Should an EV look different from its gasoline equivalent, or have we reached the point where electric power becomes just another powertrain choice, like choosing between a four- and six-cylinder engine? Ford, with his F-150 Lightningdecided to make its EV version very similar to the regular F series. Mercedes-Benz, on the other hand, offers the EQS which is not at all like him the current S-Class.
With his novelty of 2023 7th series, BMW is firmly in the camp of making electrification just another powertrain alternative. The i7 xDrive60as the EV version is called, differs from the V-8-powered 760i xDrive only in small visual details: the BMW circle on the hood has a thin blue ring around it, the start/stop button inside is blue, the grille is solid and has a small letter “I” in the vertical element , and, of course, there are no exhaust pipes.
This all-new Seven has clear similarities to the previous model. The basic shape remains a sedan with three boxes and a large interior that provides plenty of space for passengers in both rows. Up front, the large grilles remain, but they retain a horizontal orientation that dominates but does not overwhelm the face of the car. BMW’s signature new headlights are joined by narrow running lights in the upper corners and main headlights an inch or two lower.
A powerful character line runs along the sides of the car, while the iconic Hofmeister curve is present in the rear windows – in triplicate – echoed in the door shape, chrome trim and reinforcement visible in the window. In general, the car is present – looks substantial, elegant and rich.
Part of that presence comes down to sheer size, as the new model is significantly larger than its predecessor. Overall length is up to 212.2 inches, nearly 5 inches longer than before, though the wheelbase has increased by just 0.2 inches — and there’s no short-wheelbase version. The width increases by almost two inches and the overall height increases by about two and a half inches. These dimensions make the i7 the largest car in the luxury sedan segment – by a fair amount.
Battery size and range
Much of this increase was motivated by the need for a battery compartment under the interior floor. This volume is 4.9 inches deep to accommodate the 4.3 inch tall lithium-ion cells. The battery operates at 376 volts and provides a useful energy capacity of 101.7 kWh. That’s good for an EPA range of 296 to 318 miles, depending on wheel and tire options.
These electrons charge a 255-hp electric motor that drives the front wheels and a 308-hp engine. behind. The combined output is 536 horsepower and 549 lb-ft of torque. Both motors use excited field coils rather than permanent magnets to avoid the need for rare earth elements. of course such motors use brusheswhich BMW expects will last the life of the vehicle.
Driving the i7
We predict this powerful powerplant will propel the nearly 6,000-pound i7 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds, and the i7 certainly felt that quick. As with most electrics, the high-torque single-speed transmission is smooth, smooth and responsive, especially around town.
Acceleration falls off as the speed increases simply because the power-to-weight ratio isn’t very impressive, and because the electric motors make maximum power at 8,000 rpm, which is less than half of their 16,700 rpm maximum, which is achieved with the 149s revolutions per minute. top speed mph. So power peaks at just over 70 mph, and without a transmission to keep the engines near their peak, power starts to drop off once you get above that speed.
BMW provides three levels of regenerative braking, as well as single-pedal control when you select “B” on the transmission’s shifter. Using the single-pedal mode makes for a very smooth ride around town, and it also works well when riding hard on mountain roads – uphill, at least. You hardly need to touch the brakes. When you actually push the left pedal, you appreciate BMW’s excellent job of combining regeneration and friction braking without breaks in pedal effort or travel.
Under heavy duty, the i7 feels composed and capable, though you never forget that it weighs nearly three tons. With standard air springs and adjustable dampers at all four corners, and a low-slung half-ton battery, the car corners beautifully when you push.
Selecting Sport mode helps a bit in this kind of driving, as it tightens the shocks, lowers the ride height by about 0.4 inches, and delivers full power. In normal mode, the i7 engines are limited to 489 horsepower, but the same 549 lb-ft. On some trims, you can also flick a switch labeled Boost to engage maximum power and torque for a few seconds.
Running quietly, the i7 rides smoothly and quietly, with a solid structure. The seats are fully adjustable and beautifully shaped, acceleration is easy, and the standard Bowers & Wilkins sound system (18 speakers, 655 watts or 36 speakers and 1,965 watts with the optional Diamond version) fills the cabin with high-definition music of your choice.
