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BMW i7 xDrive60 2023 review

Curt Dupriez
Deputy editor

BMW’s seventh-generation limousine debuts a fully electric i7 flagship while flaunting opulence and technical excess

Good points

  • Brutish styling
  • Opulent cabin
  • Large party trick bag
  • Grand EV motivation
  • Supreme on-road comfort
  • Excellent ownership credentials

Needs work

  • Clumsy automatic doors
  • User learning curve
  • Confounding My Mode drive modes
  • Theatre can’t power game consoles
  • Only one reclining rear seat
  • iDrive 8 system not very bespoke

The 7 Series has long been a BMW technical spearhead, debuting the Munich marque’s takes on ABS (1977’s E23), production V12 engines and xenon headlights (1986’s E32), satellite navigation (1994’s E38), iDrive infotainment (2001’s E65/E66), head-up display (2008’s F01/F02) and remote parking (2015’s G11/G12). Most of it with trickle-down to humbler model lines.

But the new seventh-generation is something else when it comes to more-is-more ostentation.

BMW i7 xDrive60 2023 twins

Widescreen rear passenger entertainment? Automatic doors? Swarovski crystal DLRs? Drive mode soundtracks created by Grammy-winning composer Hans Zimmer pumped through 35-speaker surround sound? These are tricks in the ‘7’ bag that are hard to imagine cropping up in a 3 Series anytime soon.

But this new G70 generation does mark an important milestone for its own model providence: it spurns the i7 version, the higher of two trim levels and first-ever fully electric 7 Series limousine.

And in grandiose style, too: at just under 5.4 metres in length, the one-size-fits-plenty G70 is longer than the old long-wheelbase 7 Series. And broader and taller too.

Natural rivals include the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and its fully-electric EQS sedan equivilant, though Audi is yet to offer an electric equivalent for its A8/S8 but it can only be a matter of time.

BMW i7 xDrive60 2023 interior

It comes in two variants, the bold excess of the more ‘classic’ 3.0-litre petrol turbo-six-powered 740i ($268,900) and the even more unapologetically elaborate i7 ($297,900 list) as the forward-thinking BEV flagship.

It’s really the latter variant with the tougher two-pronged task. On one prong it’s expected to expand the horizons of 7 Series ultra luxury, opulence and comfort wrapped in conspicuous technical innovation.

On the other prong, it ought to demonstrate eco-sympathetic tendencies and efficiencies befitting an electrified BMW, as it sits alongside other ‘i’ branded models.

Interestingly, the i7 is perhaps more impressive as an EV experience than it is as a smorgasbord of gee-wizardry. Even if it’s the whiz-bang party tricks and technical seduction that serve as attention grabbing drawcards.

BMW i7 xDrive60 2023 badge

We can’t glean over that exterior design and its presence and impact. Its brutish styling targets captains of industries, pop stars and the mega rich, with a show bag of treats to titillate occupants and bystanders alike.

The headlights, with laser-light matching LED projection, present a Cirque du Soleil light show at start-up, the panoramic glass roof holds a dynamic light display at night, and the kidney grille frame is LED illuminated, though only when the i7 is stationary here in OZ due to ADRs.

Not only are the automatic doors inspired by the likes of Bentley and Rolls Royce, the 7 Series can also be had in brash horizontally split two-tone paintwork.

Its electro-stats are befitting its pitch. Dual-motor propulsion nets 400kW and 745Nm of system output and, at 4.7 seconds claimed for 0-100km/h, the i7 is rapid without being needlessly earth-shattering. Its range claim, a whopping 625 kilometres WLTP, is arguably a more coveted asset for how this limousine is positioned.

BMW i7 xDrive60 2023 front night

The battery is a huge 106kWh – 102kWh usable – and consumption is 22.2kWh per hundred, a figure the i7 faithfully replicated during the recent Aussie launch program where Chasing Cars sampled both ICE and BEV versions.

On its 195kW DC fast charging peak, 10 to 80 percent recharging is claimed to be 34 mins, while a 10-minute pitstop on the cable promises to yield 170kms of range.

