BMW is making history with its flagship sedan 7 series. For the first time since the inception of the series in 1977, the gas-powered 7 Series was announced with an electric counterpart, the BMW i7. Even the gas versions have a mild hybrid system integrated.
There will be two versions of the gas powered BMW 7, base six-cylinder model and a more powerful V8 version. The base 740i sports a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six engine plus a 48-volt mild-hybrid assist. The total output will be 375 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque, which is 40 hp over the outgoing model. The 48 volt hybrid system can maximise the torque to 398 lb-ft in short bursts effectively enabling the sedan to accelerate from 0 to 62 mph (100kmh) in 5.0 seconds.
The upper tier 760i xDrive gas powered BMW uses a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine with the same mild-hybrid assist system, giving it a total output of 536 hp and 553 lb-ft. That power propels the sedan to 62mph (100kmh) in 4.2 seconds. Both cars are embedded with the same eight-speed automatic transmission and have a top speed of 155mph (250kmh).
Now on to the fully electric version, BMW has officially labelled it the i7 xDrive60. It uses two electric motors, one for the front and the other for the rear. Together the motors produce 536 hp just like the V8 model and 549 lb-ft. The i7 can sprint to 62 mph in 4.5 seconds and on to a limited top speed of 149 mph (240kmh).
The electric BMW relies on a single battery pack with 101.7 kilowatt-hours of usable energy which is good for an estimated total EPA driving range of 300 miles (482km). According to the automaker, the battery can fast charge in a DC station at a rate of up to 195.0 kilowatts giving the sedan 80 miles of range in just 10 minutes. To further entice the deal, i7 owners in the US will get unlimited free charging at Electrify America for the first three years of ownership.
Being a luxury sedan the 7 series has to ensure a comfortable ride, to that end, BMW has incorporated a standard four-corner air suspension system with automatic self-leveling and electronically controlled dampers. The adaptive suspension lowers the car in Sport mode and raises it in off-road situations. It also comes with adaptive steering which gives the car more precision at higher speeds. There’s also rear-wheel steering at a rate of up to 3.5 degrees to help turn the big sedan in tight corners.
As part of the redesign, the new 7 series features a large kidney grille and a new split light where the LED and the head lights are no longer grouped together.
Inside the 7 series at the front is a single continuous curved piece of glass that hosts two screens: a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel and a 14.9-inch central touchscreen running the latest infotainment version, the iDrive 8 software. Ventilation and climate control functions are located in a crystal surface with touch-capacitive controls.
Moving towards the back, there’s an optional 31.3-inch, 8K Theater Screen display located between the front two seats, it can be folded to the car’s roof when not in use. It gives rear passengers access to built-in Amazon Fire TV and other online services. To control the screen, rear passengers can either touch it or use two 5.5-inch tablets mounted within the door panels.
Sound is catered for by 18 in-car speakers but there’s an option to splurge for a 36-speaker 4D audio Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System. Four of those speakers are integrated into the headliner for extra immersion.
Standard on all BMW 7 series will be active driver-assistance functions which will include a new “Level 2 Plus” hands-free driving system. There’s also advanced Remote Smartphone Parking, which allows the driver to control the vehicle’s operation both inside or outside of the car using their phone. Finally, the 7 series has a new Reverse Assist that lets the sedan to back itself out of a tight situation with no steering input from the driver needed.
BMW will start shipping the 7 series starting November this year. Pricing for the base 740i starts at $94,295, with the $995 destination fee included. The V8-powered 760i xDrive costs $114,995, and the electric i7 goes for $120,295.