The BMW i7 2023 proves that a luxury car does not need internal combustion

Zoom / BMW is now confident enough in its electric range that it has built an all-electric 7 Series along with the petrol-powered versions.

Jonathan Gitlin

PALMS SPRINGS, CA – For decades, automakers such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz have battled each other in mass tests for the title of “World’s Best Car,” an honor given by several magazines. The fight was usually between the 7 Series and the S-Class, with occasional challenges from Lexus. Jaguar and Cadillac often lag behind.

Today, there is a serious new contender for the crown with the latest generation of BMW’s 7 Series going on sale.

I got attached to cars as technology during the early ’90s, and what’s the way cars have come about since then, as powertrains and power sources pushed new boundaries, and interiors became sturdier and more protective for their occupants.

The Bavarian OEM made the decision a few years ago to invest in a vehicle architecture that doesn’t rely on a powertrain, so the new 7 Series will be available with an internal combustion engine, as a plug-in hybrid (which will come to the US in due course), and as an all-battery-powered version called i7. BMW brought both gasoline and BEVs to Palm Springs for the International First Drive, and you can read about the 760i xDrive elsewhere on these pages today.

But the star of the show is the i7, which proves once again that if you want to make a luxury car even better, give it electric motors.

Electron power really makes a better luxury car.
Zoom / Electron power really makes a better luxury car.

Jonathan Gitlin

The electric version is on full par with its gasoline-powered partner, including a new advanced driver assistance system that lets you roam hands-free on pre-divided highways and a massive curved theater screen for lucky back-seat passengers. BMW even manages to make the car a pleasure to drive.

The i7’s electric powertrain technology is now relatively familiar. It’s BMW’s fifth-generation electric powertrain, and it debuted in last year’s i4 sedan and iX SUV. They use the same family of electrically excited synchronous motors for both axes, which are fed by a lithium-ion battery pack that uses prismatic cells. (BMW is switching to the cylindrical cells of its sixth-generation EV platform, which we’ll see in 2025 at Neue Klasse.)

There is only one i7 on sale right now, the $119,300 i7 xDrive60. The vehicle uses a front engine of 255 hp (190 kW) and 296 lb-ft (401 Nm) and a rear engine of 308 hp (230 kW) and 380 Nm (380 Nm) for a total output of 536 hp (400 kW) and 549 lb-ft (745 Nm). The battery pack contains 101.7 kWh of usable capacity out of a total capacity of 105.7 kWh.

This is the second time the BMW 7 Series has been launched in Palm Springs that Ars has attended;  Someone must love mid-century architecture as much as I do.
Zoom / This is the second time the BMW 7 Series has been launched in Palm Springs that Ars has attended; Someone must love mid-century architecture as much as I do.


The i7 has an official EPA range estimate of 318 miles (512 km) on the smaller 19-inch wheels and 308 miles (496 km) when wearing 21-inch wheels, as was our test car. Over a 2.5-hour drive that featured a lot of change in elevation and very little urban driving, it averaged 2.7 mph (23 kWh/100 km), slightly better than 2.6 mph ( 23.9 kWh/100 km) EPA rating.

Free up and down

DC fast charging takes 34 minutes to return the battery to a state of 80 percent charged (SoC), or 80 miles (129 km) every 10 minutes, and i7 owners will get three years of unlimited charging sessions at Electrify America. I tried charging my i7 test, but my attempt at fast charging ended with partial success. I got to the charger with 56 percent of the SoC remaining, but the session was terminated with a bug or error after just a few minutes and 9.5 kWh, bringing the battery to a 67 percent SoC.

If I really needed to increase the battery up to 80 percent, I unplugged and plugged it back in to try troubleshooting, but I didn’t need 80 percent and didn’t feel like wasting half an hour on the phone to be told no one knows The reason for its occurrence is also.

On my return, I informed the BMW engineers of the problem and when they knew I was using an EVgo charger, they gave a knowing nod and said yes, they had been having problems with this bank all month. (BMW brought waves of international media over several weeks to drive the i7; Ars and other US and Canadian outlets were the last.) Fast charger reliability from earlier this summer.

#BMW #proves #luxury #car #internal #combustion

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