In comparison, the petrol version brings 280kW/540Nm of oomph through the rear wheels for a 5.4sec 0-100km/h performance claim and a promise of 7.9L/100km frugality.

What are the i7 xDrive60’s features and options for the price?

The i7 clocks in at $297,900 before options and on-road for what’s easily the techiest and most forward thinking 7 Series to date. Meanwhile, the petrol-six-powered 740i starts from a slightly more affordable $268,900 list price.

Underpinnings wise, both versions fit height-adjustable and adaptive air suspension as well as active four-wheel steering as standard. However, only the i7 fits 48-volt active roll chassis stabilisation and what BMW calls Active Roll Comfort smarts.

BMW i7 xDrive60 2023 wheel

The 740i fits 20-inch wheels, while the i7 has 21s. M Sport styling is standard though buyers can option a more luxo-themed Design Pure Excellent exterior theme at no extra cost.

Inside, the i7 fits heated and ventilated massage seats in five different leather-trimmed themes as well as a leather and cashmere wool combination exclusive to a Connoisseur Lounge option (a $27,900 on-cost on 740i). Fully adjustable multifunction seats are fitted in both rows.

Standard is a curved display 12.3-inch instrumentation and a 14.9-inch multimedia touchscreen featuring iDrive 8 with 5G functionality.

BMW i7 xDrive60 2023 stereo

A head-up display is standard. Sound is a 35-speaker 1965w Bowers and Wilkins surround system. Row two features BMW’s Entertainment Experience as standard and includes a 31.3-inch theatre screen with a 32:9 wide format and 8K resolution, with 5.5-inch individual rear passenger control pads.

Other standard features of the flagship EV include aforementioned treats such as automatic doors, the adaptive crystal headlights, Iconic Sounds (H Zimmer) audio soundtracks and Sky Lounge glass roof features. Also bundled into the entry price is an 11kW wallbox and a five-year Chargefox recharging subscription.

How does the i7 xDrive60 drive?

For its size, features set and fully electrified powertrain architecture, it’s no surprise that the i7 is a porker, weighing in at 2715kg kerb.

And on the move, there’s almost a tangible sense that it smothers the landscape below, lumps, hump and speed bumps included.

BMW i7 xDrive60 2023 front driving

Anywhere, anytime, the i7 just seems to waft along, near silently save for a faint generator like whirl. If there’s Grammy-winning compositional accompaniment, it’s very subtle indeed.

While the quiet running and torquey undertow of EV propulsion has brought new and mostly pleasing dimensions to mainstream vehicle segments, it’s an absolute (velvet) glove fit for the large limousine format. It’s here the solemn quietness and dignified polish of electric drive really completes the package to the desired brief.

Its 400kW and 745Nm – the level of torque akin to twin-turbo V8 M Cars – dispatches the i7 heft handsomely and effortlessly.

Given how much metal, glass, rubber and high-voltage battery mass is at play, the 7 Series does feel surprisingly chipper in acceleration and wieldy once the curves arrive. Unusually, the tiller has one (left) paddle for an instantaneous ‘boost’ mode kick, though it really now warranted in any one of i7’s dizzying array of drive modes.

BMW i7 xDrive60 2023 rear driving distance

My Modes, as its called, does complicate drive mode convention, because it alters settings for so many features. Setting choices are Personal (yes), Efficient (fine), Sport (gotcha), Expressive (…erm?), Relax (…huh?) and Theatre (…what the?), and switching between them can and will change anything from powertrain response to massage seat setting and powered window blind closing and opening.

What we quickly discover with our first taste of i7, in particular, is that there are learning curves at play far too lengthy to fully travel during our one-day 7 Series launch program. Though, thankfully, not too much of it surrounds the core manner of its on-road character.

The ride quality is very wafty, if in the best possible sense. Again, the i7 seems to flatten any imperfection, with no ruffles, no noise and with absolute dignity.

And it does so while maintaining solid communication and decent feedback up through the chassis, without the smallest body control wobble. In fact, for a chassis so softly set, the sense of connection is very impressive.

BMW i7 xDrive60 2023 front driving hill

This extends through to the steering, which is light, fluid and far more organic in feel than you expect given the technically elaborate union between tiller and tyres – all four of them given the active steering functionality.

