Review: The BMW i7 M70 xDrive is electric perfection

BMW’s design team has caught a lot of trouble in recent years, and the 7 Series is no exception. In fact, it’s perhaps the boldest design choice in the line. Sure, XMThe M2 and other models may not be as pretty or classically styled as some would like, but that’s not the 7 Series.

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This sedan has been BMW’s flagship for a long time. That it appears to be deliberately divisive is a marked departure from previous generations.

It rivals other titans in the segment, and to cover even more ground, it’s fully electric. The associated battery and electric motors bring two more players to the 7 Series, namely instant torque and plenty of weight.

Fast facts
Model BMW i7 M70 xDrive
Price $168,500 ($194,645 as tested)
Engine: Dual electric motors
HP / Torque: 650 hp (484 kW) / 811 lb-ft (1,038 Nm)
Transmission / Type of drive Single-speed automatic / all-wheel drive
Range: 295 miles (east)
0-60 mph: 3.5 seconds
Available: Now

LUNGE


Over the course of a few days, we’ve had the chance to see if all these new design aspects of the 7 Series will add to or detract from the model’s illustrious history. Our test car was i7 M70, the latest and greatest version of the model. We’ve found that even hideous book covers can still hold revelations in the form of automotive design.

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Capture of the flagship

BMW sells the i7 in three different trims starting with the eDrive50, a rear-wheel drive version with 449 hp (334 kW). Next is the xDrive60, an all-wheel-drive variant with an electric motor for each axle with a combined output of 536 hp (399 kW). According to EPAThe eDrive50 has a range of up to 321 miles, while the xDrive60 can go up to 318 miles on a single charge.

Both versions benefit from double wishbone suspension at the front and five-link suspension at the rear. Every 7 Series, including gas-powered versions, also has an adaptive air suspension with automatic leveling. In Sport mode, the adaptive system lowers the car by nearly half an inch.

On the other hand, the suspension can raise the car almost an inch for more handling and comfort on rough roads. xDrive models get what BMW calls Integral Active Steering, which sharpens response and allows the rear wheels to steer (up to 3.5 degrees) either in or out of phase depending on conditions.

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All of this is to say that, under the skin at least, BMW seems to have pulled out all the stops when it comes to the new i7. This is even more true in the case of the i7 M70 xDrive. It develops 650 hp (484 kW) and up to 811 lb-ft (1,098 Nm) of torque. You’ll need to activate the “Boost” paddle near the steering wheel or use the launch control to reach that twisted number, otherwise the M70 xDrive will only develop 748 lb-ft (1,013 Nm) of torque.

In fact, the automaker is quick to point out that the M70’s rear-axle engine is the most powerful ever put into a production car. It’s not the only special bit about this particular 7 Series, though. The air springs and dampers are uniquely tuned to make this top-of-the-line trim that much sharper when cornering. High-performance tires are even optional, another first, on the M70.

BMW says the M70 xDrive will achieve a range of up to 295 miles on a single charge and that it can go from 10% to 80% charge in just 34 minutes at a DC fast charging station.

A wheel of luxury

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However, the i7 M70 xDrive may not just have the right basics. This flagship must still provide the comfort and luxury of a flagship. We’re happy to say that it does just that. The seats are ergonomically excellent with many adjustment options, heating and ventilation, excellent lateral support and also a massage function.

The dash and center console are a beautiful combination of old-school BMW styling cues with new-school technology. An expansive 12.3-inch digital gauge paired with a 14.9-in infotainment the system looks great and mostly works well. If we could complain about anything, it’s the lack of physical control switches for the four-zone climate control functions. Other than that, the iDrive 8.5 system is snappy, easy to use and mostly intuitive.

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Picking your favorite seat in the i7 M70 xDrive can be difficult, as while the driver enjoys the sedan’s dynamics, rear seat passengers get their own bespoke experience. Above their heads is a huge 31.3-inch 8k touchscreen that slides down and is displayed at the touch of a button.

This button happens to be on one of the two portrait-oriented screens that rest on the back door card. However, the screen will not work if one of the front seats is moved far enough to make contact. For me, at two meters tall, this means that my passengers in the back seats would have to ask me to move forward if they wanted to watch the big screen.

Nevertheless, the system is fully charged Amazon, YouTube, Netflix and more. This car isn’t just about flashy visuals, it also comes with a 36-speaker sound system from Bowers & Wilkins. That’s right, this sedan probably has more speakers than you have in your entire house. Rear seat passengers can even connect to the rear display via Bluetooth headphones if they want to enjoy their entertainment in private.

Additionally, the rear passenger seat actually folds down and includes a calf rest. Both rear seats also have a massage function, but the great technical features don’t end there. All four doors open and close at the push of a button. In fact, owners can configure a button on the remote to automatically open their preferred door when approached.

In general, this is one of the most luxurious cars in the segment, and perhaps the most advanced at this price. It’s also somewhat practical. The trunk has 17.7 cubic feet of cargo space. From comfort to quality to responsiveness, the i7 M70 xDrive hits all the high notes for what the test should be at $194,000.

Lightning fast limousine

The i7 M70 xDrive feels like a car that defies physics, but it actually uses clever technology to accomplish the task. This super sedan weighs somewhere around 6,000 pounds (2,721 kg), but the only place you feel it’s heavy is under hard braking. Don’t get me wrong, it’s clear from the driver’s seat that it’s not a light car, but it also doesn’t feel like it weighs more than a GMC Sierra 1500 (which it does).

The flat-bottom steering wheel feels fantastic and the feedback it provides is intuitive and clear. The i7 M70 willingly changes direction without body roll or any other type of drama. Mash go pedal and “IconicSounds Electric” was composed by Hans Zimmer they provide a futuristic touch that some will love, some will hate, and others will turn off when they first hear it. They won’t tire of how fast this car accelerates. BMW says it will accelerate from 0 to 96 km/h in just 3.5 seconds.

Although we didn’t have the opportunity to test it properly on the track, we have no doubts about this number. In addition, the active M-tuned suspension perfectly maintains the balance of this heavy beast in corners. The rear axle steering makes the whole car feel more nimble than it should be.

Additionally, the braking system may be the best we’ve tested on a sedan of this size and performance. While other EVs tend to struggle under hard braking, the i7 M70 felt solid, stable and easy to handle.

Of course, while all of this is possible, the i7 M70 is really more of a luxury sedan than a track monster. As we noted in our original test of the smaller i7 xDrive60, it’s incredibly competent there too, but did the sporty nature of the M70 ruin it? In a word, no.

I actually had the opportunity to drive the new one Rolls Royce Specter back to back with i7 M70 xDrive. In terms of driving comfort, both are not that different. BMW may not like to hear it, but they should take it as the highest compliment. A Rolls is better to drive, a BMW is better to drive, as it should be.

Competition at the Country Club

Potential buyers of the i7 M70 xDrive are those looking for the best of both worlds, namely top performance and top luxury. It delivers on both accounts, but it’s not alone if those are the only two qualities a buyer is looking for.

The Porsche The Taycan and Lucid Air are both in this conversation, but each has a major disadvantage compared to the BMW. The Taycan isn’t nearly as comfortable or luxurious in the back seat. The Air isn’t as luxurious either, but it also doesn’t have the same brand awareness as the BMW.

Tesla and Mercedes have similar shortcomings. The Model S is definitely no match for the i7 in terms of luxury. The EQS does, but I’d argue that it looks somehow worse than the i7 and doesn’t offer the same sharp driving dynamics. Ultimately, luxury sedan buyers now have one more flagship that deserves serious consideration.