BMW has unveiled the eighth generation of its 7 Series luxury sedan, which will sit on a new flexible architecture capable of offering a variety of electrified powertrain options.
Across the new 7 Series line-up, a modified version of the OEM’s CLAR architecture will enable the 735i, 740i and 760i xDrive petrol models – as well as the 740d xDrive diesel model – to share the same 48V mild-hybrid technology. These ICE models will be further supported by a pair of PHEVs set to arrive in 2023, the 750e xDrive and M760e xDrive, the M brand’s first performance hybrid. This flexible offering will differ between regions, however, to align with BMW’s global electrification targets. In Europe, for example, it will not offer any petrol models, opting instead for models based on its new petrol-electric plug-in hybrid powertrains. For the U.S., China, and other regions, the automaker will offer two mild-hybrid petrol models alongside the all-electric i7 variant at market launch.
Targeting a Q4 2022 release globally, ahead of its ICE and PHEV counterparts in Europe, the i7 will launch as the i7 xDrive 60. The BEV will source its power from two electric motors, found at the front and rear axles, for a combined output of 544 hp (400 kW) at a maximum torque of 549 lb-ft (745 Nm). This power helps the vehicle accelerate from 0 – 100 km/h (62mph) in 4.7 seconds and achieve a top speed of 240 km/h (149 mph). Likewise, its 101.7 kWh lithium-ion battery pack works to provide an maximum range estimated between 367 to 388 miles (590 to 625 km). Later in 2023, the premium i7 M70 xDrive trim will offer two electric motors capable of producing more than 600 hp and over 1,000 Nm (737 lb-ft) of torque. Mated to the front and rear axles, these motors will be capable of accelerating the vehicle from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62 mph) in under 4.0 seconds.
Inside the new 7 Series, the latest generation of BMW’s iDrive infotainment system incorporates a suite of BMW’s in-vehicle technologies – including the BMW Curved Display, BMW Operating System, BMW Interaction Bar, and the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant. The curved touchscreen operates as the EV’s central infotainment screen and measures 14.9 inches. While capable of operating many of its key infotainment functions, the display will also allow the front occupants to access on-demand video streaming from YouTube. Like other apps featured in the vehicle, it leverages the 5G capabilities of the new 7 Series to quickly provide high-resolution content.
The Curved Display sits beside a 12.3-inch digital instrument display and above the EV’s center console, which houses many of the i7’s physical controls such as the gear selector, rotary iDrive controller, and other touch-sensitive controls. This set of infotainment equipment, offered as standard across all 7 Series models, is supported further by a variety of available features. At the forefront of this premium offering is the BMW Theatre Screen, an 8K panoramic screen measuring 31.3 inches diagonally. The screen extends downward from the roof and provides rear-seat occupants with on-demand media streaming through Amazon Fire TV, which can link to a variety of popular streaming services. On the app, content can be streamed in three aspect ratios. Starting with the traditional 16:9 cinematic ratio, the user can expand content to 21:9, and further to 32:9 – spanning the full length and width of the display.
The EV’s battery is capable of charging with AC at up to 11 kW and can accept DC at a maximum capacity of 195 kW – replenishing around 106 miles of range in ten minutes. This performance comes from the EV’s enhanced architecture which similarly allows for the battery’s thermal management to operate with more precision. This architecture works similarly to provide more detailed information on charging stations located along a user’s selected navigation route, calculating their positions once the destination has been entered. Here, the system will determine whether the battery has enough power, and usable range, to complete the journey ahead.
BMW has confirmed that the Series 7 range will begin its global launch in November 2020, with a price starting at $93,000 for the base 740i model. The automaker also advised that the i7 variant will be priced from $119,300 in the U.S., £107,400 in the UK, and €135,900 in Europe.