2024 BMW I7 EDrive50 First Drive Review: One is Enough

Kyle Patrick
by Kyle Patrick

Love It

Leave It

Plenty quick

Not much range/weight advantage over AWD

Techy cabin

Options are pricey

Cleaner steering

Still, those looks

The 2024 BMW i7 eDrive50 promises a mix of tradition and cutting-edge.

We’re big fans of the electrified version of the Bavarian limo. The slab-sided sedan has an utterly unique personality in contrast to the default-choice S-Class. Those imposing looks and the fantastic cabin combine for flagship that feels truly modern—almost brutally so.

Those wanting a bit of traditional feel though—simply quick instead of organ-flattening, and with just the one powered axle—should give this new eDrive50 trim a serious look.

Single-motor setup

While this i7 shares the same 105.7-kilowatt-hour battery pack of its more powerful brethren, its one electric motor is closely related to the more powerful one in the i7 M70 range-topper. With 455 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, it will still whir up to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 5.5 seconds, replete with Hans Zimmer soundtrack if you’re in the mood.

There aren’t many signs that this is the “entry-level” i7 either, especially when equipped with the M Sport package seen here. The move to 20-inch alloys means a staggered wheel setup: 255-width front and 285-width rear tires instead of the 245-section 19s of the default setup. You won’t find the dual-tone paint options here though, and the light-up elements in the panoramic roof are also optional instead of standard.

One of the great bits about EVs is how compact and light those electric motors. On the flip side, that means the eDrive50 doesn’t shave a whole lot of pounds off the xDrive60’s chunky curb weight: at 5,917 pounds (2,684 kilograms) it’s just a 58-pound (26-kilogram) difference. Yet not needing to share both steering and power duties, the front end of the eDrive50 has a more tuned-in, positive feel. Drivers aren’t going to think they’re now piloting a 3 Series, but it’s an altogether more engaging and enjoyable steer than the other German full-sizers. BMW’s regenerative braking is powerful and predictable; I still appreciate that the brand shows the negative output (charge) in kW as it happens.

Range is 321 miles (517 kilometers) with the 19-inch wheels, whereas the 20s shave off… uh, 20 miles (32 km). While my drive was short, the usage suggested the eDrive50 should comfortably beat that number with even just a modicum of restraint.

Techy cabin

Good news: just as there’s barely any changes outside, the eDrive50 carries over practically everything about the i7 interior experience. The seats are adjustable in myriad ways while being supple and supportive. After years of near-identical cabins, BMW has switched things up in a way that maintains most of the solid ergonomics it was known for, but with a flair for design and—especially—material use that feels progressive and forward-thinking. The crystal lightbar is a suitably eye-catching feature for a flagship, and doubles as a safety feature. If you want that wild 31-inch theater screen, BMW still offers it on this entry-level trim.

iDrive 8.5 brings with it a few key usability improvements over the original tile-heavy setup. A few customizable modules on the left side keep the most useful information within reach, and navigation is now always on the home screen. Folks still have the option of using the redundant rotary knob if they don’t want to smudge up the screen, and BMW’s voice assistant is one of the easiest, most accurate ones on the market.

Dollars and sense

The i7 eDrive50 brings the entry price of the electrified 7 Series to $106,695 in America (including destination). That’s roughly 20 grand off the price of the xDrive60, for something that offers up at least 90-percent of the same experience. A comparative bargain, then. Of course, this well-equipped tester raises that figure substantially: just about every box is ticked for a final tally of $130,395—more than AWD big-brother.

Canada’s love of all things AWD mean this model won’t be making an appearance north of the border, at least for now.

Final Thoughts: 2024 BMW i7 eDrive50 First Drive Review

The 2024 BMW i7 eDrive50 is an appealing mix of the modern battery electric experience with a simpler, more engaging rear-drive feel. A spiritual successor to the classic late-‘90s 7 Series, updated with cutting-edge tech and the most satisfying cabin the class? Yes please.

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Kyle Patrick
Kyle Patrick

Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.

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