2022 BMW i7 electric car revealed: price, specs and release date
The BMW i7 is the German firm’s fully electric flagship car, with a 388-mile range and the latest tech, including an optional screen for watching films...
On sale: December 2022 | Price from: £107,400
An eye-catching watch is a mainstay of luxury culture, but while a mechanical Rolex was once the height of wrist-based bling, now the tech-heavy Apple Watch is muscling into the crowd. The same could soon be true for luxury cars, because the all-new BMW i7 aims to offer all the comfort and refinement you'd expect from a traditional range-topping model, with the added benefit of electric car technology.
Arriving first in xDrive60 form, the new i7 will be powered by front and rear-mounted electric motors that together produce 537bhp and 549lb ft of torque, propelling the car to 62mph in just 4.7 sec. Power is drawn from a 101.7kWh battery, giving the i7 an official range of up to 388 miles. That's significantly more than the figure for the Audi e-tron GT (298 miles), but less than the Mercedes EQS 450+ can officially do (an impressive 453 miles).
The i7 will have a maximum charging speed of up to 195kW from a DC charger, and if you can find a suitably powerful charging point, approximately 100 miles of range can be added in just 10 minutes. A charge from an 11kW wallbox will take a lot longer.
In spring 2023, the i7 will be joined by two plug-in hybrid (PHEV) BMW 7 Series models: the 750e xDrive and the M760e xDrive. Both these cars will feature a 3.0-litre straight-six petrol engine paired with a 197bhp electric motor, and will get four-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
In 750e xDrive form, the 7 Series will produce 483bhp and 516lb ft of torque, and the M760e will produce 563bhp and 590lb ft of torque. Both cars will have the same 18.7kWh battery for an official electric-only range of up to 50 miles. That's less than the Mercedes S-Class 580e’s 65 miles, but more than the Audi A8 L TFSI e’s 37 miles. Unlike those cars, no pure petrol or diesel versions of the new 7 Series will be offered in the UK.
Where the new 7 Series looks to stand out from rivals is with its exterior design. Around the front, the new model features a bold grille and a split headlight design, which are unique to flagship BMW models (as seen on the updated BMW X7 luxury SUV).
Lighting is also prominent on the new 7 Series, and all models come with adaptive matrix LEDs as standard that dip and adapt to the road ahead. Crystal headlights will be available as an option, with 14 LEDs illuminating Swarovski crystals to act as the daytime running lights. On top of this, the grille is backlit by 22 crystal LEDs at night.
Inside, the new 7 Series and i7 feature minimalist interiors inspired by ‘digitalisation’, with the infotainment and climate controls integrated into a giant curved display that wraps around the driver, significantly reducing the number of buttons.
The curved display consists of two screens: a 12.3in driver’s display and a 14.9in central touchscreen that houses BMW’s eighth generation of iDrive infotainment system. This can be operated via both the touchscreen and a crystal rotary dial on the centre console. Below the screen sits a new Interaction Bar, which is a touch-sensitive bar that controls the climate functions.
In the back seats, passengers will be just as well looked after as those in the front, because all models will be long-wheelbase variants, so legroom in the back should be plentiful. What’s also plentiful in the back is technology: each rear passenger will have a 5.5in touchscreen to operate the audio system, seat adjustment settings, climate controls, and ambient lighting.
If you fancy transforming your 7 Series into a moveable cinema, you can also specify an optional ‘Theatre Screen’ which enables rear passengers to stream TV shows, films, music and games via a 31.3in foldable screen.
At 525 litres for the plug-in 7 Series and 500 litres for the i7, boot space should be capacious and more than enough for your holiday luggage. However, this is slightly less than the rival S-Class 580e’s 535 litres and the EQS’s 610 litres. On the plus side, though, it is much larger than the 390-litre boot of the A8 TFSi e.
In the UK, the new 7 Series will be available in two trim levels: Excellence and M Sport. Pricing for the plug-in hybrids has not been announced, but we can expect those cars to be priced below the fully electric i7, which starts from £107,400. That makes it competitive with both the S-Class 580e and the EQS, which start from £108,705 and £102,160 respectively.
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