The BMW 7 Series enters its seventh generation with the arrival of the new 2023 model, and one could argue that, even with all the icons before it, this is the most important 7 ever. For the first time since its debut way back in 1977, the petrol-powered 7 Series comes with an electric counterpart, the BMW i7.
It’s all part of BMW's push toward electrification. CEO Oliver Zipse says that new EV models will be coming "thick and fast" beginning next year, as the company is fully committed to the Paris Climate accords and plans a move toward a fully electric lineup in the future, following Rolls-Royce and Mini before it. All told, BMW Group could have as many as 10 million battery-electric vehicles on the road by 2030, with the i7 joining the iX and i4 before it.
You might remember that we got a chance to sample both the petrol and electric versions of the 7 Series in prototype form earlier this month. But that short time behind the wheel provided a brief preview of what to expect. Today, BMW has uncovered the two flagship models in full, and as Zipse would put it, the pair represents "tech magic at its best."
Gallery: 2022 BMW 7er
Three petrol, one diesel, two PHEVs and one EV
In Europe BMW will offer three versions of the petrol-powered 7 Series at launch: a base six-cylinder model and two powerful V8 versions. The base 735i sports an upgraded iteration of BMW's turbocharged 3.0-litre inline-six engine but now with the addition of a 48-volt mild-hybrid assist. Total output for the 735i sits at 282 bhp, which marks an improvement of 30 bhp over the outgoing model.
Next up for Europe is the 740i also with the turbocharged 3.0-litre six cylinder 48-volt mild-hybrid assist with total output at 375 bhp. At full tilt, the 740i can travel in brief bursts with a maximum torque figure of 540 Nm (398 lb-ft), allowing it to hit 60 miles per hour in 5.0 seconds.
The top-end 760i xDrive model, meanwhile, uses a twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 engine with the same mild-hybrid assist, giving it a total output of 536 bhp. That allows the 760i to get to 60 in just 4.2 seconds. All three petrol models use the same eight-speed automatic transmission, but only the 760i xDrive will be available in the UK.
And let's not forget the 740d xDrive diesel model that produces 295 bhp and 650 Nm (479 lb-ft) of torque via a 3.0-litre six cylinder with 48-volt mild-hybrid assist. No UK availability for this one.
There will also be two plug-in hybrid models joining the European range as well as in the UK in spring of 2023. They are the 750e xDrive and the sporty long-wheelbase M760e xDrive. Through an eight-speed Steptronic transmission, both models use the 3.0-litre six-cylinder in-line petrol engine and BMW xDrive all-wheel drive. The M760e xDrive produces 563 bhp and peak torque of 800 Nm (590 lb-ft), whilst the new BMW 750e xDrive posts figures of 483 bhp and 700 Nm (516 lb-ft). Purely electric range for both models is 50 miles according to the WLTP cycle.
As for the electric 7er – officially dubbed the i7 xDrive60 – the EV uses two electric motors and a single battery pack with 101.7 kilowatt-hours of usable energy to produce a combined output of 537 bhp and 745 Newton-metres (549 lb-ft). That means the i7 can surge to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and on to a limited top speed of 149 mph. The petrol-powered models, meanwhile, are limited to 155.
BMW estimates that the total WLTP driving range for the i7 xDrive60 will be around 367 - 388 miles WLTP (300 EPA miles in the US), but those figures aren't officially set. And for maximum charging, the i7 can juice up at a rate of up to 195.0 kilowatts on a DC fast charging station, which allows it to recoup 80 miles of range in ten minutes. Better yet, i7 owners in the US will get unlimited free charging at Electrify America for the first three years of ownership. BMW says its future flagship model, the i7 M70 xDrive, will follow later in 2023.
Every 2023 7 Series gets a standard four-corner air suspension system with automatic self-levelling and electronically controlled dampers. The adaptive suspension lowers the 7 Series by 10 millimetres (0.4 inches) in Sport mode or raises it up to 10 mm (0.8 inches) for rough roads and small obstacles. Furthermore, the i7 automatically lowers a bit above 75 mph for aerodynamics. And with the addition of integral adaptive steering, which gives the car more precision at higher speeds, the 7 Series has rear-wheel steering at a rate of up to 3.5 degrees.
Bold Exterior, Tech-Focused Cabin
Visually, the new 7 Series is a stark departure from the luxury saloon it replaces. The new front end (first seen on the updated X7) is the focal point, featuring large-ish kidney grilles and a new split light fixture treatment that places the headlights in the middle of the bumper and two-element LED running lights near the bonnet. On the i7, blue accents line the base of the fascia, while the petrol-powered cars get standard M Sport styling.
A no-cost option on the i7 xDrive60, the M Sport bits give the 7 Series a more aggressive design on the front end, available 20- and 21-inch M Sport wheel options, and standard Shadowline trim, which darkens some of the exterior accents.
Inside, the 7 Series adopts the latest iteration of BMW's Live Cockpit Plus with the most recent iDrive 8 software. Front and centre is the new Curved Display, which is a single continuous piece of glass that houses two plus-sized screens: a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel and a 14.9-inch central touchscreen. And a new Interaction Bar, exclusive to the 7, features a crystalline surface with touch-capacitive controls for things like ventilation and climate control functions.
But the second row of the new 7 Series is where you want to be. An optional 31.3-inch, 8K Theatre Screen display lives between the front two seats, giving rear passengers access to built-in Amazon Fire TV and other online services. Each rear passenger can control the screen either by touching it or via two 5.5-inch tablets mounted within the door panels.
Adding the optional Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System replaces the standard 18 in-car speakers with 36 high-quality speakers. Four of those speakers are even integrated into the headliner, and all 36 offer a full 4D audio function that uses magnetically controlled vibrations for better bass.
Gallery: 2022 BMW i7
Every 7 gets a standard suite of BMW's active driver-assistance functions, but for the first time, the 7 Series gains a new “Level 2 Plus” hands-free driving system. We tested this system in an early prototype and found it to be quite intuitive; excellent lane-centring technology and automatic lane-change functions give it as much functionality as Cadillac's Super Cruise and Ford's BlueCruise.
BMW also expanded its already available Parking Assistant feature on the 7 Series and i7. Now, this system allows for advanced Remote Smartphone Parking, as well as a new Reverse Assist that allows the i7 to back itself out of a tight situation with no steering input from the driver needed.
Price To Plug-In
The new fully-electric BMW i7 xDrive60 is priced from £107,400 RRP, with the first UK deliveries expected to commence from December 2022.
In the US, first units ship of the new 7 Series ship this November, with the base 740i starting at $94,295, with the $995 destination fee included. The V8-powered 760i xDrive meanwhile costs $114,995, and the electric i7 is $120,295 out of the box.