A new report on motor1.com citing Bimmer Post forum talks 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 could be on the cards.
Air suspension, soft close doors, 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 last year. 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.
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.
The BMW i4 launching this year will bring along the “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. This feature can be accessed via the Apple Carplay function in the infotainment screens of the i4 and is believed to trickle down to other vehicles in the range including the new BMW 7 Series.
BMW i4 previews 4 design elements to adorn the BMW i7
Here are the four design elements that will be seen on the BMW i7:
1. The uneasily large Kidney Grille that BMW calls its ‘intelligence panel’
One thing is certain – we’ll be seeing the evolution of the uneasily large kidney grille of the BMW i4 on the i7, the blanked-off grille that the company now refers to as the ‘intelligence panel’ consisting of sensors and electronics.
2. Aero work with cleverly designed body parts
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 is improved.
3. Four-eyed front-end & i-style blue accent
Another future design aspect of BMW electric vehicles previewed on the i4 is the classical four-eyed front done in a modern and pared-back way. The i4’s twin freestanding LED elements and the i-style blue accent on the grille would be no doubt carried over to the i7’s design studio.
4. New flat logo
The i4 Concept provides the first look at the new BMW design. One of the important debuts is the logo for communications, the two-dimensional and transparent badge that is seamlessly integrated on the bonnet. Gone is the iconic black ring that contains the blue and white pie. The ring is now transparent, allowing the Frozen Light Copper (or the car’s body colour) shine through.
BMW i7 Specifications & Competitors
The BMW 7 Series electric will come with 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 in a more advanced stage of the development of the S-Class based electric vehicle, dubbed Mercedes EQS, whereas the Jaguar XJ electric will be revealed at some point later this year.
BMWBlog.com had reported in July last year on the electric 7 Series. The blog said that the electric 7 Series will feature the “i” moniker and feature different power outputs and at least three battery capacities, starting at 80 kWh and go beyond 120 kWh. Then came media reports that spoke about a ‘performance’ BMW i7 with 670 hp on tap with a range of about 580 km in the WLTP. The output of the normal variants is likely to top-out at about 550 hp.
We presume that the BMW 7 Series EV would get a dual motor setup with a full-time AWD system along with a fast-charging system like the Porsche Taycan which uses an 800V architecture. It may allow the BMW i7 to out-accelerate the top-end V12-engined BMW M760Li. Unlike the plug-in hybrid variant today that has soft visual changes, BMW would go for a bolder exterior with new sheet panels to leave the i7 with an altogether different identity.
Electric Performance BMW Mi7 to replace the 6.6L V12 engine
Another report from the credible BMWBlog.com has strengthened the possibility of the launch of a BMW Mi7. The website suggests that two electrified models for the new 7 Series are to come – a plug-in hybrid and a fully electric. BMW could be looking to launch the BMW 750e as a plug-in hybrid model that will come with a 3.0-litre V6 engine and an electric motor to produce a combined output of over 500 hp. The 750e could be the replacement of 750i that has a 4.4-litre V8 unit.
The fully electric model i7 M60 or ‘Mi7’ could be the successor of top of the range BMW M760Li. The 6.6-litre V12 will be replaced by a high voltage battery and two performance electric motors on each axle that will drive the combined output to over 650 hp and return a range of about 480 km (300 miles) in a single charge. The battery could have close to 100 kWh in capacity. Down the variant ladder, there would be two models namely i740 and i750, with rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive respectively and outputs between 350 hp and 450 hp.
All variants of the BMW 7 Series electric would support fast charging comparable to the Mercedes EQS and a gamut of new autonomous driving tech is expected on the incoming 7 Series family, the report concludes.
BMW i7 for India?
It is very early to consider the role of the BMW i7 in BMW India’s business strategy. At best, we expect the i7 to contribute less than 100 units to the tally in the first year of the launch if green lit for the region.
Images of the i4 and 7 Series used in the story come from BMW.