21 avr 22

BMW i7: charging against the Mercedes EQS

BMW is pushing its flagship 7 Series into EV territory with the seventh generation. As the i7 xDrive60, the all-electric luxury liner wants to rival the Mercedes EQS with a range of up to 625 kilometres (WLTP) or 310 miles (EPA), semi-autonomous functions up to Level 3 and small touch-controlled displays in the arm rests of the rear doors.

These are the highlights:

  • Long-wheelbase only
  • Battery capacity of 101.7 kWh
  • WLTP consumption between 18.4-19.6 kWh/100 km
  • Huge theatre screen in the back
  • 5G cellular data connection

The i7 is equipped with the fifth-generation eDrive technology, which is featured already in, for example, the iX. An electric motor in both front and rear means system output reaches 400 kW or 544 hp, enough to propel this hefty limousine (2.7 tonnes) in under 5 seconds from standstill to 100 km/h.

40% in China

Charging speeds don’t raise the bar. Like the Mercedes EQS, peak power is at 195 kW on a DC station, which is near the maximum for a battery equipped with a 400-volt onboard network. A 10-80% SoC takes 34 minutes. Charging the i7 at home with a three-phase wall box of 11 kW should do the job in 9.5 hours.

Indeed, the much less classical look will be strongly debated. Undoubtedly, the Chinese marketplace, where 40% of all 7-Series are sold, played a significant role in the design process. The colossal kidney grille is illuminated, and the style is very monolithic. To stake its claim as a comfortable cruiser, the limo gets air suspension and four-wheel steering, another trait it shares with its principal contender. In addition, the i7 features automatic parking and will introduce a Highway Assist for hands-free driving.

Arrival in autumn

The interior dashboard is less avant-garde than the EQS, pairing two big displays under a floating glass panel. The infotainment system runs BMW OS8, which debuted in the iX. But the new i7 especially tries to wow the rear-seat passengers who receive touchscreen displays in the door panels.

Equipped with the Executive Lounge Pack, there are massaging and reclining seats, a footrest and a huge 31.3-inch touchscreen hidden in the roof for tv entertainment. Uninterrupted viewing is guaranteed using the installed 5G cellular data connection in the car.     

Unlike Mercedes, BMW mixes electric with conventional drivelines in the same bodywork based on a flexible architecture. Plug-in hybrid versions will follow in 2023; in the US and China, petrol versions with mild hybrid technology will accompany the launch of the i7. Europe starts with the latter, but a lightly electrified diesel version will soon join the showroom. According to BMW, additional electric variants are also on the agenda, such as a top of the line M70 xDrive.

The official launch is scheduled for autumn 2022.

Image source: BMW

Authored by: Piet Andries