2023 BMW I7 First Drive Review

Evan Williams
by Evan Williams


Engine: Dual Electric Motors
Output: 536 hp, 549 lb-ft.
Transmission: Single-Speed, AWD
Range (miles): 310
Range (KM): 512
Starting Price (USD): $31,560 (inc. dest.)
Starting Price (CAD): $30,880 (inc. dest.)

The power doors of the 2023 BMW i7 are a stark demonstration of what luxury truly is.

Not the car’s in-cabin tech, church-like silence, or tremendous amounts of power. The slight delay that comes with opening and closing this flagship sedan is the luxury of time. It’s a high roller feature that’s infuriating those of us driving the car in the mountains south of Palm Springs for work. But it’s also why the car will no doubt be a massive hit with those buyers who have that luxury that only large sums of money can buy.

The Electric 7

BMW’s 7 Series is all-new for 2023, and a key part of that is the electric i7. Not a distinct chassis: the i7 shares a platform and everything that comes with it with the 7. And the 7 is a big deal for BMW. Even with the launch of the X7 crossover, this car is clearly still a pinnacle of the brand’s lineup.

Where the 7 Series has offered long and short wheelbase models for generations, now it’s long only. Make that extra-long, because the 126.6-inch (3,215-millimeter) wheelbase is just shy of a quarter-inch (5 mm) longer than the old L, adding even more back-seat space for passengers (and likely the owner), and 5.2-inches (131 mm) longer overall.

Get a Quote on a New BMW i7

The 2023 BMW i7 launches in xDrive60 guise, delivering 536 hp from its pair of electric motors (258 front, 313 rear) along with 549 lb-ft of torque. A big car deserves a big battery pack, and the i7’s measures 101.7 kWh, able to deliver an EPA-estimated 310 miles (512 kilometers) of range. Acceleration? 0–60 mph (96 km/h) happens in 4.7 seconds and it can reach a top speed of 148 mph (238 km/h). It delivers neck-snapping torque each time you touch the right pedal, which will definitely take some time to get used to.

More to Come, Better Charging Now

This is the only model for now, but BMW plans an M70 model for later in 2023 with more than 600 horses from its electric motors and a nice round 1,000 Nm (737 lb-ft) of torque. That one will cut the 0–60 time to four seconds flat, though range will likely suffer. Not that owners are going to care with all that power available to them.

BMW says it has improved the brand’s charging software since the iX and i4. It’s now possible to more precisely control the temperature of the battery packs. The changes help boost battery range and life. They also boost real-world charge speeds by maintaining higher charge rates for more time. AC charging can happen at up to 22 kW if you have an 80A charger at home, while Level 3 charging speeds can hit 195 kW. The latter is enough to add 79 miles (128 km) in just 10 minutes. Tweaks to the nav system help the i7 better calculate when and for how long you’ll need to charge en route, handy when you’re stretching the car’s long legs.

SEE ALSO: BMW XM Hands-On Preview: 5 Reasons it’s BMW’s New Flagship Model

BMW’s adaptive regeneration has some cool new tricks in store this time around. In the iX, it could use navigation data and sensors for the adaptive cruise to automatically slow you down (using regenerative braking) for intersections, traffic, and bends. Now it will do the same on downhill stretches and using traffic light recognition. The changes take what was already an impressive system and make it near-transparent. You can also pick high, medium, and low regen options if you don’t like adaptive.

Space, Sound, and Sustainability

In the trunk, the electric model will hold 17.7 cubic feet (500 liters) of cargo. It’s a big boot, but it does give up a little bit of capacity versus the 19 cubes (540 L) of the gas-powered 7 Series. Compare it to the old 7 and the difference is only half a cubic foot (15 L), so BMW has done some impressive packaging here.

Sound for the EV comes from award-winning composer Hans Zimmer, a move BMW started with the iX. BMW says it “sparks an inspiring acoustic accompaniment for the all-electric driving experience to come,” and that the car can also deliver “a drive sound developing a strikingly transparent timbre with spherical components.” No, we don’t know what that means either, and while it was turned on in the settings, we didn’t hear (or at least notice) it on our drives.

Increasing a car’s green credentials is about more than just chucking in a battery and motor and calling it a day. Even on this executive flagship, BMW is working on cutting the car’s impact. The car doesn’t use rare earth metals in its motor magnets, for a start. BMW says its supply chain sourcing looks at conservation and human rights, while the company is also looking at using secondary raw materials (the i7 has up to 50 percent recycled aluminum and 30 percent recycled materials overall) and how recyclable the car’s parts are at end of life. The carbon footprint of the 2023 BMW i7 is as much as 58 percent lower than a 740d, depending on how your local power is sourced.

Sophisticated Air Suspension

Adaptive air suspension is standard on the 7 and i7, with electronic dampers. Highlights include the ability to drop 10mm in Sport mode and do the same above 75 mph (120 km/h). For rough roads, angled ramps, and other tough tilts, it can raise by 20mm. A larger air tank with some clever mounting changes, makes the system silent inside the car and lets it work faster to change ride height.

