First Impression: 2023 BMW i7 xDrive60

The 2023 7 Series wears evolutionary design updates.

While the introduction of a new BMW 7 Series is always welcome news, it’s particularly notable for 2023, with the Bavarian automaker’s introduction of the its first all-electric 7 Series, the i7 xDrive60, which joins a line of 6- and 8-cylinder mild hybrid siblings as the company looks to make its flagship sedan line more environmentally friendly. 

We first told you about the new BMW 7 Series in April, which was designed as the flagship of BMW’s electric “i” brand. Now that we’ve had a chance to do an initial, if admittedly brief, drive of the new 7 Series, we can confidently say forget the internal combustion engine models. As good as they are, they play second fiddle to the newest kid on the block.

Styling

Rear styling emphasizes the new i7’s considerable width.

The new i7’s style differs little from its internal combustion siblings, and the 7 Series’ updated appearance is a is a clear development from the current model. Two sets of dual horizontal headlights recall the round twin headlamps of the past 7 Series models, but with a far more modern elan.

They can be fitted with optional Swarovski crystals. They bookend a truly mammoth BMW grille, which can be lit, making its identity unmistakable. The rear wears radically horizontal taillamps that recall the horizontal headlamps. The new rear lighting work in concert with horizontal design details that accentuates this car’s considerable width. The i7 is also the first BMW to wear 23-inch wheels and can be ordered with two-tone paint.

The bigger changes come inside, where the instrument panel’s horizontal orientation makes emphasizes its size. Its emphasized by a polycarbonate band that anchors its base, above which sits a horizontal display. Its contemporary and chic, without the overindulgent flashiness of its Stuttgart competition.  

Performance

A large curved display houses the instrument cluster and the infotainment screen, emphasizing its horizontal design.

The base 2023 740i is powered by a 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo, Miller cycle inline 6-cylinder engine mated to a 48-volt mild hybrid system. It’s rated at 375 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque, delivering 60 mph in 5.4 seconds.

The 760i xDrive is powered by a 4.4-liter TwinPower Turbo V-8 with all-wheel drive. Available only in North America and based on the M V-8, it also employs mild hybrid technology and produces 536 hp. Both engines funnel their torque through an 8-speed Steptronic transmission. 

But the big news, and the focus of this driving impression, is the i7. Using two electric motors, one on each axle, it also generates 536 horsepower, along with a whopping 549 lb-ft of torque.

Sixty mph comes up in 4.5 seconds. Range is estimated at 318 miles according to BMW assessments employing the EPA’s test procedures. The 101.7 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery gains 80 miles of range in 10 minutes on a DC high-speed charger. BMW includes three years of free 30-minute charging sessions at Electrify America with every i7. 

BMW says the BMW i7 xDrive60 ‘s global warming potential throughout its lifecycle is around 33-39% lower than that of the new BMW 740i xDrive or BMW 740i. If charged using renewable power, the difference increases to around 60-64 percent.

Technology

Rear seat touchscreens house controls.

At the heart of the i7’s tech arsenal is BMW Curved Display, a fully digital screen that pairs a 12.3-inch instrument cluster and a 14.9-inch iDrive display screen clustered behind a single sheet of glass. A polycarbonate band that anchors its base, and features touch-sensitive controls. Its novel, contemporary and chic in appearance, without the overindulgent flashiness of its Stuttgart competitor.  

But the true bit of indulgence is the rear-seat entertainment system’s mammoth 31.3-inch screen that descends from the ceiling. This optional system uses the car’s 5G cellular connection to stream Netflix, Hulu, or whatever you like. It pairs perfectly with the Executive Lounge Package, which allows the passenger-side rear seat to recline by moving the front seat forward while a small footrest pops folds out of its seatback. Unlike similar systems in other large sedans, this one is spacious enough for those taller than 6 feet. 

And, like a Rolls-Royce, doors open and close at a touch of a button.

Initial impression

Acceleration is effortless and incredibly quick, feeling far faster than its number suggests thanks to the driveline’s instant torque. Braking is smooth and seamless. The adaptive air suspension expertly balances ride comfort and athleticism with little float, no wallow and negligible little body lean. Very large, and very wide, the i7 does fill its lane. Its weight is apparent when slinging through corners, but it’s handling belies size, as it proves athletic. The steering is perfectly weighted and while somewhat light, it’s more engaging than what’s used on a Rolls-Royce. Yet it can also provide the same graceful, comfortable ride. And it’s nearly as quiet. 

The 31.3-inch screen and Executive Lounge option make for an indulgent rear seat.

The Executive Package is truly indulgent, allowing my 6’2” frame to fully relax and enjoy the mammoth rear screen, which folds down from the ceiling and provides a beautiful picture while the Bowers & Wilkins audio system enhances the experience. But the lack of a rear camera mirror means you won’t be able to see rearward while it’s in use.

The instrument panel is simple, but far from stark as the IP is filled with a variety of textured materials. The speaker grilles are particularly detailed. 

While the new i7 does command a premium, it’s far from excessive. The base 2023 740i starts at $93,300, while the 760i xDrive will set you back $113,600. By comparison, the I7 xDrive60 starting at $119,300. Prices do not include a $995 destination charge, taxes, options or any applicable tax credits. Yes, that’s higher than the Mercedes-Benz EQS sedan, which starts at $104,400, or the Tesla S at $94,900. But it’s a better can than either of them, and so, the higher price is justified.

Is there a new BMW 7 Series coming out?

The totally redesigned 7 Series begins reaching showrooms in November 2022.

How much will the BMW i7 cost?

The starting price for the base 2023 740i is $93,300, while the 760i xDrive costs $113,600, while the i7 xDrive60 starts at $119,300. Prices do not include a $995 destination charge, taxes, options or any applicable tax credits.

How fast is BMW i7?

The i7 runs from 0 to 62 mph in 4.7 seconds; top speed is limited to 149 mph.

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