Lots of luxury features
The i7’s interior is a lovely place, with jewel-encrusted main controls, beautifully detailed speaker grills and dashboard surfaces, and gorgeous upholstery, including a new optional cashmere/wool blend that feels especially rich. And every car comes with a Panoramic Sky Lounge LED sunroof, which is huge, can create a subtle light show and has a motorized curtain positioned at the front to avoid compromising rear headroom.
The i7 also offers a host of convenience features, such as optional power door openers — front and rear — each with its own battery of sensors to avoid hitting neighboring cars, walls or people.
You can also opt for the Executive Lounge option if you plan to have your i7 chauffeured. It provides a reclining right-hand rear seat—up to 42.5 degrees—including a footrest and heel on the right-front seatback, which slides and reclines as far forward as possible when you engage the option.
Another new feature is the theater screen. It’s a 31-inch 8K LCD screen that folds down from the ceiling for rear passengers. Its dimensions are actually about 30 inches wide by 9 inches tall, so the films will stretch a lot unless you use extreme stretching. But you can move the screen either way to bring the image closer to one passenger in the back seat. This screen, as well as any rear seat adjustments, are controlled via 5.5-inch touchscreens in the armrests of each rear door.
For the human driver, a notable addition is a feature called Highway Assistant, which will simultaneously maintain speed and steer the car on the highway at speeds up to 80 mph without the driver’s hands on the wheel. However, the driver must pay attention to the road and the car follows your eyes with a camera. If you look down or to the side for more than a few seconds, you’ll be warned to either look at the road or put your hands on the steering wheel. The system works very well and can even perform a safe lane change in traffic if you click the turn signal. But if the markings fade or the road becomes too winding, the system will shut down.
With so many features to use the touch interface is very difficult to learn. Almost all functions are shown on BMW’s curved display, which includes a 12.3-inch LCD that doubles as the instrument panel, as well as a 14.9-inch central display, both housed in a wide, gracefully curved, thin panel.
The new eighth-generation iDrive controls everything, and you can operate the center console using the traditional iDrive controller, directly via the touchscreen or using several shortcuts scattered around the cabin. Shortcuts are nice because when you bring up the screen that displays all the car’s apps, there are 43 in total – all with multiple sub-menus. The i7 also offers a pretty good voice control system that works better for common functions than obscure ones.
The instrument panel offers many options for positioning and selecting information to display. But some designs are more creative than practical, with key elements like the graphic speedometer and power displays mostly blocked by the steering wheel rim. It would have been nice to offer a traditional layout with twin circular dials and small information grouped between them, but unfortunately, there isn’t.
Overall, the i7 is a stunning luxury sedan. It’s comfortable, luxurious, effortlessly powerful, impressive looking and offers more comfort and convenience than you can imagine. Of course, all of this also applies to its 760i petrol sibling, which costs $5,700 less than the i7’s $120,295 base price.
But the electric transmission adds an extra element of smoothness and refinement. If you don’t plan on making long trips by car, this is the way to go.
2023 BMW i7 xDrive60
Vehicle type: front and rear engine, four-wheel drive, 5-seater, 4-door sedan
Front Motor: Synchronous AC excited current, 255 hp, 269 lb-ft
Rear Motor: Synchronous AC with excited current, 308 hp, 280 lb-ft
Combined power: 536 hp
Combined torque: 549 lb-ft
Battery: Li-ion with liquid cooling, 101.7 kWh
On-board charger: 11.0 kW
Peak DC fast charging speed: 195 kW
Transmissions, F/R: Direct Drive
Wheelbase: 126.6 inches
Length: 212.2 inches
Width: 76.8 inches
Height: 60.8 inches
Passenger volume: 112 feet3
Trunk capacity: 11 feet3
Curb weight (C/D estimate): 5,950 lbs
EFFICIENCY (C/D EST)
60 mph: 4.1 sec
100 mph: 9.0 sec
1/4 mile: 12.5 sec
Top speed: 130–149 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 83–89/81–87/85–92 MPGe
Range: 296–318 miles
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