Initially, the BMW i7 is only going to be available as the xDrive 60 model, which gets an official WLTP range of up to 387 miles. That makes this one of the longest-range cars that you can buy, but it’s still not enough to beat the Tesla Model S and Mercedes EQS, both of which go further, with the EQS getting close to 500 miles per charge. Even so, the BMW i7’s range is really great, but it’s the fact that the i7 is such a technical extravaganza inside that really makes it stand out.
Of course, you get masses of space whether you’re up front or in the back of the i7, which is only available in long-wheelbase form in the UK. Take a look at the options list, though, and you’ll see an ‘Executive Pack’. At £10,500 it’s really pricey, but it brings with it the BMW Theatre Screen, which is a huge screen that goes almost the whole width of the car, and descends from the roof to give you hi-def viewing time. The i7 comes with its own wi-fi hotspot, too, so you can easily get your Netflix or Amazon streaming services going while your chauffeur takes you to your destination.
The same options pack also brings two electrically-reclining seats in the back, instead of the standard three-person bench. The heated- and cooled seats are also complete with massage function, while retractable blinds keep your adoring fans and paparazzi at bay.
That’s not where the tech experience ends, either. Unfortunately it’s another option, but for £850 you get the Sky Lounge Panoramic Glass Roof, which upgrades the standard panoramic glass roof with inset lighting, meaning that the glass roof displays a gorgeous, back-lit pattern at night in whatever colour you fancy. Automated door opening is also available, so that you can control the doors via the voice control or touchscreen. Basically, if specced up with all the available extravagances, the i7 genuinely has the sort of ‘wow’ factor that you’d expect in a Rolls-Royce rather than a BMW, which just goes to show how high end the i7 is.
Mind you, all of this stuff is expensive and optional so it’s worth pointing out that the i7 does come with a huge array of standard luxuries, too. Even on the cheaper Exclusive trim, you get a powered bootlid, four-zone climate control, 19-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery and polished oak interior trim, electric seat adjustment, head-up display, adaptive LED headlights, and all the touchscreens and semi-autonomous safety and driver aid features that you can possibly need or want. In fact, the main infotainment touchscreen is a lovely, curved touchscreen that has wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, sat-nav that shows a live video stream of the road with an arrow to show you where you’re going, and much more. Even an ‘Iconic Glow’ illuminated kidney grille is a standard feature, meaning that nobody could mistake what you’re driving – even at night.
M sport trim is offered, too, and brings bigger alloys wheels and various sporty styling tweaks inside and out.
As for how it drives, the i7 is exactly what you want it to be, which is extraordinarily quiet and comfortable. The tech might be Rolls-Royce-esque, but so is the effortless way that the i7 goes down the road on its standard adaptive air suspension. It is heavy, though, at nearly 2.7 tonnes, and while you’re conscious of that sheer mass, the suspension is so well sorted that it manages to make the i7 feel reasonably sporty and responsive if you do want to enjoy a decent road.
The i7 gets two electric motors – a 190kW motor at the front and a 230kW motor at the back – which give it a total power output of 400kW and 745Nm. But even with that much power, the 0-62mph time of 6.1sec shows that the i7 isn’t the sporty drive that most of its rivals claim to be. Even the Mercedes EQS and Tesla Model S are a bit more enthusiastic, never mind the unashamedly driver-focussed Porsche Taycan and Audi e-tron GT.
BMW i7 Range, Battery and Charging
The BMW i7 is only available as the xDrive60, which gets four-wheel drive thanks to its two electric motors, and a 101.7kWh usable battery capacity. It is offered with loads of upgrades and options, so while it’ll do up to 387 miles according to official WLTP tests if you stick with the smallest 19-inch wheels and no optional equipment, that range will drop by as much as 20 miles if you go for bigger wheels and lots of additional extras.
Charging is via the CCS and Type 2 sockets that are located where you’d expect the fuel-filler to be on a ‘normal’ petrol car - on the flank of the car. It will accept a rapid charge of up to 195kW, which isn’t as quick as the Porsche Taycan but is very nearly as quick as the Mercedes EQS, and will get you 106 miles of range in ten minutes if you’ve plugged into a powerful enough DC rapid charger. Plug into a standard 7kW home charger and you’ll have a full battery in under 15 hours, or the i7 will charge at up to 11kW via its Type 2 socket for a full charge in just over 9 hours, but bear in mind that very few UK homes can support anything more powerful than a 7.4kW home charger.
BMW i7 Price
At £108,305 and up, the BMW i7 xDrive60 isn’t cheap by any standards but it is very competitive with its nemesis, the Mercedes EQS 450+. Not only that, but for the range, interior space, equipment and general luxury, it makes the Porsche Taycan and Audi e-tron GT look expensive – even if these are both much faster, more sporting options that’ll better suit anyone looking for an enthusiast’s luxury EV. If you are after a less pricey luxury electric saloon, Tesla has the answer with the Model S.
BMW i7 Practicality
The BMW i7 is only available as a long-wheelbase car (there’s a shorter version in other markets), which means that it’s a 5.4m long car – nearly 40cm longer than the Tesla Model S, for some reference. That means that parking may be tricky (although there is a standard, semi-autonomous parking aid that even learns how you like to park in your driveway or other regularly used spaces), but the flipside is that you get serious, limousine-worthy interior space for those in the back. You’ll be hard pushed to find anything short of a Rolls-Royce or Bentley limo that’ll better the i7 for passenger space. Naturally, any driver will be able to get comfortable up front, and there’s plenty of storage cubbies, too.
BMW i7 Verdict
The BMW i7 is the best luxury electric saloon that you can buy right now, if comfort, refinement and tech are your priorities. Sure, the Mercedes counters with the remarkably Hyperscreen and a much longer range, so there are plenty of reasons why you might got for the Merc – or one of the faster, more driver-focussed alternatives such as the Porsche Taycan. But if your passenger’s experience is your absolute priority, this is the electric limo for you.