2023 BMW i7 xDrive60 – Ultimate Luxury


For those who want to be chauffeured in the back, there is no replacement for a luxury sedan. Although they have been overshadowed by the popularity of SUVs and Crossovers in the last decade, there is still a loyal audience willing to pay the premium to have the ultimate luxury experience. The 2023 BMW i7 is here to challenge the new frontline of EV luxury sedans, which is even more fiercely competitive with the newcomers in this segment, such as the Lucid Air, or Tesla Model S.

Not every EV is meant to be luxurious and comfort-oriented, just like the Porsche Taycan, BMW decided not to reinvent the wheel when they created the i7. The 7-Series has been on the market for decades, offering one of the most luxurious sedans available with traditional BMW driving dynamics, and the i7 aims to keep what the 7-Series is already good at.

The “i” sub-branding represents the future of the EV model lineup, and the i7 enhances BMW’s commitment to making pure EVs. The i7 is the biggest, most luxurious and most expensive pure electric option available in the brand’s model lineup. The 7-Series has never been a huge volume seller, and the i7 will not change that, but it is a demonstration that BMW is serious about electrification, and it won’t be long before every model will have an electric variant.

Speaking of the looks, just like a few other BMW models, it is a polarizing design language. BMW isn’t new when it comes to controversial looks, they have been doing it since the beginning of the 2000s. The trend continues here but with a balance of modern and industrial fashion. The oversized front kidney grille is illuminated, but the one-shape design is not the first BMW model we have seen, but it looks slightly better when you have it on a huge vehicle like the 7-Series.

The hood line is quite high, meaning that the whole front fascia is plastic bumper. However, the two-piece headlight design is probably the most controversial design feature. I do not find the current gen 7-Series aesthetically pleasing to look at, but it is unique and futuristic, and the details such as the two-tone paint job, and upper headlights with Swarovski crystals are small details that still give it the special look in general.

The unique design features can be seen from all angles, especially when you get into the details. The rear design looks a little bit more traditional than the front end, but it is still undoubtedly a BMW. The two-tone paint continues throughout the vehicle and goes all the way down to the taillights. The M-specific rear bumper looks much sportier.

Just like the exterior, the interior design is futuristic with modern lines, flat surfaces, and a nice blend of high-quality materials throughout the dashboard. As expected from their flagship luxury sedan, the fit and finish are top-notch. The first thing your eyes would set upon is the large curved screen behind the steering wheel. Every i7 gets a 14.9-inch touchscreen and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster standard. The front seat comfort is excellent, they are softly padded but still offer great support with massage features for everyone in the car. As expected, any part of the seat including side bolstering can be electronically adjusted, it is one of the most adjustable options available on the market.

The center console has the most amount of haptic feedback buttons that you still need to take your eyes off the road to find the right one, but it is better than having everything buried in the infotainment system. What’s more impressive is the “Interaction Bar” which looks like a crystal strip that goes across the dashboard. It incorporates many functions to eliminate actual physical buttons and it shows dynamic mood lighting that offers several different colour options.

The i7 comes with the latest infotainment system which I found it takes a little bit more time to get used to, compared to the older BMW software, especially the main menu can be confusing, but thankfully there is a search button for the feature you are looking for. On the other side, the digital cluster is a big step forward in terms of customization, but more importantly, everything can be controlled through the physical knob located on the steering wheel without taking your eyes off the road.

If you are considering buying the 7-Series, there is a chance that you are planning to take the rear passenger seat more than the driver’s seat, and we would do the same because it is even better in the back seat, especially the passenger side. The rear passenger seat can fully decline, just like a business class seat, and the front passenger seat moves forward to provide maximum legroom. As expected, massage, heating, cooling and all types of adjustment options are available for both sides of the rear seat passengers.

The rear seat features are quite impressive, but it’s something you would find in other exotic luxury sedans. What you can’t find is that each rear seat passenger can go through the features and settings via 5.5-inch touch screens which are embedded in the doors, and a giant 31-inch, 8K drop-down movie screen for the rear passengers is just the icing on the cake. The system comes with Amazon Fire TV standard, or alternatively, you can simply plug in your electronic device to the HDMI port. If you just want to watch the skies instead of a TV, you can simply fold it up and enjoy the Sky Lounge LED glass roof.

For the price range, you expect to be pampered in the rear seat with all types of fancy features, but what I was not expecting is an actual middle-row seat. Technically, the i7 is a 5-seater, but the middle row is really for emergencies and I do not understand why BMW did not offer a center console as an option. Either way, the middle row will most likely be used as an armrest that you can also access to the trunk.

Speaking of the trunk, it is probably one of the only areas that the BMW i7 falls behind the competition. The trunk measures around 11.4 cubic feet (323 lt) which is quite smaller than gas-powered 7-Series. As expected, the rear seats are fixed, so it is less flexible when you compare them with traditional luxury sedans. It also does not come with a front storage space like some luxury EVs, which is a common problem when manufacturers use one platform for EVs and gas-powered entries like the i7.

As you do not get any storage space in the front, it means that BMW had to place the electric motor on the front axle, right under the hood. Although it is hidden under the giant plastic piece, it is quite a powerful unit. Even though our tester (xDrive60) is not the most powerful version, it is still very fast. It sends a total of 536 horsepower and 549 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels, and it can do 0-100 km/h in a little over 4 seconds.

The electric motors are being fed by a large liquid-cooled lithium-ion 105.7 kWh battery located underneath the i7 between two axles, and Level 3 DC charging is available with a peak charging rate of 195 kW that can charge the battery pack from 10% to 80% in about 30 minutes. For many people charging overnight at home, Level 2 charging is also available up to 11 kW from a 48-amp station. The i7 will have an EPA-rated driving range of 300 miles, which is more than enough for any type of daily driving even in cold weather.

The BMW i7 is one of the few vehicles that I wasn’t sure if I should take the driver or the rear passenger seat, just because there is something to enjoy anywhere you sit. Behind the steering wheel, it not only offers one of the most comfortable driving experiences, but it still carries over the traditional BMW driving experience with a surprisingly nimble and compliant chassis.

The suspension is cushy even in the sportiest setting, but it gives you confidence when you are pushing its limits. The car feels very balanced at high speed, mainly due to the battery location and lower center of gravity. As expected from an EV, the immediate throttle response, and endless torque gives you that roller coaster experience that you usually don’t expect from a vehicle that weighs over 6000 lbs. The i7 comes with a rear axle steering that gives a tighter turning radius, and that’s the main reason why the i7 feels smaller and more nimble behind the steering wheel.

When you drive the i7 normally as you should drive a luxury sedan, it is an extremely isolated experience from the outside. You do not hear anything, the tire and wind noise is minimal, and there is a dead silence in the interior, which means you can enjoy the music and other amenities more when there is less external noise. Just like the other luxury EVs, the luxury factor is amplified when there is no internal combustion engine, as you do not get any vibrations or engine noise when you accelerate.

At the end of the day, the fundamental deficiencies of an EV are still here, there is no magic formula for that. If you are planning to take longer trips regularly, you should plan your route with charging stations, unlike a gas-powered 7-Series. With the starting price of $160,000, the purpose of having an EV is not saving money, but it makes the i7 a better 7-Series as a luxury vehicle with fewer moving parts, less maintenance and a better experience in general.

EngineCurrent-excited synchronous AC
Battery Pack105.7 kWh – Liquid-cooled lithium-ion
Max power536 hp
Max torque549 lb-ft
0-100 km/h4.2 sec
Curb Weight6067 lbs – 2751 kg
Range308 mi – 495 km
Price (As tested – CAD)$212,145
Website: www.bmw.ca

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