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BMW i7 and 7 Series First Drive Review

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BMW i7 and 7 Series First Drive Review

BMW i7 and 7 Series First Drive Review

BMW i7 and 7 Series First Drive Review

Here’s an interesting fact: China buys 45% of all BMW 7 Series cars worldwide. Another 20% to the United States. A mere nine percent. That explains why the new 7 Series appears the way it does. The roads of Berlin and Paris are no longer as relevant to the objectives of the 7 Series.

Beijing and Shanghai are more interesting. A massive grille, split headlights with Swarovski crystals, and an upright stance bring together brutalism and finesse to make a completely different shape. This new flagship design language will also be used on the X7 and XM.

It’s no secret that not everyone likes it. When I first saw it, I took two steps back. Then I saw one all black, which hid the details upfront, and I thought, “Hmm.” Still, many people think it looks nice. Each to his or her own! It’s not often that BMW makes a new flagship car, and this one has given the company a chance to change some of the rules.

The styling is just the beginning. The 7 Series has been rethought from the inside out, and while its main goal is still to offer the best in luxury, it does so with its quirks and personality. There’s a new platform, powertrains, an all-electric version, a whole new backseat design, and much more! I drove the all-electric BMW i7 xDrive60 and the 760i xDrive, which has a V8 engine.

Design of the 2023 BMW 7 Series and i7

It is interesting to see how Mercedes-Benz and BMW have taken different approaches. Merc has made a whole new line of electric cars. The electric flagship EQS is very different in how it looks, feels, and what it is like to drive. But in BMW’s lineup, the i7 is just a 7 Series with an electric drivetrain, which is part of the larger 7 Series.

I like the way it’s done. It keeps things the same and more familiar. Aside from how they move, there aren’t many differences between them. A blue ring surrounded the BMW roundels on the exterior and steering wheel, and the absence of a tachometer on the instrument cluster. That’s the end of it.

Interiors of the BMW 7 and i7.

Both the outside and the inside are interesting. Like the iX, two curved screens mostly take up your view. The materials are top-notch, and the controls have a lot of crystals on them. The cashmere upholstery made the seats some of the most comfortable I’ve ever been in.

The screen for entertainment runs iDrive OS8. At first, it was a little hard to understand, and I was pretty confused. I didn’t get the hang of it until I used it more in my updated 3 Series at home. The different drive modes also change how they move.

Instead of just evolving how the car drives, this changes the experience of being in the car. The drivetrain and chassis are faster in Sport mode, and Hans Zimmer added a dive-bomber-style soundtrack to the car.

The seat backs are also made more supportive. In the “Expressive” mode, the sunroof is open, and the sounds almost sound like music. In “Relaxation” mode, all the blinds close, making the back passengers feel like they are in a cocoon.

Backseat for 2023 BMW 7 and i7

Now we’ll talk about what’s most important: the back seat. The new 7 Series now has a longer wheelbase than the long-wheelbase version of the last generation. Which means there is a lot of space. You can sit back, pull out an ottoman, and relax while getting a massage, just like in every limo in this class.

The big draw here is the 8K, 31.3-inch theater screen that appears when you ask for it using the touchscreen panels in the door. It’s cool, especially when waiting for the i7 to charge back up. It can also be used on the go, but the driver’s view through the IRVM is blocked.

The doors open and close when you push a button, which is a nice Rolls-Royce touch. Bowers and Wilkins have a good sound system. Your backside can be cooled, warmed, and massaged. And you can control everything except the controls for the driver from the small touchscreen on your door handle.

performance for the 2023 BMW i7

Still, let’s talk about those guts. The i7 xDrive60 has a battery pack with 101.7 kWh connected to two motors, one on each axle. It has a total output of 537bhp and 745Nm, which is about the same as the V8. To 100 km/h carries 4.7 seconds.

Just a friendly reminder that this sedan is 2.7 tonnes heavy. It also feels like it. The throttle response is like that of an electric vehicle (EV), and the big numbers on this one can be felt. The Sport mode is fast. It works well enough for everything else. But the quiet has to be the best thing about the drivetrain.

Luxury cars have extra insulation to make the ride as quiet as possible, and an electric drivetrain is naturally suited to that kind of driving. The i7 feels right. Even though it’s BMW’s first electric flagship, it seems to know what it needs to do to impress. Performance with no effort. No matter how fast you’re going, keep the cabin quiet.

Ride and handling of the 2023 BMW 7 Series and i7

How’s the ride, you ask? I don’t recognize what to say except that I felt the cat’s eyes on the page more than I wanted to. We drove the car in the United States, where the roads are great, so it’s hard to know how it will do on Indian roads.

But it stays put on highways that are as straight as an arrow. At speed, it stays solid and gives you confidence. Beijing can’t get enough of it, but it’s clear that the i7 was made to be driven like an Autobahn. Not even a little bit. For a reason, BMW held its global press drives in a town at the foot of a mountain.

A quick blast up and down can show you a lot. The chassis gives the driver a clear picture. I don’t want to use the old-fashioned metaphor of an athlete in a suit, but that’s exactly what it is. It can move around in ways you wouldn’t expect from a leviathan this size because it can steer with its back wheels.

An active anti-roll system counters body roll, so the boss in the back can’t tell when you’re speeding up. With two motors and all-wheel drive (AWD), the i7 has plenty of traction and can rocket out of corners at a speed that hurts your stomach.

Conclusion

As far as top-of-the-line electrics go, the i7 stands out. Fast, comfortable, luxurious. It doesn’t change anything to be different, and that’s a good thing. Traditional BMW handling skills are still there, and comfort is a given. What’s the best? When you’re inside, you don’t have to look at it. And you would rather be nowhere else.

The S-Class and the 7 Series have been rivals for decades, but this 7 Series is further away from the S than ever. Even though they compete in the same market, I don’t think a typical S-Class buyer would ever buy these 7.

As soon as you see it, it says, “Look at me!” The interiors are a fresh take on a format that hasn’t changed much over the years. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the people who like it will want nothing else. And BMW did well to move into that space.

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