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21 Nov 2022

What We Dislike
Love-it-hate-it looks
The price tag

The BMW i7 is an all-electric luxury flagship sedan that impresses on all fronts.


There's just no question how I am absolutely spellbound by this car.

That's saying a lot because the BMW i7 that you see here goes against everything I like about a car. It isn't the prettiest of the bunch, it's far too big and bulky for my comfort level and it's kitted with too much tech features that I can hardly explore even half of them during my four-day test drive with it.

And I reckon at a time when carmakers are dumping an abundance of tech features into a car for the sake of stronger marketing and better sales, driving a simple, straightforward car seems like a better and smarter choice, especially since it'll be cheaper to maintain.

Simply seductive

It may be a tad fussy to some, but the frontal design looks exceptional to this writer's eyes
However, with the i7, everything seems to be exceptional - to the point where even a fussy person like myself finds it inevitably mesmerising.

Say what you like, but the styling of the i7 certainly makes an impression. Mind you, in a segment where top dogs like the Audi e-tron GT, Mercedes-Benz EQS and Porsche Taycan hold a steady place, taking some risks with the design may not be such a bad idea.

In the case of the BMW i7, it isn't just the gigantic kidney grille or the folds surrounding it, but rather the newly designed split headlamps that separate itself from its peers. The slim upper unit that has actual Swarovski crystals integrated in it is the daytime running light while the lower section is the actual headlamp.

As a whole, the BMW i7 looks grand and poised
As a result, the front end comes together in a rather sensible mess. On one hand, it looks like there's too much happening here, but on the other it appears to be rather fascinating, more so when the daytime running lights flicker like a huge shining diamond when you approach the car at the parking lot.

The rear is a lot less exaggerated and much more palatable, with nicely sculpted taillights and an overall cleaner appearance. The fact that it's missing tailpipes does help in the neater look, too.

Simply swanky

The Interaction Bar is a nice touch in the cabin
Just as well, because the cabin of the BMW i7 is equally neat but packed with high-tech features never before seen in other cars. For instance, there's the Interaction Bar, which is a backlit crystal trim that stretches from door to door up front and houses the air-con vents.

What's a really nice touch is how attractive the cabin becomes when animated ambient lighting on the said bar reacts accordingly to functions such as safety warnings, change of modes or even incoming phone calls. While I would be usually annoyed with unnecessary and bothersome gimmicks like these in a car, the electric flagship sedan does it in an interactive manner that doesn't come across as distracting.

Rear passengers can have full control of the car's settings via the touch pad (right) and can even charge their smartphones on the go (left)
And that seems to be the style here in the i7. Even rear passengers have a built-in touch pad that resembles an iPhone on the door panel to operate different functions such as massage seats, climate controls and many more.

While all these may seem a bit much even for a car that's currently asking for $631,888 (as of 4 November 2022), what takes the cake are the automatic door buttons on all four corners that open and close the doors as if an invisible butler is serving you. In fact, things are slightly more natural at the helm. All the driver needs to do is press the brake pedal when he gets in and the door will automatically close. It's almost an unnecessary luxury but, hey, when you're forking out this amount for a car, you might as well be served and spoon-fed by an invisible butler.

Different driving modes mean different ambient lighting in the cabin
It's also at the helm where you'll be faced with an immense curved screen that houses both the crisp 14.9-inch infotainment system and the clear 12.3-inch instrument panel. Everything you need to operate - from the radio stations and climate control to the safety features and driver settings - are all housed here. To be quite honest, I haven't quite managed to go through everything despite spending the weekend with it, which is to show just how much there is happening inside the i7.

Simply stupendous

The BMW i7 moves elegantly and sprightly
What's equally happening is the way the large barge dances on the tarmac. Powered by two electric motors - one driving each axle - the 2.7-tonne BMW i7 has 536bhp and 745Nm of torque on tap that will happily catapult to 100km/h from nought in a zippy 4.7 seconds.

But it isn't just about how fast this large sedan is. Rather, it's about how nimble and polished it goes about delivering your driving experience all the time, every time. To put things into perspective, the BMW i7 is longer than cars like the Audi A8L, Mercedes-Benz S-Class and even the Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid. Thus, for the car to be able to corner hard with minimal roll and maximum fun says a lot about the Bavarian marque's engineering team.

The Augmented Reality setting makes driving that much more interactive and interesting
The i7 never gets unsettled with sudden directional changes, handles like a sedan much smaller in size and has the stop-and-go power at the calling of your foot. Best part of all, all these are coupled with supreme serenity, complete comfort and outright opulence.

Which is to say going over broken tarmac, nonsensical speed bumps and uneven surfaces mean nothing to the sedan. Thanks to the air suspension that comes standard, even the slightest shudder over the biggest pothole doesn't intrude the cabin.

Simply sumptuous

Select the different modes to suit your mood
Saying that the BMW i7 is an extravagant model is a severe understatement. Granted, the car is glorious in more ways than one, and in ways you can hardly comprehend, but for those who intend to relax at the rear seats while being chauffeured - or seat at the helm and be in control - the BMW i7 covers all fronts.

A car like this, one can or should hardly complain. Sure, it does come with ample tech features that could even boggle Elon Musk's mind, but it does so very tactfully and interactively.

Simply put, there's just no question how I am absolutely spellbound by this car.

Interested in flagship sedans or full-electric luxury sedans? Here are some stories for you

The Audi A8L is a luxury yacht for the roads

Grand ambition with the new BMW 7 Series

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class - still top class

The Mercedes EQS benchmarks electric refinement

Audi e-tron GT quattro goes like stink
Car Information
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BMW i7 Electric xDrive60 Pure Excellence 101.7 kWh (A)
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Price

: $630,888

Engine Type

:

Two current-excited synchronous motors

Engine Cap

:

-

Horsepower

:

400kW (536 bhp)

Torque

:

745 Nm

Transmission

:

Single-speed (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

4.7sec

Top Speed

:

240km/h

Energy consumption

:

5.1km/kWh

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