The BMW 7 Series has been the star atop BMW’s range since 1977. Over the years, the flagship sedan has cemented its place as one of the top picks for rich people in the market for a luxurious car that packs in more features than most houses. So whenever BMW decides it’s time for an update, the German firm tends to throw everything at it.
And this year is no different, as the seventh generation 7 Series is another big step forward for the sedan. There is a new design, new interior with what BMW calls the “Theater Screen” and, for the first time in the model’s history, an all-electric variant sits at the top of the range.
Let’s start with that all-electric 7 Series. Named the i7 xDrive60, the electric model features two electric motors that have a combined output of 536 HP and 549 lb-ft of torque. This means that the i7 can sprint from 0-60 in about 4.5 seconds and also boasts a range of “up to 300 zero-emission miles.”
But BMW isn’t going all in on its new electric drivetrain, and will also offer the 740i with a three-liter six cylinder engine and the 760i xDrive with a 4.4-liter V8. Both gas-powered models come with 48-volt mild hybrid technology.
It’s also worth noting that the 740i is less powerful than the i7. While the 760i has the same horsepower, according to figures shared by BMW at the car’s launch.
Now, let’s move on to the next big talking point, the grill. BMWs have a really big mouth now, we just have to accept that. But the new 7 Series, and specifically the i7, highlights this gargantuan grille by surrounding it in lights. That’s right, BMW’s iconic kidneys now light up whenever you start up your electric i7.
Alongside that grille, BMW has reworked the front end with a new headlight array that separates the daytime driving lights and the high-beam headlamps.
Standing high and proud is a new Swarovski crystal light cluster that contains the daytime driving lights, side marker lights, and turn indicators. Beneath this and sunk back into the car’s fascia are the low-beam and high-beam headlights.
The updated lighting cluster is flanked by an L-shaped design that frames the whole front end rather nicely. I’m not sure if I really like the gargantuan grille BMW now has, or if I’ve just gotten used to it. But, I do think the new front on the 7 Series looks smart, and almost like the gaping mouth of a serene whale shark.
Anyway, marine life aside, the profile of the car remains unmistakably BMW. The firm says it has a “powerful and distinctive presence,” and I’m inclined to agree. It does feel imposing when you’re up close, so should be great for scaring poor people off the road ahead of you.
BMW has also updated the rear of the car, where the tail lights have been slimmed down and now come with a triangular pattern along the sides. I dig it.
Inside, there are the usual luxury trimmings that could put most bougie hotel rooms to shame.
The seats are enormous and encase you in the same way you want a homely chair to engulf you. They also pack in extensive electric adjustment, seat heating and lumbar support. A massage function is also optional across the range.
When you sit in one of these chairs, though, the first thing you notice are all the screens.
Up front, the traditional gauge cluster has been replaced by a 12.3-inch display behind the steering wheel. A second 14.9-inch display screen sits alongside to control various features inside the cabin.
There is also an enormous 31-inch, 8K display that can be fitted into the rear of the car. This is what BMW is calling the “Theater Screen” and it comes with Amazon Fire TV built-in and even has its own sound track composed by Hans Zimmer.
The “Theater Screen” can be further accompanied by 5.5-inch screens in the doors to control entertainment programs, as well as the image and volume on cars with the Theater Screen installed.
And, speaking of those doors, the new 7 Series has automatic doors that can be opened or closed with the swipe of the handles or via the car’s key fob. Once open, LED lights installed in them illuminate four graphics on the pavement below. Nice.
Prices for the new 7 Series start at $93,300 for the 740i here in the U.S., and rise to $119,300 for the all-electric i7.
If you do choose to preorder one of these cars, you’ll be hit with a barrage of options to choose from, including including seat coverings made of leather or cashmere.
And, on the outside, this is also the first BMW to be offered in a two-tone paint finish.