If you are considering a luxury electric sedan, there are now many more choices than a few years ago. This encompasses recent entries, such as the Lucid Air, Mercedes-Benz EQS, Porsche Taycan, which directly compete with the Tesla Model S. Also among those is BMW’s 2023 i7 xDrive60, a fully electric sedan based on the newest 7 Series.
While its competitors are all using dedicated EV platforms, BMW took a different approach by electrifying the 7 Series, providing the option to have the big sedan with either a combustion engine or an EV powertrain.
The i7 and entire 7 Series lineup have an updated exterior that showcases the latest iteration of BMW’s iconic grille. Whether you fancy the i7’s appearance is for you to decide; it’s certainly not as streamlined as its rivals. Compared to the low-slung Model S or Taycan, the i7 has a more imposing presence on the road, featuring its tall body, upright hood, and squared-off rear end. Essentially, the i7, with its more traditional big sedan layout, will appeal more to buyers who desire a 7 Series but also want an electric car.
The large footprint allows for ample space in the i7, particularly in the rear. Inside, the i7’s cabin is dominated by digital screens. At the front, the BMW Curved Display interface is equipped, encompassing the 12.3-inch instrument cluster and 14.9-inch touchscreen. The infotainment system runs the most recent version of BMW’s iDrive system with a rotary controller on the center console. One can also directly interact with the screen or utilize the voice-activated system to make calls or select music from the Bowers & Wilkins sound system.
In the back, the real entertainment awaits. Activating the Theater Screen that unfurls from the headliner allows you to watch a movie while on the move. It boasts an impressive 31-inch size and 8k resolution, far superior to the small individual screens typically seen in other luxury vehicles. Additionally, it has built-in Amazon Fire TV connectivity. Activating Theater Mode not only involves deploying the screen, but also the side and rear window screens to fully transform the back seat into a personal theater. Just imagine the relaxation of plugging in the i7 and watching a movie while it charges up.
There are also 5.5-inch door-mounted touchscreens in the back that grant access to the Theater Mode and other personal settings. Also worth mentioning are the automatic doors that can be closed and opened at the touch of a button – true luxury!
The i7 is driven by a dual-motor powertrain producing a combined 536 horsepower and 549 pound-feet of torque. According to BMW, it can achieve 0-60 mph in just 4.5 seconds, making it only marginally slower than the V8-powered 760i XDrive. The i7 accelerates with urgency from a standstill, but it doesn’t deliver that awe-inspiring feeling that other electric sedans like the Model S and Taycan provide. If sportiness is desired, BMW is anticipated to release an M Performance version of the i7 at some point.
The i7 boasts a driving range of up to 318 miles and is capable of 195-kW DC Fast Charging. With a DC Fast Charger, it can add about 90 miles of range in just 10 minutes or charge from 10% to 80% in 34 minutes. BMW also offers 3 years of complimentary charging at Electrify America charging stations. If you prefer home charging, it takes under 12 hours to charge from 0-100%.
If you are seeking a high-performance electric sedan like the Porsche Taycan Turbo or Tesla Model S Plaid, it’s likely that the i7 may not be your first choice. The i7 prioritizes luxury and comfort with its large comfortable seats and extremely quiet interior. The i7 is equipped with standard air suspension, effectively smoothing out any imperfections on the road, ensuring an uninterrupted movie experience on the go. With that being said, it’s unsurprising that the i7 lacks the typical handling and fun-to-drive character that we expect from BMW. Behind the wheel, the i7 feels substantial, but passengers couldn’t stop praising the comfort of the interior – “It’s like a lounge on wheels”. Your rear-seat passengers won’t want to leave the ventilated massaging seats.
On the safety front, the i7 comes standard with features such as automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, and blind spot monitoring. The available Highway Assistant allows you to take your hands off the wheel on the highway at speeds up to 85 mph. The Parking Assistant also autonomously parks the i7.
The pricing for the 2023 BMW i7 starts at $120,295, including destination.
Ultimately, the i7 is the ideal EV for 7 Series buyers who don’t want to sacrifice the look and feel of a standard 7 Series but also want to transition to electric. The i7 impresses with its plush cabin, standout tech features, and cozy driving experience. It’s undoubtedly the EV that you want to be chauffeured in.
Image Source: Guitar photographer / Shutterstock