The 7 Series has consistently been at the forefront of BMW’s technology advancements, introducing the newest devices that later trickled down to the 3 Series and 5 Series. Gesture Control, a lit-up panoramic sunroof, a digital key fob with a touchscreen built in, and a first-class seat for the rear right passenger all debuted with the latest generation 7 Series in 2016.
With a galvanic edge, the new 2023 BMW i7 seeks to accomplish the same thing. It is a 7 Series model that is exclusively electric, directly competing with the Mercedes-Benz EQS, Tesla Model S, and Porsche Taycan. The latter three gained an advantage in the market for high-end sedans while BMW chose to concentrate on the SUV sector with the iX. Better late than never, though.
Review 2023 BMW i7 xDrive60
You might even refer to the i7 as unfashionably late. The i7 is a strong statement piece, much like Lewis Hamilton attending practice on Friday. Whatever adjectives you choose to use to describe the uncomfortable front end—fashion, avant-garde, daring—the fact is that it attracts attention, both favorable and unfavorable. Who is to say, anyway? Do you believe that cruising around in a yellow Lamborghini doesn’t also elicit jealous and hostile looks?
However, we feel that the i7 seems unfinished, half-baked, and incoherent due to the strange combination of angles and forms. Although the rear end is more aesthetically arresting than the previous 7 Series, it is still too basic and generic for BMW’s premium vehicle. Nevertheless, the $12,000 two-tone paint job in Sapphire Black over Aventurine Red looks good and is flanked by a stripe where the two colors converge, simulating the coachline on Rolls-Royce cars. However, the stripe on the BMWs isn’t hand-painted on. When done well, like here and on Range Rovers and Maybachs, we have a soft spot for these two-tone paints. Notably, the back bumper and exhausts are the only visual differences between the i7 and the 760i gasoline-powered model. They even share the same $147,000 price tag.
Despite the confusing epidermis, there is a different story hidden beyond the mechanical doors. Unquestionably, the inside of this BMW is the most advanced and equipped to date. It is even more extravagant and striking than the iX SUV. Across the breadth of the cabin is a huge light panel that may change color based on the selected ambient illumination or driving mode. And at last, there is a brand-new BMW steering wheel that is both aesthetically pleasing and comfortable to handle. The leather grips nevertheless feel substantial and upmarket despite being very thick and heavy. The sole ‘Boost’ paddle shifter and the signal stalks are disappointingly the same plastic design from 2012, but the rest of the crystal switchgear is a marvel in craftsmanship.
With more padding and a wider range of adjustment, we believe the chairs to be more supportive and pleasant than the EQS and Taycan. The ability to open and close all the doors with a touch of a button in the center menu is a party trick that will never get old, even though the automatic doors appear to be a gimmick. But since the less expensive Genesis G90 adopted the concept, it has less of a billionaire’s feature status.
When the appropriate option boxes are selected, amenities are not lacking. In the instance of our i7, $51,000 in options was specified, which is equal to 1.5 Subaru BRZs. Digital screens are therefore present on both the front and back of the vehicle. The main attraction is the fixed glass roof’s fixed 31.3-inch cinema-style display ($4,900), which is mounted on a track. Admittedly, it covers much of the view out the front and is bigger than our computer monitor. High-definition visuals with vivid colors are displayed on the screen. We were able to stream Netflix and YouTube on the car’s own 5G internet and enjoy the 4D audio experience, which adds bass shaking to the seats for increased immersion.
But there are some negatives to it. If the front seats are too far back, which is always the case since I’m six feet tall, the screen cannot be lowered due to its size. To utilize the screen, I have to uncomfortable wriggle my seat forward, but even then, it ends up being significantly too close to the back passengers. In the end, it’s more like being in a stationary car because the screen already obscures the view out the back window. It’s preferable to pull the thick side and rear blinds up for complete privacy, park the car, get in the back, and watch a movie. You can do it or hire a dwarf driver.
The i7 now features 5.5-inch permanent touchscreens on the door panels, which streamline the control system, in place of the removable Samsung tablet used in the previous 7 Series. They control every aspect of the operation, including the massage and reading light brightness. Even while we found it to be more complicated than actual switches and buttons, it doesn’t come off as gimmicky. However, it ought to be encouraging and keep the i7 afloat through the following few years of emerging technology.
The position of the driver’s seat is equally special. Taking control of the i7 gives you access to 536 horsepower and 549 lb-ft of torque thanks to its 101.7 kWh lithium-ion battery and two electric motors. Standard all-wheel drive allows for a quick 0-100 km/h time of 4.7 seconds. Yes, the 760i fueled by gasoline will get there in 4.2 seconds, but it also has a lower weight of about 400 kg and somewhat higher torque.
The i7 has a rapid acceleration time and is agile. It never seems sluggish or awkward, and should you ever need to prove something, there is even a Boost paddle shifter on the left side of the steering wheel. Additionally, a rear wheel steering system and an adjustable suspension make it nimble when rotating. It takes some getting used to the sensitive reactions to pitch and yaw, just as the EQS. Due to the darty front end, we ended up overcorrecting and oversteering and had to alter our inputs. The Taycan, in our opinion, still has the best steering response and feels the most natural, but the i7 doesn’t completely cut the driver off from the road like the EQS does.
The i7 appears to tiptoe through town and floats with a cloud-like sensation that cancels out all suspension motion, leaving only slight vertical oscillations that can be felt. It can be confusing at first because it’s so effective. Some EV-naive passengers may feel fairly queasy due to the distinct sensation of instantaneous, uninterrupted EV acceleration as well as the constant jerking of regenerative braking.
We then reach the range. The i7 xDrive60 is advertised to travel 517 kilometers on a single charge, but the actual range we experienced was closer to 405 kilometers due to a number of factors, including a significant amount of highway driving, the battery’s vulnerability to cold temperatures below zero degrees Celsius, and the fact that we regularly left the heated seats and steering wheel on. Comparatively, the Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 is rated at 547 km, while the Porsche Taycan 4S is rated at 320 km. However, the latter two appeared to have a better assessment of their driving range and seemed to lose more of it more precisely as we drove.
In the world of all-electric vehicles, the BMW i7 is a technological showcase. There’s no denying the attention it has garnered, even though we don’t think it will be as well-liked or received as the Mercedes EQS or Porsche Taycan. Although the rear entertainment screen is intriguing but also somewhat restricted in its capabilities, we admire BMW’s gutsy decision to provide something distinctive. The automatic doors and pad screens on the back doors operate similarly. Like any contemporary BMW, the i7 has superb driving dynamics and is genuinely enjoyable to drive since it doesn’t cut the driver off from the thrill of the open road. We can’t wait to see how all these new technological advancements will filter down to the rest of the BMW portfolio because it’s a bold statement piece for a bold brand in a bold market.
- Model: 2023 BMW i7 xDrive60 Sedan
- Paint Type: Aventurine Red III / Sapphire Black Two-Tone
- Base Price: $147,000
- Price as Tested: $198,100
- Wheelbase(mm): 3,215
- Length/Width/Height (mm): 5,391 / 1,950 / 1,544
- Curb weight (kg): 2,684
- Powertrain: 101.7 kWh lithium-ion battery, front and rear electric motors
- Horsepower: 536 hp
- Torque: 549 lb-ft
- Transmission: Single-speed transmission
- Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
- Claimed Range: 512 km
- Observed Range: 405 km
- Tires: Pirelli P Zero Winter; 21-inch tires