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BMW i7 M70 2024 review

Dylan Campbell

Cars don’t come much better than the BMW i7 M70 – even if some minor flaws prevent it from reaching perfection

Good points

  • Breathtaking acceleration
  • Show-stopping luxury interior
  • Space like a small living room
  • Beautiful air-suspended ride quality
  • Sublime refinement and quietude
  • Easy-to-trust driver assist systems

Needs work

  • Price unattainable for most
  • 2.7-tonne weight blunts dynamics
  • High energy consumption
  • Distracting app-based operating system
  • Some interior buttons feel cheap
  • No spare wheel

There’s a gurgled, involuntary scream of “stop!” from the rear-seat passenger just as the BMW i7 M70 hits 100km/h – something’s just taken a severely brisk 3.7 seconds.

Reclining lazily in the back of the lengthy sedan, there was no giveaway for our guest that such violent acceleration was about to be thrust about them – pardon the pun – and even the driver, sat silently with no tell-tale risen revs with launch control as per an internal combustion car, had only an ominous countdown timer on the dash to signal what was about to happen.

BMW i7 M70 2024 rear 3/4

To be sure, the BMW M7 i70 – with its dual 485kW/1100Nm electric motors and all-wheel drive – is fiendishly fast, arguably much quicker than it needs to be.

Its brutal electric acceleration is just one of the i7 M70’s several party tricks, which also include electrically opening-and-closing doors and an enormous 31.3-inch rear screen that drops from the ceiling to the delight of back-seat passengers.

Going up against the electric Mercedes-Benz EQS and, in the not-too-distant future, a new all-electric Audi A8, the M70 is the range-topper of the i7 line-up, itself the electrified version of the new seventh-generation G70 7 Series.

BMW i7 M70 2024 front

These vehicles are all about luxury, prestige and space – especially for those in the back. An M badge, in the case of the M70, adds a performance touch.

The i7 M70 has an MSRP of $344,900, eclipsing $360,000 once you add on-road costs. In the 7 Series range in Australia, it sits above both the 280kW/540Nm 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six 740i ($272,900 before on-road costs) and the electric, 400kW/745Nm i7 xDrive60 ($306,900 before on-road costs).

In the metal, the i7 has its good angles – and less-good ones. An enormous car, the vast, flat bonnet looks so big you could land a helicopter on it; while the squinty headlights and oversized rodent-like nostril grilles certainly make a statement.

BMW i7 M70 2024 badge

Subtle enough not to turn heads – especially in our test car’s metallic navy Tanzanite Blue – at nearly 5.4 metres long the i7 still cuts an imposing figure and makes its presence known.

Chasing Cars tested the i7 M70 on the roads in and around Melbourne, Victoria.

What are the i7 (M70)’s features and options for the price?

As you’d hope for the price of a Melbourne one-bedroom apartment, the i7 M70 comes with a long list of standard equipment, the following is just the main driving components:

  • Twin electric motors (190kW/365Nm front, 360kW/650Nm rear); all-wheel-drive
  • Boost mode, launch control and ‘max range’ mode
  • Lithium-ion 101.7kWh useable (106kWh gross) battery pack with claimed range up to 560km (WLTP)
  • Self-levelling air suspension that can be raised by 20mm up to 35km/h
  • Active anti-roll bars
  • Rear-wheel-steering

BMW i7 M70 2024 front close

Other highlights from the i7 M70’s feature list include the following:

  • 21-inch wheels
  • Adaptive LED headlights
  • Head-up display
  • 12.3-inch digital instrument display
  • 14.9-inch digital infotainment touchscreen
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • DAB+ digital radio
  • Bowers & Wilkins Diamond 1965w 35-speaker audio system
  • 31.3-inch roof-mounted electrically folding 8K rear entertainment display
  • Wireless phone charging (front and rear)
  • Multi-function semi-autonomous parking
  • Merino leather and wool-cashmere interior trim
  • Four-zone air-conditioning
  • Interior heating/cooling remote preconditioning
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Heated armrests (front and rear)
  • Heated and cooled front massage seats
  • Heated and cooled rear massage seats
  • Dual 5.5-inch digital touchscreens in rear doors
  • Electric panoramic sunroof
  • Electric rear window blinds
  • Electric opening and closing, soft-close passenger doors (front and rear)
  • Electric opening and closing boot-lid

BMW offers a host of non-cost options including the M Performance Package (which adds gloss black exterior elements and a small rear lip spoiler) while there are four 21.0-inch wheel design options and multiple interior/exterior colour and trims.

