BMW i7

BMW i7

The i7 is an extraordinary way of moving from one place to the other. In absolute silence, in absolute comfort, in absolute privilege.

The i7 has a 31.3in 8k screen on the back seats. I will write that again so you can properly take it in: the i7 has a 31.3in 8k BMW Theatre Screen on the back seats. The tv sets we have at home never seemed so low-rent.

As I walked toward the car, sitting there at the BMW press car park, I was thinking what Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime or Disney+ movies or series I was going to watch with the kids in the car during the weekend. I had told them about this feature and showed them the press pictures online. This was already their favourite car ever.

Press the key, open the door and … nothing. No screen. No theatre. ‘My’ i7 had ‘just’ a ginormous panoramic roof. Why, oh why?

The i7 is BMW’s interpretation of a high-end luxury electric saloon and part of the new top-of-the-range model line built on the CLAR platform, which can incorporate combustion engines or electric motors, or both. For now, the available electric option is the xDrive 60.

At 5.4 metres long, the i7 is the largest BMW ever made – 10cm longer than a Mercedes S-Class and a whopping 13cm more than the model range it replaces. It weighs in at 2715kg or the same as three Alfa Romeo 4C.

BMW i7

One can say, without risking too much, this is not a car developed with old European cities in mind. China, the US, Dubai and neighbours, those are the places the i7 is aiming at.

Also, because the i7 breaks the mould of the traditional 7-Series, giving a very modern interpretation of what a luxury saloon looks like, it is not likely to be as loved in the Old Continent as it will be in new markets.

It comes with four-wheel drive and twin electric motors producing a total output of 544 horse-power. The 102kWh battery gives a range of up to 625km on the WLTP-cycle and charging can be up to 195kWh – meaning a 6-minute charge will add 100km to the range.

When you don’t feel like driving, just summon the Park Manoeuvre Assist, a system within the limits of the law that allows the car to drive itself out of parking lots and the like for a maximum of 600 metres.

Also relevant is the fact BMW claims there are no rare materials in the batteries, thus taking an important step into the sustainable aspect of electric mobility.

Now, I am not going to say this is an ugly thing because, on the four days I drove it around, I had one fellow driver on the next car opening the window, congratulating me on my BMW and saying this was the most beautiful car he had ever seen, while at least three other people on the road gave me the thumbs up. Instead, let’s just say I do not understand the aesthetics of the Seven and leave it at that.

However, my lack of understanding of the exterior of the car pales in comparison with the awesomeness of the interior. This is more a moving lounge, less a motor vehicle. It’s so luxurious, so technologically advanced and so comfortable that all it lacks is a TV screen(!), so you never want to leave.

The craftsmanship is incredible, mixing premium materials with the latest information and entertainment systems and creating what is, possibly, the best interior ever designed for a large series-production car. Only Rolls-Royce and Bentley can compete.

BMW i7

The seats are cashmere wool and make leather look irrelevant, the carpets are borrowed from sister company Rolls-Royce and the curved display marries two 14.9in and 12.3in screens for a truly panoramic system. The crystal-like Interaction Bar runs across the cabin and lights up according to the driving mode selected, whereas the massage function is so good you must remember not to relax too much because the car still needs to be driven.

Doors open and close automatically, whereas the Executive Lounge optional extra fully reclines the right rear seat for a truly exceptional cinema experience. Provided there is a screen, of course.

The 4.7 seconds to 100km/h seem non-important, although it needs to be said there is a lot of performance in the i7. But not as much as there is refinement. That is the main word here.

This car is super-special and moves the game on when it comes to differentiate what it can be done in electric mobility regarding comfort and high-end premium-level motoring. If it had a range of 1000km and could be 100% recharged in 10min, I would shut up about the whole electric-cars-are-not-the-future conundrum – it would be perfect.

Price? With €50,000 spent on the options list, the press car came in at a nudge under €200,000. Not that buyers in this rarefied segment could care about that.

Guilherme Marques

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