Further, the active steering is so subtle that it’s only noticeable on full lock, where it does a fine job of shrinking the 5.4-metre four-door’s turning circle.

The i7 can cover ground very quickly when you want it to. Unsurprisingly, response is immediate and surly, the sense of thrust never seems to wane and there’s a big reserve of grip and impressive balance hooking hard through a sweeping corner.

But it’s no M Car and ultimately its circa 2.7 tonnes demand some circumspect encouragement from the i7’s plushly appointed helm.

BMW i7 xDrive60 2023 rear driving

BMW’s catchphrase for 7 Series is “best car to drive, best car to be driven in,” so it would be remiss not to mention the on-road experience from a back seat. Realistically, if there’s a type of vehicle where driving duties might be farmed out to hire help, it’s in a hyper-luxury limousine such as this.

Even from the car-sickness-inducing half of the cabin, the i7 is a joy to tour in. Part of it is the serenity of the consummate ride comfort and absolute isolation in terms of extraneous noise, vibration and harshness that have all been eradicated from the on-road equation. But another key part is the smooth and rounded nature of the electric drive.

If you had to lap Australia – twice – this is the sort of in-car environment you’d want to experience it in. And a first class experience at that.

What is the i7 xDrive60’s interior and tech like?

The i7’s cabin is as much about where to start as it is what it’s got. How about: doors?

The EV’s automatic powered doors open and close via various ways – buttons inside and out, the key fob, voice activation, even depressing the brake pedal on entry.

BMW i7 xDrive60 2023 interior front

Operation is conditional, including vehicle stance and proximity clearances. And, frankly, they’re a bit of a chore.

On test, they function only some of the time. And “open sesame” doesn’t cut it. If you get impatient, the old-school manual method is clumsy as the door action is weighed down by the automatic actuators.

The 740i gets normal doors as standard (with auto optional) and realistically they’re the most convenient choice.

There’s elaborate…and then there’s i7 with Connoisseur Lounge option levels of sheer excess. We nickname our champagne and brown interior example, with loads of metallic trim glitz and purple-lit mood thematics, Elton, as you’d imagine the ostention would be right down the rocketman’s bourgeois alley.

BMW i7 xDrive60 2023 i drive

That’s certainly not a dig. In fact, the i7 as fit-out is very fetching indeed. It looks, feels and even smells like ultra-luxury, be it broad first impressions or when taking time to examine the details.

One obvious showpiece is the curved digital dual-display. It comprises a 12.3-inch driver’s screen and a whopping 14.9-inch centre screen for navigation and infotainment that spans much of dash fascia that the display appears to float above.

The driver’s screen skin is BMW’s like it or lump it hexagonal skin design, while media uses BMW’s operating system 8/iDrive 8.

The latter is slick and razor sharp, though the main theme tiles are lifted from other i models rather than adopting a bespoke-for-7 Series look and some of the submenu content, especially the icons, are a little passe.

BMW i7 xDrive60 2023 touchscreen

Nitpicky? Well, with a flagship technical showcase such as i7, you should.

The front seating, as one might expect, is supremely sumptuous and comfortable, with a massaging power and vigour akin to a Swedish bodybuilder (one imagines).

It not just the pews that offer heating, as warmth oozes from the steering wheel, console and door armrests in both rows, the door trim panels and even some of the instrument panel if the user so wishes.

The dash and door trims are minted in so-called Walknappa leather and all of the touchpoints are wonderfully luxurious, while the fine wood inlays and an excess of real metal detailing is a real treat, even if the general flamboyant theme is quite overwhelming.

BMW i7 xDrive60 2023 seats

Speaking of which, the 1965-watt, 35-speaker Bowers and Wilkins surround sound audio system is, with the volume teased, almost confronting in its sonic splendour.

Interestingly, the most impressive feature for your author is the so-called Interaction Bar, a slim colour touchscreen strip that hides adjustment measures for the four-zone climate control in a discrete strip along the dash trim.

The air vents, too, are hidden. It’s wonderfully minimalist and quite delightful.