How does the i7 M70 drive?

Cars don’t get much better to drive than the i7 M70.

Its electric motors operate near silently and offer instant, thunderous acceleration. Around town, the air-suspended ride quality is silken, refinement is supreme and it’s so quiet, even at freeway speeds, that you can hear the leather of the steering wheel against your hands.

BMW i7 M70 2024 driving front 3

The all-wheel steering – which works so aggressively the rear wheels almost look broken when watching it drive around a car park – conceals the i7’s 3215mm wheelbase and makes it feel like a much smaller car. You can slice around tight roundabouts with absolute ease.

An example of an item that embodies the i7’s effortlessness is the indicator stalk, which snaps lightly into place with the delicacy of breaking a thin wafer with your fingertips. A team of doctorate-educated German engineers surely fussed over this for weeks.

The i7 M70’s power, as already mentioned, is absurd – it’s far faster than it needs to be. Zero to 100km/h in 4.5 seconds would be sporting enough, let alone 3.7 seconds. A party trick that never gets old is frightening passengers with the i7’s savage, wheelspin-free acceleration.

BMW i7 M70 2024 driving rear 2

Pull the solitary left steering wheel paddle and a boost mode engages with a 10-second countdown timer (temporarily increasing grunt from 425kW/1015Nm to 485kW/1100Nm). The i7 feels silently tensed, like a tightly coiled spring. Plant your right foot and hold on. For such a large and heavy car, it’s almost physics-defyingly fast.

Physics, however, catches up with it in the corners. While its Pirelli P-Zero tyres measure 255mm wide front and 275mm wide rear, and there’s active anti-roll bars, they can only do so much with a vehicle that weighs 2695kg (DIN – and no, that’s not a typo).

Fortunately the weight is low in the car and the i7 M70 resists body-roll impressively, the rear-wheel-steering adding some additional agility that otherwise wouldn’t be there. But ultimately, the tyres can only do so much.

BMW i7 M70 2024 driving with DC

While it can operate effectively silently, BMW has installed the i7 with a suite of artificial sounds that correspond to your throttle input and acceleration.

Sport mode has an ominous futuristic hum that seems to swell from underneath you, while Expressive mode fills the cabin with a bizarre, choir-like sound that is laugh-out-loud funny.

Fun to play with and somehow sounding expensive and rich, the artificial tunes add a little fascination to what would otherwise be a noiseless, one-dimensional experience.

BMW i7 M70 2024 driving rear

The i7’s advanced driver assistance systems are some of the best we’ve tested, confidently tracking in the middle of the lane and easy to trust. The i7 offers full traffic jam assist which can brake to a stop using the radar and accelerate again, dramatically reducing driver exertion.

Automatic lane-changing means you merely activate the indicator and the car takes care of the rest. If it wasn’t for the law, we’ve no doubt the i7 M70 could confidently drive itself on the freeway for long stretches.

BMW i7 M70 2024 driving front

Freeway motoring is almost where the i7 M70 feels most at home. This is a vehicle in which you could do the Sydney to Melbourne drive and emerge at the other end feeling nothing but totally refreshed, it’s that good.

Some minor dynamic gripes: over harsher road imperfections we noticed a quiet rattle from the front suspension like something was loose. Something for the engineers to potentially iron-out, same to the unbecoming clunk when occasionally switching from drive to reverse in a hurry.

What is the i7 M70’s interior and tech like?

