BMW’s 7 Series vehicles have always been about interior space and ride comfort, and now, the newest electric version is the automaker’s “most powerful” EV ever. The new BMW i7 M70 xDrive was handed the title as the vehicle makes its debut this week at the Auto Shanghai international motor show in China.
According to BMW, its bestselling model worldwide last year was the BMW i4 M50 — a performance version of the electric 4 Series sedan. Now, the company has three electric performance models, including the BMW iX M60 SUV (a faster version of an already high-tech beast) and this new i7 M70.
BMW’s i7 M70 has a dual motor all-wheel drive system output of 485kW and 660 horsepower when the car’s M Launch Control or Sport Boost feature is enabled. The iX M60, in comparison, outputs 455kW and 610 horsepower max. The iX M60 has a nearly comparable zero to 62mph acceleration in 3.8 seconds versus the new 7 Series at 3.7 seconds. Both vehicles are electronically limited to a max top speed of 155mph.
The luxurious BMW 7 Series already had its electric rebirth last year with the i7 xDrive60. It was already plenty performant, too — at 536 horsepower and a zero to 60mph acceleration of 4.5 seconds. The key difference in the M70 version is the new rear motor BMW installed, which it says has a power density (2.41 kW / kg) increase of 25.5 percent over the regular model. It gives the M70’s rear axle a peak output of 360kW and 489 horsepower — which coordinates with the front 190kW motor and generates 748 pound-feet of torque.
As an EV, the M70 has the same 101.7kWh battery as the xDrive60 version, which was advertised at “up to 300 miles” on a full charge in the US market. The M70 has a European WTLP rating of 303–348 miles of range (less than the European xDrive60’s 388 miles). This (honestly expected) efficiency decrease is reflected in BMW’s electric power consumption calculations: 23.8–20.8kWh per 100km for the M70 versus 19.7–18.9kWh for the xDrive60.
BMW includes many drive modes that take you further or get you there faster. Max Range mode turns off some driving comfort and scales back performance and only lets your top speed hit 56mph — for range gains of up to 25 percent. Of course, this car is about performance, so switching to M Sport Boost mode makes things more fun by adding exciting animations in the instrument cluster and pumping BMW’s “exhilarating” virtual EV performance noises with what it calls IconicSounds Electric.
As an M version, the i7, of course, gets some tricked-out trimming to go along with it. You’ll see the performance style details in the side mirrors, an illuminated kidney grille, rear bumper inlays, spoiler, and the essential M badges around the vehicle. The interior has the same excessive comfort functions as the xDrive60, including reclining rear seats and the 31-inch 8K BMW Theatre Screen.
BMW hasn’t released pricing for the i7 M70 yet, but considering the xDrive60 version starts at $120,295, expect it to be even further along the spectrum of ultra-luxury pricing. In the end, the 7 Series is largely designed for those who have hired drivers. In that realm, there are even more options unattainable to most.