2023 BMW i7: Half a Century of 7 Series Led to this Moment
Updated: Nov 28
Almost half a century ago, the first-ever BMW 7 Series was launched in 1977. There’s an argument to be made that this car was the single most important car that BMW ever brought to market: ABS, airbags, an on-board computer, and an in-car telephone were all offered for the first time in a BMW vehicle in this E23 denominated 7 Series. Fast forward many decades later, and the new 7 Series, now offered with an EV powertrain, feels just as revolutionary as the E23 7 Series felt to people back in the late 70’s.
The winning formula
The new BMW 7 Series offers two powertrain solutions to its customers in Canada: a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 engine found in the 760i, as well as a 536-horsepower electric-only powertrain found in the i7 xDrive60. For 2024, more powertrains will be offered to Canadian customers, although the original formula will remain identical: a gas-powered 7-Series and an EV-only 7 Series. V8 engines have been perfected over the past century, so much so that they’ve become the reference in limo-style sedans. Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and more have all offered a V8 engine as the ultimate solution for a perfect blend of smoothness, performance, and efficiency.
As the competitive nature of capitalistic markets goes, there’s now a new player in town that offers more smoothness, performance, and efficiency. The two electric motors found in the 2023 BMW i7 that we put to the test output a magnificent 536 horsepower and 549 lb-ft of torque. Fueled by a 105.7 kWh battery, the vehicle we test drove can complete a 0-100 km/h sprint in 4.7 seconds, making it the quickest non-Alpina BMW 7 Series ever. Furthermore, according to BMW, the 100 + kWh battery can offer a 480-kilometre range.
Our week behind the wheel of the 2023 i7 could not have been more conclusive. The performance figures claimed by BMW were not only matched but easily beaten. We completed the 0-100 km/h sprint in a mere 4.3 seconds and registered a 510-kilometer battery range.
What couldn’t have been anticipated, though, is the driving and passenger experience. However many reviews you read or videos you watch, I promise you that your expectations can only be exceeded when taking a seat – any seat – in this BMW i7. This experience, which can be very difficult to put into words, is the reason why the EV powertrain is the true winning formula for the limo-style sedans of the world.
The instant response from the accelerator pedal always represents a pleasant aspect of any EV, but the larger the said EV is, the more impressive this immediacy is. Although the i7 is a quick-responding car, comfort is its main selling point, and BMW engineers are well aware of this. Through some sort of German engineering witchcraft, rear passengers are almost always unbothered when the driver adopts a more aggressive driving style.
Furthermore, the serenity of the car’s cabin, resulting from the quietness of the powertrain, the floaty-carpet feeling of the suspension, the double-pane glass windows and the noise-cancelling speakers, is simply unmatched. At 120 km/h on the highway, I could hear the rear passenger whisper while the radio was still on. However, the cabin’s comfort and powertrain behaviour aren’t the only aspects that speak to just how revolutionary the new 7 Series really is. After all, we can’t talk about a 7 Series without talking about its technological prowesses.
Thinking like a Silicon Valley Startup
Taking place inside the cabin will make you feel the same way when entering an Apple Store. You’re first greeted by a 14.9-inch infotainment screen, which is complemented by a 12.3-inch digital cockpit positioned behind the steering wheel. Both are governed by the BMW iDrive 8 Operating System.
The elegance (and opulence) of the screen(s) doesn’t stop there. In the back, two vertical 5.5-inch touch screens, located on each rear door, allow rear passengers to control a plethora of functions. Climate controls, shades, media volume, or seat position can all be controlled through those screens. What’s more, the screens can also be used as remote controls to interact with the 31-inch (yes, thirty-one-inch) 8K resolution television that descends from the ceiling of the cabin.
Not only is this screen a first of its kind in the automotive industry in terms of sheer size, but it’s also extremely functional, as it acts as any household smart TV would. Netflix, Amazon Video, YouTube, and all of your favourite streaming services are available through the operating system. As one would expect, this totally unnecessary (yet extremely cool) feature is not free. The ‘BMW Theatre Screen’ will run you an additional 8,280.00$ (on top of the car’s 160,182.40$ starting price).
Rarely did an in-car experience feel as complete and special. There’s truly not one single vehicle on the market at that price point that will make you feel the way this does, and it’s thus safe to say that BMW has really outdone itself in bringing this new 7 Series generation to market. Its ride quality, technical capabilities and driving dynamics, technology, plush interior, and safety features are no match for products offered by Audi or Mecedes-Benz.
BMW has lent us this vehicle for one week as a press vehicle. We have no affiliation with BMW Canada. The above reflects our personal opinion of the car referred to above.