The i7’s interior is like a first-class seat on a leading airline, although there are some minor elements we found disappointing (which we’ll get to).

Unlock the i7 M70 at night and you get a full ‘light show’ from the LED headlights at tail-lights, which dance illumination around and even sparkle like stars. Very cool.

BMW i7 M70 2024 interior

Press on the outside of the front door and it opens automatically, the electric servo motor whirring away as the door opens. You can open the door normally, although you pull against the dormant electric motor, which never stops feeling like you’re hurting it slightly. A minor thing.

Once inside, you step on the brake pedal and the driver’s door closes itself automatically – a very nice touch, we have to say.

The i7’s interior is a light-filled, beautiful place abounding with luxury materials and lush, deep carpets – and, well, screens. An enormous curved screen spans from behind the steering wheel partway across the dash and takes pride of place in the i7’s front row.

BMW i7 M70 2024 front seat

The doors and seats are trimmed in cashmere, which sounds very posh but if somebody told you it was just linen, you’d also believe them. Nevertheless, it’s a lovely material and adds a warmth to the i7’s cabin it might not otherwise have if it was all leather.

Front seat passengers are totally spoilt with massage seats – which might not replace the masseuse from the local day spa, but they’re still fun – that are also heated and ventilated.

One thought we had for such a high-tech vehicle is the interesting lack of digital side mirrors and rear-vision mirror, something offered by the highest tech electric cars today – although a great many i7 owners would be only too happy with conventional mirrors, we’re sure.

BMW i7 M70 2024 touchscreen

A few criticisms, beginning with the minimal front seat storage space.

The centre console bin isn’t particularly deep, the door bottle holders are small and once you’ve put your phone in the wireless charging cradle, the hunt begins for relative nooks and crannies to put keys and wallet – there aren’t cavernous storage openings you can breezily throw them into.

The jury is also out for us on BMW’s OS8.5 infotainment operating system – it’s too distracting. BMW seems to have shifted away from intuitive, multi-level menus in favour of storing most functions in a central menu with icons (like apps on a smartphone).

BMW i7 M70 2024 dash detail

The main issue is that the icons are small and ordered alphabetically – functions like Parking Cameras are illogically beside Personal Hotspot – so you occasionally have to squint to find what you need.

The car’s voice control is good but it’s still not ideal, and you find yourself with your eyes off the road for quite some time.

Some hard buttons could feel nicer, too. From the driver’s seat the button to automatically close the door – something you use often – is like pressing against a thin bit of plastic trim, which creaks. It feels cheap.

BMW i7 M70 2024 armrest screen

Things improve massively in the back. The rear seat makes its occupants feel very special. The rear door opening is cavernously wide making ingress and egress effortless, no need to duck heads here.

The rear seats are sumptuously padded and can recline the passenger-side rear seat to a fair degree when able to fold down the front seat (which blocks the side mirror for the driver, unfortunately).

It’s not fully reclinable as the little icon on the door-mounted control screen suggests, but it’s enough to lull you into a nap if you so wish. The cloud-like head pillows certainly help in that regard.

BMW i7 M70 2024 back seat
BMW i7 M70 2024 back seat 2

Of course, there’s more space than a small living room back here, with ample foot, leg, knee, shoulder and head-room. That said, it’s a pity there’s no flat floor in the rear of the i7, a benefit of the latest electric vehicles and one that would have only added to the luxurious feeling of space.

A sizeable transmission tunnel gives away that the i7’s architecture is built also for internal combustion applications – to save money, presumably. Meanwhile the rear has two ISOFIX mounting points and three top tethers.

One of the biggest show-stopping features of the entire i7 is its enormous 31.3-inch rear screen which folds down from the roof. A proper cinema-mode is possible, rear window shades raising theatrically as the screen folds down.

BMW i7 M70 2024 back seat screen

The car requires a SIM card to be installed, and My BMW and Amazon Fire accounts activated, before you can watch anything. Efforts to connect the vehicle to our smartphone’s hotspot were in vain; and it seemed simple smartphone mirroring wasn’t possible.

