The future is now at BMW. The venerable 7 Series has gone electric, and BMW has packed it with everything imaginable for the up-to-the-minute luxury car buyer.
Not to be outdone by the Mercedes-Benz EQS sedan, BMW has delivered an executive EV that is ready to compete on every point. It’s also the most expensive currently in its class, though that could change if Faraday Future actually begins production on its FF 91 Futurist next month.
The BMW i7 is a new EV based on the latest 7 Series platform. The 7 Series is BMW’s full-size luxury sedan, made by BMW since the 1970s and now in its seventh generation. In addition to the i7, the 7 Series continues to be available with its traditional gasoline engine, with mostly identical bodywork.
The new i7 carries a starting price of $120,295 including destination fees, placing its price point well above competitors such as the Mercedes-Benz EQS, Tesla Model S, Lucid Air and Audi e-tron GT.
From the outside, the 7 Series is every inch a full-size German luxury sedan. The body styling is traditional, with only BMW’s idiosyncratically large kidney grilles making this generation substantially distinct from the sixth generation. The i7 looks heavy, solid, and carries the gravitas of a car whose owner is more likely to be sitting in back than in the driver’s seat.
The interior of the i7 is a futuristic wonderland of technology. As mentioned, the car is made with the idea that the most important person will be sitting in the back on the right-hand side. BMW even makes that seating position different with the optional $7,250 Executive Lounge Package. This buys you an extendable leg support for the right-rear seat, like an easy chair.
As anyone who has used a town car service knows, the front passenger seat gets moved forward so the primary asset can stretch out in comfort. There are even small touchscreens built into the rear door armrests to allow the boss to control his or her environment, and a wireless phone charging pad back there.
In the front seats, the vista is a clean, high-tech design. The 12.3-inch driver display and the 14.9-inch infotainment screen are placed in a single curved unit that stretches from the driver’s side to the center of the vehicle, and very few buttons are included. If you want it, there’s a massive 31.3-inch rear seat entertainment system mounted in the ceiling and fed by a 5G data connection so you can stream your favorite movies. That screen is included in the Executive Lounge Package.
One feature I found hard to get used to is the automatic opening and closing doors, part of the optional Executive Package priced at $6,550. When you’ve spent a lifetime opening and closing car doors, it’s hard to wait the extra second for the car to swing the door shut when it detects your weight on the seat. Give it another week and I’d probably get used to it, and after a month I might even sit like an idiot in another car waiting for the door to close itself. It’s worth noting that the only other car I’ve driven with anything like this feature was a Rolls-Royce.
Oh yeah, the seats are very nice and upholstered in Merino leather, as you would expect. All the touch surfaces are heated, and so on — the i7 is a six-figure luxury sedan. You won’t be disappointed.
The i7 comes with standard dual motors, front and rear. Total system horsepower is 536, with 549 pound-feet of torque. That translates to a 4.5-second 0-60 time and a top speed of 130 mph. As is typical with EVs, there’s no transmission, just direct drive.
Range is 296 to 318 miles on a full charge, and the system accepts DC fast charging. The real world application of that means that at most public chargers you’ll be able to add 100 miles in the time it takes to relax and enjoy a nice espresso or a quick lunch. I sat and caught up on e-mails while I recharged.
Safety and Technology
As you might imagine, the i7 comes with a full complement of the very latest in safety and advanced driver assistance tech. It’s not intrusive, but like all modern luxury cars, the i7 will complain at you if you drift too close to the edge of your lane. The parking distance sensors work well with the 360-degree camera system to allow you to park perfectly. That’s part of the optional Driving Assistance Pro Package for $2,100 and the Parking Assistance Package for $1,250.
As mentioned, there’s a 12.3-inch driver display and a 14.9-inch infotainment screen. The operating system is pretty easy to use, but like most of these systems, the voice control is the way to go. The test vehicle had the optional Bowers & Wilkins sound system, a jaw-dropping $4,800 add-on. It sounds great, which it should for that kind of money.
The i7 grows on you as you drive it. At first it can seem heavy and unwieldy, but that heavy feeling is just standard BMW sedan driving dynamics. Over time, I came to appreciate the smooth, supremely quiet ride, and by the end of the week, I knew I would miss the i7. It’s fast, goes where you want it to go, and as you would expect from BMW, it’s very well engineered. I was able to master 1-pedal driving on the first day, and rarely touched the brake pedal after that.
On the winding mountain road that leads to the small town where I live, the i7 took the curves with aplomb, and didn’t seem to lose much range climbing the mountains. Normally you will suck up about 100 miles of range in the 25-mile climb, then get it all back again on the downhill side. But the BMW just made the climb without drama, and then gave me back all the range again during regen. Around town, the i7 is a comfortable, easy-to-use car, with a massive trunk.
2023 BMW i7 Specifications
|Dimension||L: 212.2 inches/W: 76.8 inches/H: 60.8 inches/Wheelbase: 126.6 inches|
|Powertrain||Dual electric motors, direct drive transmission and all-wheel drive|
|Fuel Economy||87 MPG-e combined/296 to 318 miles of range|
|Performance Specs||536 horsepower and 549 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||Base price: $120,295; As tested: $151,995 including $995 destination charge|
|On-Sale Date||Available now, but orders may not be filled until 2024|
The price may be the Achilles heel of the i7. As I mentioned, it starts over $10,000 above the second-place Audi e-tron GT, and the starting price is about $20,000 more than the Tesla or the Mercedes. It’s $30,000 more than the much-praised Lucid Air or even the sporty Porsche Taycan.
The thing is, the $120,295 starting price is really just the beginning. By the time you apply all the goodies that I described, the MSRP on the i7 that I tested was an eye-popping $151,995. I’m not saying you can’t get there with some of the other competitors, but you can also get yourself into the Benz or the Lucid for a lot less. With all that in mind, the BMW i7 will be for buyers who really want the specific combination of features that BMW offers and are willing to pay for it.
2023 BMW i7 — Frequently Asked Questions
Is the BMW i7 available now?
Deliveries of the pre-ordered 2023 i7 xDrive60 started in early 2023. Delivery of later pre-orders to start as of summer 2023, and due to limited availability of the 2023 i7 xDrive60, later orders may receive a 2024 i7 xDrive60 at a price not yet determined, but which may differ from the pricing offered for the 2023 model.
How long does it take to charge the BMW i7?
Every BMW i7 comes equipped with the Flexible Fast Charger. This portable device, compatible with any 120V or 240V outlet, delivers optimized charging wherever you go. Charge from 0% – 100% in under 12 hours at a 240V outlet. DC Fast Charging will add about 100 miles of range in 30 minutes or so.
How much does it cost to install a BMW charging station?
The BMW home charger can be purchased directly from BMW for $999, but the cost of installation may vary depending on the amount of electrical work needed.