With everything going electric, car enthusiasts are becoming irritated by the fact our modes of transport are essentially just that, rather than an expression of someone’s personality. In rare cases, some EVs deliver greatness. A prime example is the 2023 BMW i7 xDrive60.
Priced at $297,900 plus on-roads, it represents the pinnacle of luxury and performance in the realm of electric vehicles. As BMW’s flagship, the i7 showcases the brand’s commitment to sustainability, without compromising on the renowned BMW driving experience.
With cutting-edge technology, impressive range, and unparalleled comfort, it sets a new standard for premium electric vehicles. It boasts a sleek and elegant design that blends futuristic aesthetics with classic BMW styling cues.
The body lines are aerodynamically sculpted, contributing to its efficiency and dynamic performance. The signature kidney grille features an enclosed design, emphasizing the electric nature of the vehicle and to make sure the i7 stands out among its rivals.
The grille is illumined at night just to top it off. From its Swarovski inspired daytime running lights to its shaved doors, the overall appearance of the i7 is refined and sophisticated, making a bold statement on the road.
Available in two trim levels, the i7 xDrive60 can be had in M Sport (as tested here) or Excellence. The former offers a more aggressive front bumper, side skirts and rear bumper, as well as an array of gloss black accents rather than chrome.
The interior features an M Sport steering wheel and carbon inserts instead of wood. Getting inside is all part of the experience though, with automatic chauffeur style doors, that open and close via the touch of a button or even voice command.
Once inside, you ponder why you went to Vivid the night before as you’ll be welcomed by an array of LED lighting, with over one million different colour combinations, as well as a luxurious cabin that exudes craftsmanship and attention to detail.
From its seamless dash design that hides away any unnecessary traditional components like air vents and climate control buttons, to its continuous light bar that runs from the dash to the doors that looks as if it was dipped in crystals, the i7 is all premium.
High-quality leather and sustainable accents create an inviting environment, and that crystal effect continues, with the volume knob, drive select, iDrive swivel wheel and even the seat adjusters bejewelled. BMW calls it Crystal Clarity.
The spacious interior offers tons of leg and headroom for all occupants, making longer journeys easy. The seats are supportive and can be adjusted in various ways to cater to individual preferences too.
For the driver and passenger, you have heated and cooled seats as well as a multitude of massage functions. If that’s not enough, even the door cards and centre arm rest heat up as you select the heated seat function.
The luxurious cabin continues to surprise as you delve deep into all the other functions this BMW is capable of. By simply asking “hey BMW” and commanding the car to open all the blinds you are in awe of the sheer size of the moon roof that lies above you.
Cool LED micro-lights embedded in the glass also mean it glows at night. These change in accordance with whatever mood you select. There’s a few to choose from, including Personal, Sport, Efficient, Expressive, Relax, Theatre and Digital Art.
Each creates its own unique experience, complete with a soundtrack composed by Hans Zimmer, whereby the harder you drive the more intense the sound becomes. There’s also a 35-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound system that sounds simply astounding.
The i7 xDrive60 is, as you would expect, a tech-lover’s dream. The BMW iDrive infotainment system takes centre stage, featuring a large 14.9-inch touchscreen display with an intuitive user interface and a 12.3-inch driver’s display.
It seamlessly integrates with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, with everything accessible via the touchscreen, iDrive, voice, or haptic steering wheel controls. The i7 offers advanced driver-assistance systems as well.
These include adaptive and autonomous cruise control, 360-degree cameras, more sensors than NASA uses on a space shuttle, augmented reality in the driver’s display, lane-keep assist, lane departure warning and automated parking.
Unlike most car manufacturers, the automated parking isn’t just a gimmick. Instead, the car literally remembers your exact movements in and out of a space you usually park in, and will mimic your moves to get you in and out of that space without you doing a thing.
This isn’t the car’s main party piece though. Jump out of the front seat and climb in the uber spacious back row and you can watch a 31-inch widescreen, 8K resolution, drop down TV that’s capable of playing Netflix, YouTube and your other favourite streaming services.
You can also surf the web and even connect your laptop via a HDMI output located underneath the TV. Once you are done with it, you can choose to store it away via the touch of a button on the miniature tablet imbedded in both rear passenger doors.
It’s not just the TV that you can deploy from these screens either, with adjustments for the seats, climate control, moods, window blinds, audio source and even the interior lighting, all at hand. It’s so awesome you’ll wish you had a chauffeur.
There’s 500-litres of boot space as well. For all the goodness, and technological glory, there’s a few things that are frustrating, including the placement of a boost paddle behind the steering wheel.
It gives you access to the full 400kW on offer from the i7’s electric motors for 10 seconds, when you’re not in Sport mode. One has to wonder why all the power is not on offer, all the time, regardless of the selected drive function.
Changing the regenerative braking and climate control functions requires a journey through the infotainment screens too. Those things aside, it’s an exhilarating car to drive, with its two electric motors producing 745Nm of torque on its way to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds.
Its 106kWh battery capacity enables and extended range of 625km, making it perfect for long distance travel. The i7 also supports fast charging, enabling a significant portion of the battery to be replenished in a short amount of time (to 80 per cent in 34 minutes).
BMW claims electric consumption of 18.4kW/100km, which was pretty much bang on for us in real world testing. Despite its EV power, the 2023 BMW i7 xDrive60 upholds the brand’s reputation for delivering engaging and dynamic driving experiences.
The electric powertrain provides smooth acceleration and seamless power delivery, resulting in a thrilling ride. The vehicle’s low centre of gravity, combined with precise steering and responsive handling, ensures exceptional agility and stability.
This is remarkable, as the car weighs more than 2700kg and is almost 5.5m long. Thanks to its xDrive all-wheel drive platform, and all-wheel steering, the i7’s adaptive air suspension and 48-volt active anti-roll bar obliterate body roll.
It makes for an incredible ride. All-in-all it’s a remarkable achievement in the realm of electric vehicles, seamlessly combining luxury, performance, and comfort, with stunning design, advanced technology, impressive range, and exhilarating driving dynamics.
What makes the i7 even more desirable is that it’s the perfect chauffeur’s car, thanks to its astonishing ride comfort, completely silent drivetrain and that TV. While it’s perfectly capable of blasting along a windy road, or spirited driving, it’s not really why you buy it.
You buy this car to be driven in, and for that BMW i7 is the perfect example of a car that was destined to be electric, and is a compelling choice that showcases the future of premium luxury sedans.
Our test vehicle was provided by BMW Australia. To find out more about the 2023 BMW i7 xDrive60 M Sport, contact your local BMW dealer.