The BMW iX has been announced in two regular variants (xDrive40 & xDrive50), and there’s a hot M60 variant in the pipeline for future release. A similar variant range is reported for the BMW i7, the pure electric variant of the next-gen 2022 BMW 7 Series.
Previously, it was reported that the BMW i7 is planned in i740, i750, and M60 variants. It was being speculated that the i740 could have the cheapest MSRP, the i750 the longest range, and the M60 the fastest acceleration on the tarmac. BMW Group may have changed the variant names to those mentioned above so that it is easier for customers to understand their positioning and drivetrain layout, given their similarity with the variant names of the 7 Series.
BMW i7 specifications
The BMW i7eDrive45/BMW i740i could have a single motor at the rear, while the BMW i7 xDrive50/BMW i750i and BMW i7 M60 could have dual-motor all-wheel drive.
The BMW 7 Series electric will feature an evolved fifth-generation eDrive that BMW’s former CEO Harald Krueger said would have a range of about 700 km on a single charge. The vehicle will arrive not without competition waiting for it as Mercedes is ready with the Mercedes EQS that debuts in a few days.
The BMW iX comes with two battery pack options, one with a gross energy storage capacity of over 70 kWh and one with a gross energy storage capacity of more than 100 kWh. The BMW i7 is expected to be offered with 80 kWh and 120 kWh battery packs that offer a range of around 650-700 km (WLTP) and approximately 700 km (WLTP), respectively. The top-end BMW 7 Series electric would support fast-charging at up to at least 200 kW, speedy enough to achieve a range of 100 km (62 miles) in around ten minutes.
BMW i7 design
The BMW i7 won’t be a standalone EV like the Mercedes EQS but a variant of the next-gen BMW 7 Series. However, it would be distinguishable from the donor model aplenty. Unlike the plug-in hybrid variant that gets soft visual changes, BMW would go for a bold exterior and new panels to leave the i7 with a different identity.
The BMW i7 is expected with clear surfaces to improve air flow around the car. Clear aero lips, mouldings to the skirts concealing the battery technology, and rear diffuser elements that fill the design space opened up by the exhaust pipes are a few examples of how aerodynamic efficiency can be improved. The BMW signature four-eyed front done in a modern and pared-back way, and the i-style blue accent on the grille should also be included in the i7’s design recipe. The kidney grille of the electric sedan may hide a plethora of sensors required for autonomous driving systems and active safety systems.
BMW i7 features
In February, a report on motor1.com citing Bimmer Post forum talked about the features of the next-gen BMW 7 Series and these should be downloaded by the BMW i7. Moreover, it says that the production of the new BMW 7 Series will begin in July 2022, which indicates that a late-2021 global premiere is on the cards for the combustion model.
Air suspension, soft close doors, flush door handles, and Bowers & Wilkins audio system will be standard on the next-gen BMW 7 Series. Premium features available as options will include automatically closing doors like on Rolls-Royce models, high-end headlights, Iconic Glow grille (illuminated grille), and Sky Lounge roof. Moreover, customers will be able to opt for Motorway Assist, a new autonomous driving system package, and a natural AI-enabled voice assistant as well.
First full-body prototypes of the BMW i7 hit the roads in Europe last year and our reader Kurt from Munich had shared a short clip of one driving past his car in December. The sighting indicated that following extensive global testing through to the end of 2021, the BMW 7 Series electric will be showroom-ready next year. BMW has just launched the iX3 and confirmed the i4 and iX EVs for this year.
Spy pictures published on Motor1.com have shown a next-gen 7 Series test mule with a small bulged-out section on the front fenders. Those winglet-like parts could be housing side cameras required by the car’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems for performing safety and/or autonomous driving functions. Flush-fitting door handles similar to those of the BMW iX can also be seen in these images, and it looks like the test mule has the iX’s high-res Curved Display as well. The electric door openers should come with a soft close function option. The i7 should get all these high-end features of the ICE 2022 7 Series.
Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW, confirmed last year that BMW will introduce the electric variant of the 7 Series in the next generation and that the most powerful variant of the next-gen 7er would be the EV.
‘Smart routes’ & Digital Key 3.0 expected on the BMW 7 Series Electric
BMW is already working on the next generation of the Digital Key using Ultra Wideband technology. At Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (22 June), it was announced iPhone users can use their device as a fully digital car key to perform vital functions of their BMW cars. Users have to just tap their screens to unlock and can start the vehicle by placing their iPhone in the designated smartphone tray and pushing the start button. These functions are carried out via the BMW Smartphone App present on the phone. The various functions also include:
- Access for the vehicle can be shared with up to 5 friends.
- Car access can be configured for younger drivers which restricts the top speed, horsepower output, maximum music volume, etc.
- Vehicle access details are stored in the Secure Element of the iPhone and can also be accessed through Apple Wallet.
- Inbuilt Power reserve feature for iPhones which will allow car keys to function for up to five hours in case the phone switches off due to low battery.
- It is compatible with Apple watches.
Work has begun on the 3.0 version of the Digital Key which is expected on the BMW 7 Series Electric that promises additional convenience and features. Digital Key 3.0 will use Bluetooth Low Energy and Ultra-Wideband technology for performing various functions. This would mean consumers may no longer be required to take out their smartphone and hold it next to the door handle to unlock. Passive access to the vehicle via these new functions will allow owners to leave their smartphone in their bag or pockets.
A new “smart routes” feature which uses Apple Maps to pick an optimal route based on the vehicle’s electric range and the locations of charging stations along the way is also expected. This feature should be accessible via the Apple CarPlay function in the infotainment screens.
The BMW i7 will chiefly rival the full-size Mercedes EQS, and to a considerable extent, executive electric sedans like the Tesla Model S, the Porsche Taycan, the Lucid Air, and the Audi e-tron GT. Volkswagen Group has a proper rival coming up in 2024 – the Audi Landjet (project name).
BMW i7 price & release date
Speaking at the company’s annual analyst and investor day on 18 March 2021, Jochen Goller, President & CEO, BMW Group (Region China), confirmed that the BMW 7 Series electric or the BMW i7 will be officially out next year.
At the moment, in the BEV area, others have more products, and especially Tesla’s share is stronger. But we are now ramping up, we’ve got cars in all the volume segments. Let’s not forget next year 3 Series, 7 Series, and so on, so forth.Jochen Goller, President & CEO, BMW Group Region China (BMW Group Analyst and Investor Day 2021)
The base BMW i7 could be attractively priced at €100,000 (including 19% VAT and excluding delivery costs) in Germany. Expect the reveal towards the end of 2022 and the market launch in early 2023.
Images of the i4 and 7 Series used in the story come from BMW.