New BMW i7 is the all-electric 7 Series
New images preview the forthcoming i7 ahead of BMW 7 Series reveal in 2022
- Electric i7 will be sold alongside the next-generation 7 Series
- Electric battery and motor from iX SUV with a 400+ mile range
- Full reveal due in 2022
BMW has released images of the new electric BMW i7 undergoing testing as development reaches its final stages. The new car is expected to be revealed in 2022 alongside the new 7 Series saloon, with sales starting towards the end of the year.
The i7 is effectively the electric model of the new 7 Series, with both cars sharing the same platform. The introduction of a pure-electric version of BMW’s flagship saloon means the brand has a direct rival for the Mercedes EQS, Porsche Taycan and Tesla Model S, as well as the Audi A8 and Mercedes S-Class.
Looking past the heavy camouflage of the i7 prototype, it appears the new model will combine BMW’s large grilles with a slim LED headlight cluster and a separate row above for the daytime running lights. We expect the rear of the car to look rather more conventional but with a different look to BMW’s smaller 3 Series and 5 Series saloons.
As BMW’s flagship saloons, both the forthcoming 7 Series and i7 will be full of the manufacturer’s latest technology. One of the main focus areas will be autonomous driving, and we’d expect the i7 to feature enough gadgetry to be able to drive itself for long periods of time, where legal. This development mule looks to be adorned with an array of sensors and cameras.
Both cars will sit on BMW’s CLAR platform, which can accommodate both an electric powertrain and conventional engines. There will be a wide range of power options for the new 7 Series, including petrol or diesel with 48-volt mild-hybrid hardware, and a plug-in hybrid. The i7 will use BMW's fifth-generation eDrive technology. This integrates the electric motor, electronics and transmission into a single unit, reducing total weight and size.
Full performance details have yet to be released but to be competitive, the i7 will need a range of at least 400 miles. The Tesla Model S currently offers a range of up to 390 miles, while the Mercedes EQS manages nearly 500. The BMW iX SUV can manage a range of up to 380, so the more aerodynamic i7 should manage that with similar hardware. Given that all the power in electric cars is available instantly, we expect the new i7 to be blisteringly quick in a straight line.
The BMW Group empire, which also includes MINI and Rolls-Royce, is planning to have 25 electrified models in its portfolio by 2023, cutting its average fleet emissions by over a third. Around half of these are expected to be fully electric models, with most cars designed to accommodate a range of powertrains.