Combine the air ride with active roll control and BMW says the ride can be soft when it needs to be and hold on in corners when you’re hauling. Big claims for a big car, but the i7 delivers.

SEE ALSO: 2022 BMW i4 Review: 4 Series 4 The Future

Thanks to the suspension, this land yacht is incredibly well planted. Throw it into a corner at speeds you’d try in an M340i and it doesn’t lean; at all. On some seriously windy California mountain roads, the first sign that you’re approaching the car’s limits isn’t roll or plowing understeer, but instead is the sound of the tires letting you know it was time to maybe back things down a bit.

Making Driving Easier and More Enjoyable

Hit a surprise road imperfection – like a random drainage ditch hypothetical – and the i7 simply doesn’t care. It floats over car-eating bumps in silence as though it was nothing more than a tar strip repair. The highways around Palm Springs are NVH nightmares of grooved concrete and cracked asphalt (similar to Toronto’s highway network). The i7’s silent cabin nearly vanquishes the tremendous amount of noise we notice in any other vehicle.

Turn-in is as sharp as you’d want in a luxury sedan thanks to a variable-ratio rack that can change depending on how much you’re turning the wheel. This helps make the i7 more stable on the highway while needing fewer turns when you’re parking. Four-wheel steering exaggerates the effect, making this barge a nimble one.

The i7 is loaded with gadgets like hands-off highway driving. Steering and Lane Control Assist, part of Driving Assistant Professional, lets drivers go hands-off on divided highways and can change lanes for you with the touch of the turn signal. The i7 can park itself, undo your last maneuvers, and even record inside and outside cameras if the alarm is triggered. Starting this spring, you’ll be able to park and unpark using your phone, and if you have a particularly challenging parking garage you can record the drive once and the car will do it for you from then on. Not quite Tomorrow Never Dies, but we’re getting there.

All the Comforts of (a Really Swanky) Home

Wider new front seats have active ventilation and massage, and you can add those functions to the rear seats too. Hop in, especially in an 2023 BMW i7 with wool seats instead of leather chairs, and it’s a soft cocoon that is more comfortable than any piece of furniture in your home.

Rear seat passengers can get a full movie theatre experience including speakers in the headrest. Add in seat recline with a leg rest, and a whopping 31.3-inch 8K screen with Amazon Fire TV, YouTube and the usual streaming services, and surround sound. Close the rear blinds and disappear from the world for a few hours. With some downtime on our program, I used the fold (almost) flat right rear seat, put a movie on, and took a nap.

Everything in the back is controlled using phone-sized screens in the doors. Or rear-seat passengers can use voice controls; the car knows where you’re sitting.

Voice Command Central

The i7 uses iDrive OS8, slightly updated from the version in the iX. Like the iX, it has almost no physical controls, but like in the iX it’s not a problem. The trick is the voice command system that can do anything from tune the radio to shortening your adaptive cruise following distance. Forget about finding features in the menus, even the basics beyond climate control are buried. Just say “Hey, BMW,” and ask what you want the car to do. Don’t overthink it, just ask like you would a friend and you’ll get what you want the first or second time.

SEE ALSO: 2023 BMW 760i xDrive Review

Is that intuitive? No. Is it better than the old way? Probably. Just give it a chance.

2023 BMW i7: The Verdict

All four of the 2023 BMW i7’s doors are power opening and power closing. Press the button, use the key (it has phone as key, too) or use the app and the doors pop slightly open, wait a beat, and then slowly open the rest of the way. Press the same buttons and they’ll slowly power close.

I’m always in a hurry, so this infuriated me. Yes, you can pull it open or closed, but since you’re pulling against the motor it’s harder than it would otherwise be. You need the luxury of time to truly appreciate the power door feature. The theatre it offers, the convenience it offers, and the window it gives on the many small ways the i7 can make your life more comfortable.

With a base price starting from $119,300 (CAD $147,000) and climbing fast, a car like this needs more than to be just good. Being good is implied. A flagship needs to make you feel special, and on highway or back road the silent distance-crushing ability of the 2023 BMW i7 does exactly that.


How much will the BMW i7 cost?

The BMW i7 starts at a price of $119,300 in the United States, or $147,000 in Canada.

Is BMW i7 fully electric?

Yes it is. It utilizes to electric motors, one up front and one in the rear. 

What is the top speed of BMW i7?

The top speed of the i7 is listed at 148 mph. 

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  • Interior opulence
  • Surprising handling
  • Instant motor torque


  • Slow opening/closing doors
  • Range lower than some competitors
Evan Williams
Evan Williams

Evan moved from engineering to automotive journalism 10 years ago (it turns out cars are more interesting than fibreglass pipes), but has been following the auto industry for his entire life. Evan is an award-winning automotive writer and photographer and is the current President of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada. You'll find him behind his keyboard, behind the wheel, or complaining that tiny sports cars are too small for his XXXL frame.

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