BMW GOES ALL-IN WITH ELECTRIC VERSION OF FLAGSHIP 7 SERIES SEDAN FOR 2023
BMW tiptoed into the world of electric vehicles about a decade ago with the nifty little i3 hatchback, but goes all in this year with the introduction of the 2023 BMW i7 xDrive60, an electrified take on its full-size flagship 7 Series sedan.
Frankly, though, many of the tech systems can be overwhelming when it comes to their operation. Scrolling through the horizontal touchscreen to get to the proper menu for the desired function can be distracting if you are driving alone. A couple of knobs might help simplify the whole operation.
The 2023 BMW i7 xDrive60 comes in only one trim level, though it also is offered with specific option packages that allow for customization of the vehicle. Those packages are designated Convenience, Sport, and Performance models that boost MSRP from the base $119,300 to $124,250, $123,250, and $122,640, respectively.
All 2023 BMW i7 xDrive60 sedans come with standard all-wheel drive (as the xDrive designation suggests) and two electric motors (one on each axle) that produce a combined 536 horsepower and 549 pound-feet of torque. I’d say this is strong evidence that horsepower wars aren’t ending with the phase-out of gas-powered V8s and V12s.
Company clockers pegged the zero-to-60 mph time at 4.5 seconds. The gasoline-powered 760i is a bit quicker at 4.1 seconds and the 740i is a bit slower at 5.2 seconds.
BMW puts all-electric driving range of 296-to-318 miles depending on wheel and tire sizes. The standard 19-inchers can be upgraded to 20 or 21s. The government gives models with 19-inch wheels a rating of 89 MPGe, those shod with 20-inchers 83 MPGe, and the 21-inchers at 87 MPGe.
Fast chargers can get battery capacity up from 10 percent charge up to 80 percent in 34 minutes, according to the company.
Standard features covered by the $199,300 starting MSRP include tech features like a head-up display, navigation, digital instrument panels, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, keyless entry and push-button start, soft-close doors, full LED headlights, parking assist system, and Sport, Efficient,, and Personal drive modes.
Many “extra features” such as a heated steering wheel, glass controls, multifunction rear seats, wireless device charging, and more were included on my test i7 at no extra charge, but optional packages jacked up the price to $156,595 including the $995 destination and delivery charge.
Those packages included an upgrade to the parking assist system as well as some cosmetic touches like $5,000 for the “frozen deep gray” exterior color. The Rear Executive Lounge package (reclining seats and footrests, rear console, and rear BMW theater screen) came at a cost of $7.250.
The M Sport Package that includes the 21-inch wheels, M steering wheel and M design elements added an extra $1,300.
An interesting feature found in the Executive Package — not to be confused with the Rear Executive Lounge package mentioned earlier — includes automatic doors that close at the push of a button.
It seems a bit of an overkill to have three ways to open the front doors but that’s the Germans for you. If they can over-engineer a function, they’ll get right to it.
The Executive Package also includes massaging front seats and active roll stabilization.
Hey. If you’re starting with a car that costs you $120,000, what’s an extra $6,650?
What I liked about the 2023 BMW i7 xDrive60: The ride is exceptionally smooth and, of course, very quiet. Acceleration is typical of electric vehicles, which to say exceptional. The interior is impeccable and filled with high-quality, premium materials. It’s not a new feature for BMW, but soft-close system doors automatically secures them if they are not completely closed when you get in.
What I didn’t like about the 2023 BMW i7 xDrive60: The plethora of tech functions are plentiful but have a steep learning curve. Some knobs and even buttons might simplify things. There is no AM radio band as German engineers have yet to come up with a way to prevent the electric motor from interfering with the AM reception. Range falls short of some luxury competitors.
Would I buy the 2023 BMW i7 xDrive60? The price is way on the steep side and, as with all EVs, the infrastructure to support them isn’t all there yet so no, probably not. It’s a beautiful car, though, so that would be my loss.