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BMW i7 Singapore Review - xDrive60 Pure Excellence 101.7kWh (A)

The BMW i7 xdrive60 Pure Excellence is BMW's flagship electric sedan and is the all electric version of the BMW 7 series. Going up against the Mercedes-Benz EQS, the i7 comes equipped with an all new steering wheel design, air suspension, and the latest integrated instrument cluster running BMW OS8.

Progress in the automotive world can be a scary process. Change too slowly, and you're left behind. Change too quickly and you risk losing some of your existing consumer base. It's a tough act to pull off, and is a process that major automakers around the world have thought about extensively. In the case of BMW, while the flagship BMW IX was a ground up EV with no petrol counterpart, the newly minted BMW i7 is launched as an all electric version of the legendary BMW 7 Series - identical to each other apart from the drivetrain. While some might mock the fact that the i7 isn't a ground up EV, the move in actually a rather smart one, allowing a more palatable bridge for 7 Series owners to take the jump toward electrification while simultaneously attracting newer and younger consumers with the tech-forward packaging of the car.

Visually, the i7 definitely hits the spot and checks the boxes for a luxury sedan. It is big, imposing, and expensive looking - a must for a car that will potentially be used to chauffeur about leaders of industry. Available only in the long wheelbase version, the i7 looks immense, making full use of its frame to flex those boxy but modern lines. In reality, the car is only 1cm longer than previous long wheelbase versions of the 7 Series, but it is also 5cm wider and 5cm taller, giving it some major Rolls Royce vibes - especially when ordered in an optional two-tone paint specification. Based on BMW's new design language, much of the car's exterior trim pieces are flushed, giving the car an extremely sleek look. A good example of this is the inclusion of flushed and covered door handles - a probably unintentional but very pleasant throwback to the E38, which is the last time any 7 Series had covered door handles.

While the i7's exterior already looks the part, it is inside the cabin where I think the i7 really makes a statement. The cabin is extremely modern and feels very youthful for a car in this segment - a good thing for those who want to indulge in the ownership experience of a luxury sedan but aren't too fond of more traditional designs of other luxury sedans on the market. The interior does feel a tad too modern on first impression, but the i7's repertoire of cool features win you over very quickly. One such feature would have to be the button operated door controls, which allow you to open the doors of the i7 with the touch of a button. The system is smart too, and is equipped to sense obstacles - preventing the doors from slamming into a person, a pillar, or another car beside you. This means that this technology isn't just a gimmick, and will actually work in real life, such as in tighter car park spaces or narrow streets. You can even open all 4 doors at once through the infotainment unit - a feature that will seldom be used, but boy does it feel good when you do get to show it off.

Aside from the integrated curved display that dominates the dashboard, other noteworthy features in the i7 such as the hidden air conditioning vents which declutter the dashboard while simultaneously adding a layer of sophistication to the interior. Instead of one central control screen located in the middle armrest in the second row, BMW have opted for dedicated screens on each of the rear doors, allowing for what feels like a more personalised experience. These dedicated screens allow users to control the media, blinds, lighting, temperature, and seats. And yes - massage functions are available on both front and rear seats. An impressive 3.2m long wheelbase means that rear passengers have a ridiculous amount of legroom - so much that you'll be able to sit comfortably while casually fitting a couple of young children in the footwell in front of you.

On the road, the i7 is powered by a 101.7 kWh battery, running a dual motor, all wheel drive setup which is good for 536 bhp and 745 Nm of torque. All this, will propel this 2,7 tonne beast of a car from 0-100 km/h in a spritely 4.7s - impressive for a car that measures almost 5.4m in total length. Apart from the obvious perk of having instant torque, the i7's electric drivetrain allows the i7 to feel light on its feet - making it easier to drive around town than any other 7 series before it. While the i7 is an extremely capable performer and handles well for its size and heft, the car does feel like it is setup for comfort, and does its best work when just wafting through traffic and eating up the miles on the expressway. Adaptive air suspension, coupled with modest 20 inch wheels, ensure that the ride quality is superlative and faultless.

Overall, the i7 is an extremely good car that has seamlessly blended a tech-focussed interior into a luxury package - something that a younger demographic would enjoy very much. Unlike the Mercedes-Benz EQS, which appeals to younger audiences by being a completely different car to the S-Class, the i7 achieves the same thing by being a trendier, more relevant version of the 7 Series, making it not only appealing to a younger audience, but also making it easier for existing 7 Series owners to make the jump toward electrification.


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