The BMW 7 Series has often been the model that showcases the latest in technology, innovation, ultimate comfort and upmarket desirability for the German automaker. The i7 is a luxury saloon with a sizable footprint. Its length is a substantial 5.4m and width is a shade under 2m, but more importantly for those on the inside, the i7’s wheelbase measures 3.22m.
At the front of this upmarket saloon the upper daytime running light strips are embellished with Swarovski crystals that gleam as you walk by them. A sporty bumper with a contrast black surround for the grille and main headlights adds more flash, and there’s no missing that grille even at night – it comes outlined by an LED strip; ‘Iconic Glow’ in BMW terms.
The i7 is conventional in profile. It’s got a traditional three-box shape and that’s down to its underpinnings. The i7 is built on the same platform as the 7 Series with only badges and subtle blue details distinguishing the EV versions. It has the same hard points as its petrol/diesel siblings. Mercedes’ EQS, for reference, is based around an EV-only architecture. The 5.4-metre-long i7 has a stately air about it, a look helped by a block-like and flat surfacing all around. A high-deck boot, wide-sweeping tail-lights and diffuser-like element at the bumper lend the i7’s rear some distinction too.
The i7 in the xDrive60 version, comes with 544hp, all-wheel drive and a 106kWh battery. At the base of the range is the €140,175 Excellence model, which includes 19-inch double spoke alloy wheels, an electric boot lid, auto-dimming mirrors, the ‘Iconic Glow’ light-up grille, soft-close doors, the curved dashboard display that joins the 12.3-inch instrument panel and the 14.9-inch infotainment screen together, front and rear heated seats, Merino leather upholstery, panoramic glass sunroof and four-zone climate control. As standard, you also get a Bowers & Wilkins sound system, active cruise control with braking, the ‘BMW Interaction Bar’, a head-up display and adaptive LED headlights.
You can upgrade to an M Sport model for €5,540 more. That costs €145,715 and includes 20-inch ‘M Aero’ alloy wheels, black exterior trim instead of chrome, BMW’s ‘Iconic Sounds Electric’ sound effects, an M leather steering wheel and M Sport brakes with dark blue calipers. You can add as an option BMW Individual Two-tone Oxide Grey Metallic Paintwork for €14,217. You can also add a technology pack for €7,108 which includes Driving Assistant Professional, Parking Assistant Pro, Bowers and Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound. A Rear Comfort Pack adds Front and Rear Heat Comfort System, Multifunctional Rear Seats, Rear Massage Seats, Ventilated Rear Seats, Rear Side Window and Windscreen Electric Blinds. The Rear Comfort Pack is priced at €6,462.
The i7’s interior is a spectacular achievement and backs up design director Adrian van Hooydonk’s claim that his team crafted the car from the inside out. BMW has managed to harmonise the elements, make the technology user-friendly, and create an environment that feels wholly modern—connected, mindful, and hugely comfortable. It’s also impeccably put together.
The cockpit is a work of art, with beautiful leather, chrome and crystal glass interior. Wide use is made of Swarovski crystals, including in a full-width “Interaction Bar” on the instrument panel, which lights up in different colours and incorporates the air-conditioning vents. The touchscreen and infotainment system are gently curved and crystal clear. As mentioned BMW combine a 12.3-inch instrument display with a longer 14.9-inch main infotainment glass touchscreen. The screens are controlled by a mixture of voice, touch, steering wheel buttons and the iDrive click-wheel down on the centre console which is now presented in crystal in the i7. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are integrated. The rear seats are sumptuous, have wireless charging pads, and speakers that allow you to conduct your phone calls via Bluetooth, and although it wasn’t fitted to our test car, there is the option of a 31.3-inch widescreen in the rear that folds down from the roof. You can connect video sources to it via HDMI or USB-C cable or stream video via a dedicated eSim data connection and Amazon Fire software. The Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround hi-fi system is superb to accompany widescreen viewing. There is 860mm of rear legroom in the car, so more than generous.
The boot has a capacity of 500 litres which is adequate, but not huge. There’s also a handy under-floor storage area. Front seat occupants get two USB-C sockets in the armrest storage box, those in the rear get USB-C sockets built into the back of the front seats, under a little sliding cover.
Even if the back is the best place to be to relax, the i7 proved an engaging driver’s car. It was surprisingly nimble through some very twisty terrain and made for an excellent motorway cruiser, sitting comfortably at the speed limit but with plenty more power should you need to overtake at lower speeds.
The two motors deliver a total of 544hp and 745Nm with a 0-100km/h time of 4.7 seconds, figures which are impressive for such a large vehicle, yet will be surpassed by an even more potent version known as the i70 M70 released in the second half of this year in Ireland. The regenerative braking is great, allowing one-pedal driving around town, and just the right amount of slowing to handle many country corners without having to touch the brakes
By virtue of the i7’s big battery (106kWh), the range is up to 625 kilometres, with the ability to add 170km of range in 10 minutes on an ultra-fast charger. The i7 will go from 10 per cent to 80 per cent charge in 34 minutes on a 150kW charger.
The BMW i7 xDrive60 represents a significant leap forward for BMW’s flagship luxury saloon. Thanks to its impressive suspension, noise isolation, and material quality, the i7 is not just a tremendous full-size luxury saloon but it’s poised to be a proper segment leader.
Model tested: BMW i7 xDrive60 M Sport
Engine: 400kW from two electric motors ,106kWh battery
Transmission: Single-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Power: 544 hp
Torque: 745 Nm
0-100km/h: 4.7 seconds
Top speed: 240 km/h
Combined Economy: 18.4-19.6kWh/100km
CO2 emissions: 0 g/km
Motor Tax: €120 per year
Our test model: €145,715