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BMW i7

01 BMW I7 RT 2023 lead driving
Munich’s new flagship arrives as technology-laden electric luxury saloon to rival Mercedes-Benz EQS

Perhaps it’s the inherently traditional character of the full-sized limousine that has made it one of the slower vehicle classes to embrace electrification. The race is now on, however, to carve out a lead in the fully electrified luxury saloon market – and BMW is joining the vanguard.Mercedes struck first with the EQS at the end of 2021, before the Genesis Electrified G80 arrived in 2022. And in 2023, we will see the segment-defining Tesla Model S return to the UK market in its latest form, reportedly followed by right-hand-drive examples of the Lucid Air. An all-electric Audi A8 is expected in 2024. There’s clearly no time to waste for any firm to build an early lead in luring luxury car buyers who are ready to electrify.The seventh generation of Munich’s BMW 7 Series limo is designed to do just that. In UK showrooms now, the car has launched in all-electric form only, in the shape of this week’s road test subject: the i7 xDrive60. In due course, 7 Series buyers will also be offered two plug-in hybrid versions, and a range-topping M Performance model – the 651bhp M70 – has also now arrived.Unlike some of its opponents, this car shares its platform with combustion-engined alternatives – but, as we will explain, that doesn’t prevent it from offering what looks, in principle, like a very complete package of performance, range, space and features, all wrapped in the expected 21st-century luxury.Range at a glanceBMW’s 7 Series limousine now comes in long-wheelbase form only, and with either plug-in hybrid or fully electric power. Diesel engines are offered in some European markets, but not in the UK.All versions get four-wheel drive. While upper-level M Performance derivatives (M760e, i7 M70) are a trim level in their own right, on the lesser models the choice is between Excellence and M Sport trims, with additional option packs (M Sport Pro, Ultimate) also available.VersionPowerBMW 750e xDrive483bhpBMW i7 xDrive60536bhpBMW M760e xDrive563bhpBMW i7 M70651bhpTRANSMISSIONS8-spd automatic (750e, M760e)        1-spd planetary per motor (i7)      

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