This is the 7th-generation BMW 7 Series (designated the G70, quite aptly) and just as expected it is equal parts German super-limousine and design experiment. Unlike before, it’s also fully electric. Kind of.
In order to give it the kind of presence BMW feel it deserves, not that it was ever lacking it, the all-new 7 Series is also the biggest it has ever been, growing larger and stretching our limits of what we’ll accept in terms of how such a car should look.
Another True Rival To The Mercedes-Benz S-Class?
While its main rival, the W223 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, doubles down on soft edges and elegant surfacing, Munich has seemingly taken the opposite approach and penned one of its most polarising designs yet, adopting the split headlight fascia that only recently debuted on the X7 facelift.
Prior to this, this design trait was mainly a staple of the Hyundai Motor Group with several models from the South Korean marque sporting it such as the Palisade, Kona, and even some from the Genesis stable.
It’s said that this, along with an even more pronounced kidney grille, was driven by customer feedback in markets such as China and the US, but we can’t quite confirm that nor will BMW outright say it. For better or worse, the 7 Series does at least look unique and differentiated.
It retains a traditional 3-box silhouette with touches clearly taken from the iX and, as before, is built on a heavily altered ‘flex platform’ variation of the company’s staple Cluster Architecture (CLAR), which has been in the works for the past 6 years.
Powertrains: ICE, Hybrid, Full EV
It follows a similar formula to previous 7 Series offerings in terms of a spread of powertrains, though its line of internal combustion engines is joined by a pure electric version that we’ll get into later. As standard, all variants will receive BMW’s newest air suspension tech, active rear-wheel steering, and active roll stabilisation.
All petrol and diesel engines are now supplemented by some sort of electrified component, be it mild-hybrid or plug-in hybrid assistance. In Europe markets, BMW has decided not to offer petrol engines at all, giving customers there a choice of EV or a diesel engine, the 740d xDrive, until the PHEVs are ready for delivery – take it or leave it.
This version pairs a turbocharged 3.0-litre diesel inline-6 with a 48V starter-generator to deliver a combined 295hp and 670Nm that’s good for a 6.3 second century sprint time, which is rather
encouraging given it’s the range’s entry-level variant.
In 2023, BMW will start rolling out the 750e xDrive and the M760e xDrive that both use a new evolution of the B58 inline-6 turbocharged petrol 3.0-litre unit in tandem with a gearbox-mounted electric motor that’s fed by a pretty beefy 18.7kWh battery for up to 90km of pure electric range. The former delivers a combined output of 483hp/ 700Nm and 563hp/ 800Nm, respectively.
The BMW i7, like the iX3 and i4, is not too dissimilar from their ICE counterparts though it sits more closely within the 7 Series umbrella than its other full EV cousins. It’s Munich’s answer to the Mercedes-Benz EQS and, less convincingly, the Porsche Taycan – at least until Audi readies an electric equivalent of the A8.
The BMW i7 Powertrain
Things kick off with the i7 xDrive60 that uses dual electric motors to produce 540hp/ 740Nm and up to 625km on the WLTP test cycle, though a more powerful i7 M70 xDrive with 600hp is coming to sit at the tip of the spear, effectively taking the spot of the demised V12-powered M760i. Certain markets will still receive the 760i xDrive, though lacking the sub-M designation and now sporting a lesser twin-turbo V8 instead.
Both are paired with a 101.7kWh lithium-ion battery mounted within the floor pan with support to fast DC charging up to 195kW, giving them a range up to 625km. BMW is still silent on the full extent of the M70 xDrive’s performance capabilities, but the xDrive60 will dispatch 100km/h in 4.7 seconds and is limited to a 240km/h top speed.
BMW 7 Series Infotainment
Inside, the 7 Series features BMW’s latest iDrive 8 interface and hardware in a similar vein to that seen on the iX and i4, utilising a curved panel that houses a 12.3-inch instrument display and 14.9-inch infotainment screen perched over a restyled and more minimal dashboard.
Among the available options is a pretty outrageous 31.3-inch cinema screen with 8K resolution for the rear passengers that’s mounted within the roof when not in use. It supports direct streaming to Amazon Fire TV so you can enjoy the newest season of The Grand Tour reclined in a massaging seat while your chauffeur tackles an interstate journey on your behalf.
There’s no word yet on when the G70 7 Series will reach Malaysian shores, but bearing in mind that even the full range will only be fleshed out in Europe in 2023, the most we can expect for an expedited local launch is one or two variants similar to the recent S-Class’s market introduction.