Two schools of thought are emerging as electrification continues to proliferate throughout automaker’s lineups. One is to create entirely new platforms upon which EVs are based, with completely different styling and interior treatments.
The other is to develop platforms with shared exterior styling and interior accoutrements, designed to accept either ICE or electrified powertrains. After taking the former path in 2012 with the i3 and i8, BMW has pivoted to the latter approach with its current crop of EV sedans, including the 2024 BMW i7 xDrive60.
The dynamic qualities of EVs lend themselves well to luxury car applications. The quiet and smoothness exude sophistication regardless of the vehicle into which they are installed.
Combine this with palatial surroundings hosting a wealth of cutting-edge comfort and convenience tech and you’ll have a brilliant luxury sedan. This is exactly what BMW has done with the 2024 BMW i7 xDrive60.
One must look very carefully to spot an i7 from the front. The blue ring around the BMW roundel is a clue, as is the lack of openings behind the bars of the grilles. At the rear, the missing exhaust outlets reveal you’re looking at an i7, along with the i7 badging on the trunk lid. Otherwise, the sedan’s proportions and configurations are the same. In other words, the 740i and the i7 are pretty much identical to the casual observer.
The same is true inside the car, where the floating digital display dominates the dash, while an optional fold-down 31.5-inch display offers a cinematic experience to rear-seat occupants.
Touchscreen displays in the rear door panels provide access to comfort, convenience and infotainment features. Go with the Executive Lounge package and rear-seat passengers will also be treated to power-adjustable reclining seats, a wireless smartphone charging pad, and extra-plush headrests.
The car with which I spent a week was equipped with the xDrive60 all-wheel drive powertrain. A pair of electric motors — one assigned to the front wheels and the other assigned to the rear — powered the BMW. Combined output is a quoted 536 horsepower.
Range is an estimated 318 miles; however, I saw 325 on a full charge. A 101.7-kWh battery pack stores energy and is stated to be capable of accepting 80 miles of range in 10 minutes, when connected to a DC fast charging station.
By the way, Electrify America and BMW have teamed up to offer free 30-minute charging sessions for the first three years of ownership of the i7.
Safety and Technology
Getting back to that 31.5-inch rear-seat entertainment screen, content from Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube can be streamed to it over the car’s 5G connection. Web browsing can also be conducted, using the iPhone-sized touchscreen displays in the rear door panels.
Up front, version 8.5 of BMW’s iDrive infotainment system is accessed through the wide screen digital display on the dash. One can also order up a variety of comfort and convenience functions simply by saying “Hey BMW,” and telling the system what you want it to do — including opening and closing all four doors.
The usual suite of contemporary driver assistance aids is present, plus hands-free driving on the highway and a system that allows the driver to exit the vehicle and let the car park on its own.
Sheer and utter competence in every driving situation best characterizes the i7’s nature on the road. Unrivalled comfort, exceptional quiet and delightful smoothness dominate the experience. The i7 also exhibits outstanding stability at speed and agility belying its size.
Runs to 60 from rest were consistently accomplished in just over 4 seconds and each flex of my right foot delivered a satisfying surge of strong acceleration on the highway.
Now, with all of that said, I have driven ICE-powered examples of the 7 Series in the past that felt more athletic in nature. Anyone getting into an i7 looking for an Alpina B7 experience is likely to be left wanting.
However, if you desire the quintessential big BMW experience in a quieter, smoother and more sophisticated package, the i7 could well be what you’re after.
2024 BMW i7 xDrive60 Specifications
|Dimensions: L: 212.2 inches/W: 76.8 inches/H: 60.8 inches/Wheelbase: 126.6 inches
|Twin current excited synchronous AC motors; direct all-wheel drive
|85 mpg-e city/89 mpg-e highway/87 mpg-e combined
|536 horsepower and 549 pound-feet of torque
|Base price: $119,300; As tested: $156,595
If this is the future, you can sign me up right now. With but a few exceptions, every time I get out of an EV and into an ICEV, I’m struck by the relative crudeness of the latter.
The noise, vibration and harshness we’ve come to accept over the years — regardless of how well any given manufacturer has mastered it — is exacerbated after driving an EV. This is especially true of one as nice as the 2024 BMW i7 xDrive60.
2024 BMW i7 xDrive60 — Frequently Asked Questions
What is the range of the BMW i7 in miles?
According to the EPA, that battery pack will get anywhere from 296 miles to 318 miles of range, depending upon the size of the wheels fitted to the car. Smaller wheels return more range.
Does the BMW i7 qualify for a tax credit?
As of this writing, (September 2023) the 2024 BMW i7 is eligible the federal tax credit of up to $7,500.
What is the top speed of the BMW i7?
Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph.