New “No Compromise” 2023 BMW 7 Series Includes 300-Mile i7 EV


BMW’s flagship 7 series is getting a complete rework for 2023 and for the first time it will be offered as a completely electric model. The G70 generation of the 7 stays away from the more futuristic design language Mercedes-Benz has adopted for its EVs and retains a more traditional sedan profile albeit with a significantly new face. BMW Group CEO Oliver Zipse repeatedly refers to the new 7 as a “no compromises” luxury sedan, but in a rapidly changing automotive environment, is it really?

Let’s start with the design. The most substantive change is the front lighting signature. Like the X7 that showed off a mid-cycle update just a week before the release of the 7, the sedans get a horizontally split light setup that will look immediately familiar to anyone that has seen a recent product from Genesis. The upper horizontal strips on either side are the daytime running lamps while the lower portion contains adaptive headlamps. Another option for both gas and electric 7 series is the perimeter lighting around the grille that was seen on the early teaser images.

While the look isn’t entirely original, it does have the benefit of spreading out the lights vertically compared to the old integrated appearance. This in turn creates the optical illusion that the twin kidney grille has gotten a bit smaller. We’re not sure of the exact dimensional comparison for the 7 grille, but the X7 features the same look and while the grille hasn’t been reduced in size, it does look slightly less massive.

That new front lighting look is evidently something that will be reserved for top end models including the X7 and 7 series sedan. Don’t expect this layout on the next 3 series.

Within the lower part of the grille, there is a flat rectangular panel that hides some of the front sensors including the upcoming lidar. The Innoviz lidar won’t be available at the launch of the 7 series, but should be available sometime in 2023. A close look around the fascia also reveals cameras, radars and ultrasonic sensors all of which are part of the new driver assist suite.

The optional Driving Assistance Professional includes the highway assistant function. This is a hands-free driving mode for divided highways that still requires the driver to keep their eyes on the road at all times. As with previous versions of the system that worked at up to 37 mph, an infrared camera watches the driver to ensure they are paying attention. While BMW has been working on a so-called level 3 system that doesn’t require full-time driver supervision, that’s not yet available, and BMW executives seemed reticent about if or when it will ever come to market.

Another available feature is the augmented reality display in the instrument cluster. Using the forward camera view, it displays navigation prompts so they appear adjacent to the roads where turns must be made. Cadillac has a similar system in the Escalade, but since it requires looking down at the instruments instead of watching the road, it is less useful than an augmented reality heads up display like the one available in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and EQS.

Move back around the sides and the rest of the design is nicely executed but not in any way groundbreaking. Even on the electric i7 there is no indication that this is anything but a large BMW sedan. It has a classic three-box profile with a long hood and the cabin set back as BMWs have pretty much always had apart from the now discontinued i3. It’s almost as if the modest response to the i3 over its production run has made BMW designers a bit gun shy to try anything really innovative. Whatever one may think of the Mercedes-Benz EQS and EQE, they at least look visually distinct from their ICE siblings. The same cannot be said for the i7 and i4.

This all comes down to BMW’s decision to refrain from fully committing to go electric. The Munich brand is projecting that 50% of its global sales will be fully electric by 2030, leaving the other 1.25 million with some sort of ICE in place, although at least hybridized. Since BMW sells cars in 140 markets, many of which will be much slower to go electric, it has opted for flexible architectures that can go either way.

Thus despite the description of the 7 as a “no compromises” premium luxury vehicle, it is indeed compromised in some ways that will likely annoy some customers that have been looking at other EVs. The battery powered i7 packs a 105-kWh lithium ion battery pack with nickel-manganese-cobalt cells under the floor. The same two 5th generation motors used in the i4 M50 also provide motivation here with 536-hp. That’s enough to move this big machine to 60 mph in about 4.5 seconds. That’s not going to win any drag races against Teslas or Lucids or Hummer EVs. But it’s probably more than adequate and it will no doubt have the smooth, seamless thrust that 7 series V12 owners have come to love and can no longer buy.

The new 7 has grown in all dimensions, particularly longitudinally. At 212.2 inches, it is 5.1-inches longer with an extra 1.9-inches in width and 2 inches of height. That latter dimension may be attributable to the need to reserve space below for the battery pack of the i7. The wheelbase has only increased by 0.2-inch to a total of 126.6-inches.

