2022 BMW i7 xDrive60 Pure Excellence Review : Monolith.
Singapore - The end of the turbo age is nigh. There is now an EV in just about every car segment, and soon there will be no more combustion engines! Okay, maybe that last bit is a little extreme. But it is true that manufacturers are moving quickly to join the electrification bandwagon. And I must say that if synthetic fuels do not take off, what I mentioned about the combustion engine thing could come true.
Change can be a good or a bad thing, and we all know that change is a constant. So would electrification be a good thing in the long run? Time will tell, but for now, manufacturers are going down, or should I rather say, going up that slippery slope of going one better.
In luxury circles here, there are two flagship four-doors which have become the clear indication that you have truly “made it”. This would be the BMW 7 Series and the Mercedes-Benz S Class, and both brands have gone all out in showing the world their take on how an electrified flagship should be.
While the Mercedes-Benz S Class has essentially been spawned into two unrelated Sonderklasse variants; where the traditional ICE variant (for now) continues doing what it does, and there is a dedicated platform which the EQS electric flagship sits upon. BMW on the other hand, kept their mighty 7 to a singular model range.
The new G70 car sports a long bonnet, purposeful lines, and all of this which now is offered only a one size fits all wheelbase. But BMW’s have stoked controversy of late, by way of the styling of their grilles. There have been many hits and misses, and the new 7 Series has not been spared, with grille à la Four Series.
But I do like the car... It makes a statement.
Mercedes does what Mercedes knows best, which is “slide-ruling” their car designs up and down. This makes the EQS a visually scaled-up EQE-like aerodynamic blob, BMW’s flagship sedan on the other hand, with its polarising-monolithic styling has an undeniable road presence. A collaboration with Swarovski has resulted in some really cool Iconic Glow Headlights, where shimmery-bling DRLs are stacked over bad-ass-angry high and low beams.
All of this fuss means that the G70 has a much-stronger road presence than the car it replaces. Here are some pictures of the previous LCI car I drove to the Czech Republic, from Poland, and telling of how different the G70’s design direction is. The older G11’s shorter front overhang produces a car with a more athletic appearance. However, the G70 dwarfs its predecessor, if placed beside it.
2022 BMW i7 xDrive60 Pure Excellence - inside
Flex, flex and more flex!
BMW borrowed the idea of automated doors from Rolls-Royce, which open at a press of a door button. And then there is that party trick which you can flex, which is opening all its doors using your key fob. I mean, some of you guys would want to show off to your friends, yeah?
Some of the interior elements on the 7 have already have previously been interpreted on the iX full-electric SAV; ranging from its slit-like air-conditioning vents, its similar steering wheel design, of how uncluttered the dash is; and even in the crystal-look iDrive controller wheel.
You can finger the infotainment system, through a huge 14.9-inch fingerprint fest control display. This one is powered by BMW’s new voice-activated and widget-rich Operating System 8. While there are more functions integrated than before, it is tricky to use. Certain functions are a few layers in, and if you are unfamiliar with where to find them, it would be best not to drive while searching for them.
I have to highlight the optioned-in Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System, where it interprets sound through 35 speakers, and boasts 4D experience. The fourth ‘D’ being seat vibrations. If you know how to tune your audio here, it rewards you with an immersive experience. In my opinion, the adjustable seat shakes which are more on the subtle side, could be stronger.
BMW has also stepped away from the rear armrest-stationed touchscreen, which most flagship cars would have gone for. Rear passengers now have a mobile phone-sized 5.5-inch touchpad each placed against the doors, to control anything from entertainment and lighting to seat comfort. Interestingly, the smaller interface is a joy to operate, as opposed to the actual infotainment up-front. That much-talked about 31.3-inch BMW Theatre Screen will only come later this year, so initial 7s will have to do without the massive flex.
2022 BMW i7 xDrive60 Pure Excellence - driven
The eerie silence during pulling out of the driveway, accompanied by an uncanny unbroken smoothness, gives you a sensation more likened to this side of a Rolls-Royce with its purring-ly-silent V12. An electric motor, stationed each at the front and rear axles produces a combined 544hp and 745Nm, which you can feel with immediate effect, once your right foot moves closer to tarmac.
There is no doubt that the i7 drives very much like how a flagship sedan should - which is buttery-smooth, relaxed, and with heaps of shove in reserve. The steering, as we expect, is light, but communicates sufficiently. Manoeuvrability is further enhanced with a four wheel steering system (Integral Active Steering), which gets the rear wheels to steer together with the front or in “oppo” by up to 3.5 degrees. The latter is important, especially on our narrower roadways, as it gives the i7 a 12.3m turn circle; which after tailing a 5 Series doing a U-turn, puts it squarely in its rear mirror.
I truly enjoy how when you cruise on the highway, the suspension simply steamrolls most of what our heavily repaired over (and over) roads throws at the car. For me, the one thing which could make the drive better, is if you could fully turn off the regenerative braking. I personally prefer if an EV could coast without any restrictions, and only “re-gen” when I am on the brakes.
While most things seem good, you can tell that the air suspension works extra hard when putting the large BMW through a corner at speed. Any sudden bumps are followed by the suspension attempting to have the wheels gain purchase. This is where the i7’s ride can come across as rather synthetic; but you have to hand it to BMW’s boffins for still being able to tame a 2.7 tonne car, where a good share of its weight comes from the battery.
The 101.7kWh lithium-ion battery provides a lab-verified 625km of range, with an equally lab-tested efficiency of 19.7kWh. I would dare say that doing 500km between full charges is easily attainable… well… as-long-as it isn’t snowing.
There are also some interesting driver aid improvements brought to the table. They include a route monitoring function, traffic light recognition and Active Navigation, which aid in making precise adjustments to speed and steering movement. The Reversing Assistant’s capabilities have also been extended from 50m to 200m… well, so that you can solve your first world problem of backing out of your 200m driveway with ease.
For now, there are two 7 Series variants. The i7 here is the electric version of the V8-powered 760i, the latter which you could probably get on special order (sadly BMW has retired that lovely V12). But between the two, I would still prefer the ICE variant. The ICE version comes in the form of the in-line six 3-litre 735i, which we will talk about soon.
No. There will be no lower-cost “foot through the door” 2.0 in-line four.
The new 7 might not sit well with some, as its styling borders on being vulgar. But I personally do like how imposing it is. Also, it drives well, it is refined, and it is loaded with tech… but I have to admit that the tech part can get rather overwhelming.
PHOTOS Local Clifford Chow & Jay Tee, Poland & Czech Republic BMW
2022 BMW i7 xDrive60 Pure Excellence
Battery 101.7kWh Li-Ion
Electric Motor 544hp/745Nm
Electric Range up to 625km (WLTP)
Top Speed 240km/h (limited)
Charge Time 34 minutes 10- 80% / 195kW DC