The opposite end of the fanfare spectrum is the rear Theatre Screen set-up, easily the i7’s biggest party trick.

BMW i7 xDrive60 2023 back seat

The massive 31.3-inch Theatre Screen that folds down from the ceiling and, once activated either stationary on the move, it displays all manner of content in 32:9 ultra-wide format that displays up to 8K resolution if your source, be it your device or even 5G streaming, is up to it.

There’s HDMI connectivity too, but a lack of three-pin power means it can’t run an Xbox or Playstation without external power, which is a closely missed trick. That stated, the i7 fits a total of six USB-C and four 12-volt outlets.

The rear seats are as wonderful as the fronts, particularly with the Connoisseur Lounge option that folds the front seats forward and reclines the rear outboard position much like Gold Class cinema, at least on the passenger-side pew.

BMW i7 xDrive60 2023 door screen
Control of the fully adjustable, multifunction rear seating is controlled via very cool 5.5-inch colour touchscreens located on the door cards, that also operate the rear media system and rear climate control.

Row two is very spacious as a default, extremely so once you dial in personalised comfort, and the extent of opulence matches the high standards flaunted up front. This really is ultra-luxury executed with aplomb.

The boot, too, is without much compromise, offering a huge 500 litres of luggage space without any impact on the cabin space.

Is the i7 xDrive60 a safe car?

The G70 7 Series hasn’t been tested by Euro NCAP or ANCAP, though it’s not lacking for safety fit-out and features.

The 7 Series’ Driver Assistant Professional bundle includes all-speed forward and reversing AEB as well as lane departure and lane change warning, as well as both forward and reversing cross traffic alert. It fits seven air-bags.

BMW i7 xDrive60 2023 side

Also handy for a device this large is the Parking Assistant Professional, with a whole trick bag of active features to help guide you while parking including Lateral Parking Aid and Reversing Assistant that can automatically retrace trajectory in reverse up to 200 metres in distance.

For completeness, the i7 also fits a Drive Recorder and an interior camera that includes video anti-theft recording.

What are the i7 xDrive60’s ownership costs?

As a sweetener to lure buyers into the i7 version of the 7 Series, BMW offers a complimentary six years of unlimited-kilometre Service Inclusive Basic maintenance.

As mentioned, the EV version also comes bundled with five years of complimentary Chargefox membership for its Fast and Ultra-Rapid (DC 50kW+) charging stations.

BMW i7 xDrive60 2023 badge 2

The honest verdict on the i7 xDrive60

Against rivals such as Audi A8/S8 and Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the 7 Series is certainly the flamboyant rock star choice aimed at buyers who aren’t shrinking violets. And as a result its execution is verging on gauche.

But while the cut of its jib mightn’t be to all high street tastes, it really does nail the opulence and excess it promises.

Downsides? Some of its showpieces, such as the automatic doors, are less convincing in the experience than they are in peacock-like demonstration.

Some of its execution isn’t quite as resolved as it could be – for instance, front seat adjustment is limited while the rear ‘theatre’ screen is deployed – and at times it’s downright confounding in cause and effect.

BMW i7 xDrive60 2023driving

But despite its shortcomings, it’s hard not to be impressed and at times delighted – and often surprised by – by its ice cool mojo and the sheer sense of celebration it presents. The motoring world needs bookends of excess and the 7 Series is definitely one of them.

As it stands, it’s really the i7 version that not only piles on the flagship comfort and luxury in a big way, it’s also a solid EV in its own right as a blend of performance and driving range.

The i7 hits the mark in all the right places as a properly convincing forward-thinking hyper-luxury German limousine.

You could imagine it offers everything necessary to fit neatly as transport of choice for the likes of a squillionaire mogul or perhaps Elton John. Which is precisely the sort of machine it should be.

Overall rating
Overall rating
Running costs
Overall rating
Running costs
Approximate on‑road price Including registration and government charges

Key specs (as tested)

400kW at 0rpm
745Nm at 0rpm
Power to weight ratio
Fuel type
Fuel capacity
0 litres
Four Wheel Drive
Single gear
5391 mm
1950 mm
1544 mm
Unoccupied weight
2640 kg

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