BMW i7: First information about the electric 7 Series

In contrast to Audi and Mercedes, the Munich-based company uses a mixed platform.

It has long been known that  BMW will also be bringing the next  7 Series onto the market as a purely electric version. Now there is the first official information about the i7. This is intended as the Mercedes against competitors  EQS, the electric Audi A8 successor: (Study  Grandsphere, the Lucid)  Air, the Nio  ET7  or the Tesla  Model S  compete. But in contrast to its competitors, BMW does not rely on a purely electric platform. The Munich-based company has one of those with the new iX in the range, but the i7 shares the basis with the combustion models. In this regard, he is taking the new  i4  as a model, which is the electric version of the  4 Series Gran Coupé. The same applies to the  iX3.

Advantages and disadvantages

This strategy, in which the electric cars and the combustion engines run off the same line, has the advantage that BMW can react so quickly to current demand. If a large number of e-cars are ordered, their production increases, the demand for gasoline and diesel vehicles increases and these increasingly roll off the production line. But buyers also have to accept disadvantages. Because electric cars that are based on a platform specially developed for them make better use of space and in most cases are also more efficient. But the Munich-based company is happy to enter into this compromise. Especially since, thanks to the many identical parts, costs can be saved and the development of your e-platform would devour additional billions.

Endurance test

But back to the i7. As part of its series development process, it is currently completing the driving dynamics tests on the premises of the BMW winter test center in Arjeplog, Sweden. There, only a few kilometers from the Arctic Circle, the dead of winter is already reigning. For the engineers, the ice surfaces and snow-covered roads offer ideal conditions for perfectly coordinating the drive and chassis systems. BMW wants to offer a good mix of agility and comfort with the new 7 Series (including i7). That is why the steering, suspension, brakes, and the driving dynamics and driving stability systems have to be adapted to the different engines (gasoline, plug-in hybrid, diesel, electric) and drives (rear, all-wheel drive), which of course also have a major impact on the curb weight. This is particularly challenging in Lapland’s winter landscape. But if the 7er / i7 drives here as the test engineers imagine, then it does it (almost) everywhere.

Proven components

With the i7, of course, there is also the special feature of its drive. As we all know by now, cold temperatures are not exactly the best conditions for electric cars. But BMW shouldn’t be too worried about this. The i7 uses the combustion engine’s platform but still relies on the electric drive, high-voltage battery, power electronics, and charging technology of the iX. Since the electric SUV is already on the market, there are unlikely to be any (negative) surprises when testing the i7. However, due to the different body shapes, the components still have to be tested again for reliability.

bmw i7

BMW i7 performance

BMW has not yet revealed any information on the performance data. The  iX  is currently available in two power levels – as xDrive40 (240 kW / 326 PS) and xDrive50 (385 kW / 523 PS) – and with two battery sizes (76.6 kWh and 111.5 kWh). Since the electric SUV has an electric motor installed on each axle, it also offers an all-wheel-drive (e-xDrive). An M version with over 600 hp has already been announced. The i7 should have similar performance values ​​and could have a standard range (WLTP) of up to 700 km.

BMW i7 design

bmw i7

Since the i7 prototypes are still heavily camouflaged, not too much can be said about the optics. BMW is sticking to the classic sedan design with a notchback. The front should be based on the new power SUV  XM. At the back, there will probably be narrow LED lights in the brand-typical L-shape. With the i7, these could reach far into the trunk lid. The new 7er / i7 must therefore meet the tastes of all BMW luxury customers. This is not the case with Mercedes and Audi. Here the  S-Class and the  A8 are also classically shaped. On the other hand, their electric luxury gliders EQS and the upcoming Grandsphere have their own, particularly aerodynamic shapes.

The new 7 Series and i7 will be presented in 2022, but the market launch could not take place until 2023.

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