Like the i4 and iX, BMW has decided that front end storage is not required under the long hood of the i7. While there is obviously a need to package climate control, cooling and electronics, other automakers have managed to do that and have a front trunk. Mercedes-Benz skipped the frunk, but also cut the whole front end down to a minimum and utilizes a larger rear cargo space.


The i7 apparently also shares its floorpan with the gas powered 740i because the driveshaft tunnel is still present, just as it is on the i4. The main portion of the trunk is also relatively shallow although there is a deep well under a panel behind the rear motor.

Final range numbers for the i7 won’t be available until later this year, but right now BMW is projecting over 300 miles. The Mercedes-Benz EQS has just slightly more battery capacity and a range of 350 miles while the Lucid Air can achieve over 500 miles depending on the configuration.

BMW has integrated power opening and closing for all four doors. Pressing the button next to the handle will pop the door out a few inches and a slight pull on the edge will bring it all the way out.

The cabin of the new 7 has more substantive changes than the exterior design. It has adopted the same large curved screen layout used in the i4, iX and the refreshed X7. There are two separate displays within, a 12.3-inch unit for the instrument cluster and a 14.9-inch touchscreen unit for the iDrive infotainment. The 7 launches with iDrive operating system V8.0 and like other recent BMWs includes support for over-the-air software updates. Below the screens, there is a new touch sensitive interaction bar that spans the dashboard and wraps into the door panels. The backlit bar is covered in a crystaline surface and incorporates climate controls and seat heating controls

Those that choose to ride in the back seat will have a particularly luxurious experience. 5.5-inch touchscreen displays in each door provide access to controls for temperature, windows, media and the controls for the optional executive seats that can recline up to 42.5 degrees. A new option on the 7 is a 31-inch, 8K theater display that drops down from the ceiling. Like some other automakers including Stellantis, BMW has integrated Amazon Fire TV into the 7 for media streaming. In addition to Prime Video, users can subscribe to other services including Netflix, Hulu and HBO Max through their Amazon account.

Despite having an ultrawide screen, BMW has opted not have split screen capability so each passenger can watch something different. BMW has also decided against having a screen for front passengers, claiming that it is either too distracting for the driver or a bad experience for the passenger depending on how it is implemented. Mercedes-Benz uses a camera to watch for the driver looking to the passenger side and automatically turning it off which would be an issue for a passenger watching something. Stellantis uses a privacy filter that makes the screen look black when viewed from the driver’s seat so there is no distraction issue.

One other problem with the theater screen is that when deployed, it completely blocks the driver’s view to the rear. While the outside mirrors are still present and the 7 has a backup camera, there should still be a view straight back while driving. BMW could have achieved this by using a digital camera mirror system, but has opted not to offer this feature.

Three 7 series variants will launch in November 2022. BMW has already announced that the V12 is being discontinued. The base version is the new 740i with a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine and 48V mild hybrid. The electric motor is integrated with the transmission and the total output is 375-hp and 383 lb-ft. The 740i will be priced from $93,000. The 760i with a new 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 and mild hybrid will produce 536-hp and be priced from $113,600.

The battery electric i7 will have the same 536-hp but the 549 lb-ft is available from zero rpm using the same 5th-generation dual motor configuration found on the i4 M50. The 105-kWh (101.7 kWh is usable) battery pack is expected to deliver about 300 miles of range with a price starting at $119,300. That’s about $6,000 less and with slightly less power than the Mercedes-Benz EQS 580, and 40 miles less range. The i7 is capable of charging at up to 11 kW from an AC charger and 195-kW on a DC fast charger which should add 80 miles of range in about 10 minutes.

In 2023, BMW will add a 483-hp, 750e plug-in hybrid variant to the lineup. No other details are available right now, but it is expected to have about 30+ miles of electric driving range.

BMW is only projecting about 50% of its global sales to be all electric by 2030 which is somewhat less than many of its competitors. Using a flexible architecture like those used for the 7 and 3/4 series that allows it to adjust the powertrain product mix based on demand in different regions of the world. However, it does have inherent compromises including less optimized packaging and less than best in class range. As long as the range is still sufficient to meet customer needs, that may be adequate, but consumers will ultimately decide if BMW has made the right choice.


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