BMW has revealed the new i7 xDrive60, the first all-electric entrant in the 7 Series lineup. It boasts an EPA-estimated range of 300 miles or what would be similar to about 483 kilometers of travel, and offers all the polarizing look and sci-fi technology of the conventional Series 7 for those looking for an electric powertrain.
Unlike Mercedes’ approach with the EQS and the standard S-Class series, the i7 is integrated into the 7 Series lineup, namely the i7 and 7 Series are visually similar and share the same body, dimensions and cabin. However, the significant differences are under the skin.
It’s not far behind, but it’s not the fastest 7er
The powertrain itself consists of two electric motors, making the 2023 i7 xDrive60 all-wheel drive. The engine driving the front axle generates 255 horsepower (259 PS/193 kW) while the rear has a maximum power of 308 horsepower (312 PS/233 kW). Combined, it’s enough for 536 ps (544 PS/405 kW) and 549 lb-ft (744 Nm) of torque.
The motors themselves abandon permanent magnets and are instead “electrically working synchronous motors.” BMW claims that the new engines do not use foreign earth materials. The i7’s engine feature also improved acoustics, with model-specific mounting and noise encapsulation, making power delivery “virtually silent.”
The i7 xDrive60 can reach one hundred kilometers per hour from zero in 4.5 seconds, 0.5 seconds faster than the 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder 740i, which generates 375 hp (380 hp / 284 kW). However, the i7 is slightly slower at 60 mph (96 km/h) than the V8-powered 760i xDrive. Interestingly, both the i7 and 760i share the same quoted power, at 536 hp (544 PS/405 kW), though the ICE-powered car wins on the torque front, with 553 lb-ft (749 Nm) of maximum torque, not without thanks to its 48-volt mild-hybrid system.
Other interesting comparisons
The new i7 develops more power than the twin-engine Mercedes EQS 580, which generates 516 hp (523 PS/390 kW). However, the Mercedes offers much more torque, with 630 lb-ft (854 Nm) over the i7’s 549 lb-ft (744 Nm). The electric Mercedes is also faster at 60 mph (96 km/h), but not much, setting the sprint at 4.3 seconds. However, while the EQS is limited to a top speed of 208 kilometers per hour (130 mph), the i7 can stretch its legs up to 240 kilometers per hour (149 mph).
Battery, range and charge
The i7 boasts a battery capacity of 101.7 kWh of usable power. BMW says the luxury sedan’s range is 300 miles or about 483 kilometers of EPA-estimated travel, putting it behind rivals such as the Mercedes EQS 580 (340 miles or 547 km) and the Tesla Model S Plaid (348 miles or 557 km).
It has fast charging like other rivals in the market
The i7 can quickly charge up to a rate of 195 kW, and BMW claims it can add up to 80 miles or a significant 128 kilometers of range travel in just 10 minutes. These fast charging rates remain slower than those offered by the Porsche Taycan, which can deliver power at a maximum charging rate of 350 kW. But BMW is making an effort to attract customers with other technological benefits.
Improved adaptive recovery
For example, the adaptive recovery that is included in the BMW iX and i4 was updated to monitor traffic lights and detect downhill sections. Regeneration automatically increases when approaching an intersection, or the power is disconnected from the downhill motors to rotate freely.
Improved software used for refills
BMW has also optimised the charging software, using lessons learned from the i4 and iX. For starters, temperatures for DC fast charging are more precisely controlled, which prolongs the overall battery life. While charging the i7 DC, the software alternates full and partial cooling phases in an effort to reduce stress on battery cells and shorten recharge times. And, once the battery reaches a higher charge level, the charge rate is gradually reduced, rather than the steep drop that would have been the case previously. This gives a more rounded load curve, again shortening recharge times.
They come with interesting prizes
BMW is also launching three years of free Electrify Ameri chargingca, while the navigation of the i7 will calculate routes optimized for loading. Information such as the estimated load level on arrival, the recommended charging time, and the target load level for the subsequent trip are displayed.
Pre-orders opened on April 21, 2022
The 2023 i7 may not be the revolutionary offering in the EV space that some would have expected, but its integrated location in the Series 7 lineup aligns with the brand’s hesitation to put all its eggs in one basket, so to speak. It also gives those looking for a luxury sedan an alternative to the EQS, but we may have to wait until Audi’s A8 e-tron arrives before we start rewarding winners.
Final details, upcoming orders and prices
Pre-orders for the i7 will open on April 20 and the first deliveries are expected in the fourth quarter of this year. The base i7 xDrive60 starts from $119,300 + $995 of destination charge, making it the most expensive in the 2023 Series 7 range.