Electric Car Awards 2023: Best electric luxury car
With electrified cars now coming in all shapes and sizes – and available to suit every budget – we’ve named the best models in every class. Here we look at the best electric luxury car...
Anyone who tells you electric cars are boring has clearly never travelled in a BMW i7. We say ‘travelled in’ rather than ‘driven’ because this 5.4-metre-long behemoth won’t exactly have you grinning from ear to ear if you’re sitting in the driver’s seat. It’s jolly capable, as we’ll explain shortly, but the i7 unashamedly prioritises people sitting in the back. Just as a luxury limousine should.
Getting in doesn’t require you to do anything as antiquated as pulling a door handle. If your chauffeur is alert, he or she should have pressed an icon on the 14.9in curved display in the middle of the dashboard as you approach the car, summoning the relevant door to swing open automatically. If said chauffeur isn’t sharp enough, though, you can always speed up the process by pressing a small button on the door itself.
But it’s inside where the real fun begins. In fact, the i7 is perhaps better thought of as a mobile cinema, replete with the audio and visual qualities to rival the best picture houses. We’re not talking about a couple of small screens shoehorned into the backs of the front headrests – oh no. Rear passengers are treated to an enormous, 31.3in 8K touchscreen that lowers itself from the ceiling at the touch of another icon.
Thanks to a built-in Amazon Fire TV and a 5G aerial on the roof, you can watch films or stream on-demand TV, all while being serenaded by a mighty 40-speaker Bowers & Wilkins surround sound system with ‘shakers’ in the seatbacks to ensure you feel, as well as hear, every action scene.
Granted, you’ll need to go for this Excellence Pro version (or pay extra) to get a lot of that tech, but even what comes as standard on cheaper versions is impressive. There’s a huge amount of rear leg room, so even if you’re sitting behind a particularly tall chauffeur, you’ll still have several inches between your knees and the back of the seat in front. Head room is also surprisingly generous, despite the fact that the i7 comes with a glass roof as standard.
The i7 is seriously quick, too (0-62mph takes 4.7sec), although acceleration never actually feels that savage because of how quiet it is. You’re aware of the scenery rushing past at an increasingly rapid rate, but it’s closer to the experience you’d get in a private jet at take-off than the assault-on-the-senses gratification of a sports car.
Ride comfort is also superb at all speeds, and this enormous saloon is more agile through corners than it has any right to be. Factor in a long range between charges (at least 300 miles in real-world driving) and fast charging (up to 200kW) and BMW’s flagship is undoubtedly one of the most complete cars on sale today.
For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here