BMW i7: all-electric luxury saloon goes official in testing shots

BMW is completing final motor and suspension testing ahead of the i7’s launch next year alongside a combustion-engined 7 Series

BMW is putting the finishing touches to its first all-electric luxury saloon, the i7, ahead of a confirmed unveiling in 2022. 

The German brand has released the first official images and details of the model, which is undergoing late-stage suspension and drive system tuning at BMW’s winter testing facility in Arjeplog, Sweden. The i7 will rival the Mercedes EQS and be sold alongside the next generation of the 7 Series.

Although the prototypes in the images is still pretty well disguised, we can see that the overall shape is more that of a traditional three-box saloon than the ultra-curvy, hatchback-style EQS. A long bonnet and high shoulder line combines with a low headlight and grille design, while the rear follows the classic large saloon format. 

  • New 2022 BMW 7 Series line-up will include an all-electric i7

BMW has confirmed that the i7 will utilise the fifth generation of the company’s eDrive electric powertrain, which recently made its debut in the iX luxury SUV. The winter testing regime is designed to ensure that the motor, battery and temperature control system “prove their high level of maturity in extreme sub-zero temperatures”, BMW claims. 

Further technical detail remains thin on the ground, although BMW claims that the cars suspension, steering, braking, driving dynamics and stability systems are “designed to raise the balance between sportiness and ride comfort that’s typical of the brand’s luxury sedans to the next level”. 

“For the first time, it is possible to experience a luxury sedan that is characterised by elegance, ride comfort and supremacy without restriction and in conjunction with a purely electric drive system”, the company states. 

It’s expected that the i7 – and by extension the next 7 Series – will make use of BMW’s modular CLAR platform also shared with the iX, along with smaller models such as the new i4. Given we also know it shares its drive system with the iX, we can anticipate the i7 launching with a 516bhp dual-motor set-up in xDrive50 flagship guise. 

That’s sufficient for a 0-62mph time of 4.6 seconds and a limited 124mph top speed in the iX – figures that the i7 should match or even beat, given it’s likely to be a bit lighter and more aerodynamic. Expect a lesser 322bhp version, badged xDrive40, to be capable of 0-62mph in around six seconds. It remains to be seen if an i7 M-badged model will join the line-up. 

The battery pack is likely to be offered in the same 71kWh and 105.2kWh forms as the iX, too. That should be sufficient for a range of well over 250 miles with the smaller version, and a range of more than 380 miles with the larger battery. Expect rapid charging capability, too. 

Pricing of the new i7 remains to be detailed. For reference, the iX starts from just under £70,000, while the i7’s biggest rival – the Mercedes EQS – is nearly £100,000. Expect the i7 to fall somewhere between that when it goes on sale – likely towards the end of next year. 

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