Something of a closed ecosystem unto itself, it takes a lot of fiddling before you can use the rear screen.

The i7’s deep 500-litre boot is ready to swallow up multiple suitcases for an airport run, opens electrically and houses a puncture repair kit – no spare wheel. A small compartment under the boot floor accommodates charging cables and other related addenda.

BMW i7 M70 2024 boot 2
BMW i7 M70 2024 boot

One fit-and-finish foible we spotted in the boot was the lack of any carpeted lining of the ceiling at the back of the boot, exposing bare pressed metal with paint overspray – something a little bit too easy to notice if you owned the car.

There is no under-bonnet storage space, just an enormous slab of plastic.

Is the i7 M70 a safe car?

Although it hasn’t been crash-tested locally in Australia – and, given its price, is unlikely to be – the i7 M70 is as safe as a vehicle wearing the BMW white-and-blue roundel has ever been.

Safety features include:

  • Seven airbags including a front-centre airbag
  • Advanced adaptive cruise control
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Lane departure warning with steering assist
  • Autonomous obstacle evasion
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Autonomous emergency braking (forward and reverse)
  • Front and rear cross-traffic alert
  • Vehicle door exit warning (ie, if a cyclist is approaching)
  • Automatic speed limiter
  • Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (an external speaker that, at low speeds, warns pedestrians it’s approaching with a quiet hum)
  • Active intelligent high beam (can detect cars ahead and switch off individual LEDs to prevent dazzling when using high beam)
  • Rear view and surround view parking cameras
  • Driver fatigue monitor

BMW i7 M70 2024 driving side

One safety question mark is the electric doors close quite aggressively and forcefully – and cheerfully slam shut on any smaller items you might be inserting in the way.

We thought about testing it on our finger but based on other items we’d put in the door first, we couldn’t be sure it wouldn’t chop it off. Little children, beware.

To be fair, this could just as easily happen with all manner of auto-closing electric windows from countless other car companies; and sensibly, the i7’s doors will sense when a larger object is in the way when opening or closing, and stop.

What are the i7 M70’s ownership costs?

BMW claims the i7 M70’s lithium-ion 101.7kWh useable (106kWh gross) battery pack can provide between 488km and 560km of range on the reasonably accurate WLTP cycle. That’s between 23.8kWh/100km and 20.8kWh/100km.

Our initial testing on city roads with some motorway driving was yielding around 390km of range, or 26kWh/100km – which is very high consumption by electric car standards, if unsurprising for such a heavy, large luxury sedan.

BMW i7 M70 2024 badge 2

We were driving in hot conditions pumping the air-conditioning, and not driving in any particularly economical way. We don’t doubt 450km would be possible with mostly city (>80km/h) use.

Recharging from zero to 100 percent takes 5.5 hours using the maximum possible 22kW AC charging speed; while 10 to 80 percent takes 34 minutes provided the i7 can reach its 195kW DC maximum.

Chasing Cars will conduct a full range and charging test at a later date to verify these claims.

The i7 comes with BMW’s five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty. Six years and unlimited kilometres of basic servicing is included as is a five-year subscription to Chargefox.

The honest verdict on the i7 M70

The i7 M70 is personally one of the best cars I’ve driven in my near-20 years as a car reviewer and journalist – it’s superb.

While $344,900 (before on-roads) is not a sum most Australians have weighing down their savings account, the case can be made for the i7 M70 being relatively good value considering the next generation Rolls-Royce Ghost is presumed to be built on the same electric platform, and will ostensibly be the same vehicle but with a nicer interior.

BMW i7 M70 2024 driving front 4

Certainly there’s more than a bit of Rolls in the i7 M70’s roofline.

That all said, if being able to boast about the range-topping model disinterest you, the $38,000 cheaper i7 xDrive60 has most of the equipment of the M70, greater range and 0-100km/h in 4.7 seconds is more than fast enough for a car of this type.

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