Look past that infamous elongated signature BMW kidney grille and this might well be the most elegant and handsome BMW 7 Series since the late 1990s E38 iteration of the flagship. The latest G70 looks the part, although the shock of just how humongous this thing is, takes a while to sink in when you encounter it. View it head on, and you think at first, it’s an SUV.
Looks deceive, just as when you inspect the images on this page and believe those kidneys serve to feed air to an internal combustion engine. They do not, because this is the ‘i’ branch of Bimmer. So, the 7 becomes an i7 which in this case is a the xDrive60 M Sport.
A fully electric behemoth that is nearly five and half metres long and two metres wide, presses down on the earth with a mass of over 2700kg, and is powered by 101.7 kWh battery and dual motors pushing out torque to all four wheels. There’s 544bhp, 745Nm of torque, giving it 0-62mph acceleration capability of 4.7 seconds. It will reach 149mph.
But two questions you’re asking is range and price. The good news is the claimed range is decent at 387 miles. However, the asking price starts at over £113k and once specced up, expect to spend a lot more. For instance, the car I tested totalled more than £145k!
It is worth it? The boot opens electronically to reveal a substantial 500 litres of room, a ski slot and an under-floor compartment to store the cables in.
Pull open the big rear doors and plunge into a plush parlour complete with comfy settee that has full recline feature and a massive wide-screen TV that lowers from the ceiling. The door panels dispense with buttons and replace them with little tablet screens from where you can control the world – or at least your immediate vicinity.
Move to the front and marvel at the abundance of crystal buttons deployed for seat controls, centre console switchgear and running the length of the dashboard. There are grated metal panels, smooth carbon fibre, lush leather, and padded plastic covering your surrounds. A digital screen sweeps across the fascia to provide both your instrumentation and infotainment.
You sit higher than you normally would in a low-slung classic seven, it’s almost like you’re in an SUV. A full-sized SUV.
It effortlessly glides off serenely, and maintains an astonishing level of silent refinement and caressing comfort. You feel magnificent and mighty at the wheel, and there’s a sense of invincibility.
It’s a great limousine in which to transport your high value VIP from A to B. But should the chauffeur be running behind for his rendezvous with the private jet his boss arrives in, or finds he’s driven his passenger into an ambush and a quick getaway is required, then this i7 is up for the challenge. Very much so.
Twist your right foot and you’ll hear yourself take a sharp intake of breath or swear out loud when boost is engaged. It’s like this road-bound starship goes from Impulse power to Warp speed! It’s not so much the sensation of speed as the shock of something of such mass so eager to sprint forward so quickly.
While understeer creeps in if you manhandle it into a corner, actually plan and steer this thing through the twisties and you’ll stay on the bumper of hot hatches with alarming ease.
It’s astonishingly agile for what it is, think of a luxury yacht that believes it’s a powerboat. There’s no feel and in my brief drive I couldn’t find the ‘noise’ button, but it’ll slay distances hard, be they straights or corners.
Overall, this barge is a beast, and somewhat terrifyingly, this isn’t even the fast version – that’s the i7 M70 xDrive with 659bhp that’s capable of hitting 62mph from rest in just 3.7 seconds. You’ll need £160k Plus for that one. More, you pay for the performance in range, losing about 45 miles.
The xDrive60 then seems the best compromise for prestige and pace within the i7 range. Of course, that’s being stated without testing the petrol seven. But if you’re a high roller and prefer to plug-in rather than pour-in, this could be your chariot.