a lot of space for occupants. I am 6’4” which is above average in height but I can comfortably sit in the front seat and in the back behind my driving position. But it’s the rear passenger side that you’ll want to be in. At the push of a button, you can make the front seat move forward and the rear seat recline for a lot more leg space. The trunk is on the small size at just 500 L (17.7 cu-ft) and there’s no frunk.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – With the lack of an engine, the BMW i7 doesn’t suffer from powertrain vibrations or harsh noises coming from under the hood. But if you want some exciting noises whenever you put your foot down, Hans Zimmer helped produce some futuristic electric sounds that emanate from the audio system. On highways, the only sound that intrudes into the cabin is tire noise which is a little bit more evident with the lack of an engine.
Odds and Ends
Pricing – The 2023 BMW i7 xDrive60 starts at $147,000 CAD ($119,300 USD). But as many other BMW vehicles, the options list is long and comprehensive. This demo vehicle came equipped to the price of $183,300 CAD ($135,100 USD).
Gadgets – Where to begin… How about with the 31-inch, 8K rear entertainment screen that drops down from the roof? Yes, this car has that. There are also little screens on each door panel in the back that allow you to control the seats, temperature, ambient lighting, and the theater screen. When the 8K screen drops, the rear sunshade rises and you can also raise the door shades to make it feel as though you’re in a theater. This is easily the coolest gadget to any car.
The other features seem plain in comparison but this car is equipped with the usual convenience features of leather upholstery, heated, ventilated, & massaging seats all round, high quality surround view cameras, a head-up display, a panoramic sunroof with built-in ambient lighting, and there’s even power doors that can open & close with a simple push of a button.
Interior Design – A lot of the controls in the BMW i7 take inspiration from the BMW iX. There are almost no physical buttons and are instead touch sensitive or infotainment controls. I personally don’t like this as it can be distracting while driving. There are voice controls for certain functions but voice commands don’t always work 100%. Previous generation BMW vehicles had a perfect blend of touchscreen controls and physical buttons for the most used functions like the heated seat controls.
Controls aside, the design of the i7’s cabin looks classy and modern. It has all the markings of a luxury vehicle which include leather in places other than the seats, glass & crystal controls for the iDrive controller, aluminum for the speaker covers, and a unique ambient lighting system. This car exudes a feeling of luxury that is unique to BMW vehicles.
Exterior Design – When I first saw this car in press photos, I thought it looked ugly and BMW went in the wrong direction again with styling. But once I showed this car to a friend, he said that it looked like a corpo car from the game Cyberpunk 2077. Looking at the i7 with that in mind, the car doesn’t look so offensive. It really does look like something from the future and that would have a banker in the back seats.
Safety – This being a flagship model, the 2023 BMW i7 has a lot of advanced driver & safety aids. Everything from detecting other vehicles ahead, behind, and to the side and reacting to them if need be, to helping the driver make boring highway commutes a bit easier thanks to the Highway Assistant. This allows for hands-free driving on certain highways and it’s even smart enough to change lanes on its own.
Warranty – Like many other BMW vehicles, the 2023 i7 is covered by a 4 year / 80,000 km new vehicle warranty. The battery is covered by an 8 year / 160,000 km. For more information on Canadian BMW warranty, click here. For information on USA warranty information, click here.
Conclusion – Although this is a very expensive sedan, the 2023 BMW i7 shows how good an electric luxury car can be. It’s not the first word in ultimate luxury but it is the most well-rounded luxury EV on the market right now.
Thank you to BMW Canada for providing the vehicle. www.BMW.ca