Finally, it became real – recently a new BMW 7-Series sedan codenamed G70 has debuted, which immediately after the debut of the model received an electric version. So symbolically as it demonstrates how important today electric cars have become for well-known brands that seek to set directions and market trends. However, will the “ignition” of the BMW i7 be enough to surprise you?
The BMW-7 Series is the new flagship that sets the standard
Maybe the last time the BMW 7-Series changed so radically was during the debut of the E65 generation. The issue is not only its design for which we have been already partially prepared by BMW X7 SUV, and in general to the extremely high technical level of the new model. For example, the new car is built on a modern CLAR modular platform, adaptive air suspension is used, and LED matrix headlights are already included even in the base BMW 7-Series.
The new model has lost the modification with the V12 engine and the choice of standard or extended wheelbase. However, it turned out that even where it lost, it gained: from now on, the BMW 7-Series is only available with a wheelbase of 3,215 meters and a total body length of 5.39 meters – a real giant! There are also achievements in the range of power units: in-line 6-cylinder engines (petrol or diesel, from 272 to 380 hp) and super-powerful 4.4-liter V8 (544 hp) are now complemented by two hybrid PHEV-versions. And also – for the first time! – BMW i7 electric car, recognizable by its special blue trim and original bumpers.
In fact, the technical differences are much greater than just the décor. Thus, the electric car BMW i7 received its own air ducts and a modified bottom, thanks to which the coefficient of aerodynamic drag fell from the already low mark Cd = 0.26 to an excellent Cd = 0.24. However, the layout of the rear electric motor in conjunction with power electronics units has led to a reduction in the trunk: if in the BMW 7-Series it is 540 liters, the electric car BMW i7 offers 500 liters.
However, in this case, the interior is more important. Everything is ideal: for discerning back seat passengers we offer a 31-inch display, a chaise longue, and separate back seats with ventilation and massage. And the management of all this is collected on separate small 5.5-inch displays mounted on the door.
In general, the new BMW 7-Series sedan surprises with its control system. Forget about the driver-centered center console – now the focus is on two displays (12.3 and 14.9 inches) with OS8. Another feature is the transparent color panel of the BMW Interaction Bar, which acts not only as a decorative element but also as a climate control element. By the way, pay attention: there are no ventilation deflectors – they seem to be hidden under the interior panels (as in other well-known electric cars, you know). Depending on the modification and options, the interior can use a 2- or 3-spoke steering wheel, a variety of seat finishes, and more. At the same time, 4-zone climate control, a transparent panoramic roof, and even heated seat armrests are all included in the base BMW 7-Series.
Moreover, if we talk about the electric car BMW i7, the level of its configuration corresponds to the maximum versions of the BMW 7-Series. Both in terms of equipment and in terms of design or technology – for example, the BMW i7 offers the M Sport package for free, which is also a feature of the highest versions of the BMW 7-Series (740i and 760i xDrive). This is not surprising as the power of the electric car BMW i7 corresponds to the level of the maximum modification of the BMW 760i xDrive and no less!
An electric car that meets the requirements of the time. But does not surpass them
The full name of the electric car is defined as BMW i7 xDrive 60 – this says a lot. For example, the presence of all-wheel drive, implemented through the use of two electric motors. The latter is based on the fifth generation eDrive concept which is a combination of an electric motor with a gearbox and a power electronics unit, a minimum of rare earth materials. Total power reaches 400 kW or 544 hp, total torque is 745 Nm.
It is worth noting that in the future an even more powerful electric modification is expected – the electric car BMW i7 M70 xDrive should offer about 660 “horses”.
The battery is installed at the bottom of the car body, the actual capacity is 101.7 kWh – and this is enough for a range of 590-625 km (WLTP). The power supply system operates with a nominal voltage of 376 volts.
The maximum charging power is 195 kW when charging from a DC terminal (10 minutes add 170 km), or 11 kW when charging from AC mains. Although some competitors already offer more.
Who’s against: key competitors for BMW i7
The story of the competitors can be started immediately with the phrase “traditional German trio”: therefore, against BMW there will definitely be opponents from Audi and Mercedes. The Mercedes EQC luxury sedan is most ideologically similar to the BMW i7: a large electric car with an emphasis on the back seat passenger. Additionally, the electric car Mercedes EQC may not win in power, but significantly wins the distance (up to 770 km), generally acting as one of the record holders in this discipline. For example, another premium “German” of the three – namely the Audi e-tron GT – places a premium on something else: it is more compact and more powerful, it is frankly an electric car for the driver. And it has the advantage of using 800 volts technology, which can significantly increase the power (and speed) of charging. Not surprisingly, the “four rings” are the closest techno-relative of the Porsche Taycan. The latter also has certain aces up its sleeve: versions with a “wagon”, two at once – Sport Turismo and Cross Turismo. And let’s add two “Americans”: the well-known Tesla Model S and the ultra-modern newcomer to the market Lucid Air.
That is, you can already count at least five high-end electric cars that have their own distinctive advantages and are ready to compete with the latest electric sedan BMW i7.
So: what is the BMW i7 for the automotive world?
No doubt it is a modern electric car and a worthy representative in the line of the latest generation of the BMW 7-Series. However, if the BMW 7-Series sedan itself is in many ways innovative, unusual, trendy – including offering an electric version of the BMW i7 – then the electric car itself can hardly be called revolutionary. For example, there is a lack of 800-volt electrical architecture, which is already offered by competitors, and even more affordable electric vehicles.
At the same time – perhaps the “Germans” have left a certain handicap for future electric models? Especially considering that, first of all, such luxury sedans are chosen by customers with rather traditional views and the very fact of the existence of the electric car for them is already revolutionary. From now on the “i” line must develop rapidly and generally grow to the size of the main BMW model line: cars, small and large SUVs. Let’s find out shortly. So, see you soon, BMW!