2023 BMW 7 sequence and i7 launch: First Australian drive

8.5

Security, worth and options

Issues we like

  • Imposing design
  • Excellent trip and refinement
  • i7’s slick driveability and silky thrust
  • Benchmark rear-seat expertise

Not a lot

  • Dynamic expertise not as accessible as a W223 S-Class’s
  • Over-styled display screen graphics
  • Some management interfaces lack intuitiveness
  • Rear styling lacks distinction

Almost a 12 months after the W223-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class wowed us with its all-round excellence and supreme magnificence – prompting the label of ‘greatest sedan on the earth’ – BMW has responded with an all-new seventh-generation (G70) 7 Sequence.

Simplified to only two variants for Australia – one petrol, one electrical – the imposing new 7 Sequence has bucked conference and reimagined what a flagship sedan needs to be for BMW.

Not solely is it the primary really fashionable 7 Sequence design for the reason that Chris Bangle-penned E65 of 2001, animated by an intimidating entrance finish, Munich’s assertion sedan additionally rejects conservatism with its packaging – providing only one super-sized physique type in all markets, quite than the short- and long-wheelbase variants of the previous.

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At nearly 5.4m lengthy, driving on a barely longer wheelbase (3215mm) than the earlier L model, the brand new 7 is definitely essentially the most imposing limousine in its section. It additionally stands 65mm taller to make entry and egress extra dignified, but the brand new 7 is unashamedly flamboyant – nearly to the purpose of brashness – in its particular person expression of futuristic luxurious.

In contrast to Europe, Australia solely will get a turbo-petrol-powered G70 – the rear-drive 740i – to accompany the range-topping i7 xDrive60, which instructions a near-$30K premium however is predicted to make up roughly 50 per cent of gross sales quantity for the brand new 7 Sequence.

Based mostly on our preliminary drive impressions, nevertheless, the star-billing i7 deserves even higher reputation as a result of its execution is deeply spectacular.

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JUMP AHEAD


How a lot is it, and what do you get?

At $268,900, the ‘normal wheelbase’ 740i is priced to compete with the S450 L ($268,491) within the petrol-powered limousine sector whereas the $297,900 electrical i7 considerably undercuts its closest Mercedes-Benz rival – the electrical EQS53 AMG ($328,400). All costs earlier than on-road prices.

In contrast to the clear-cut rivalry between 740i and S450 L, nevertheless, the i7 and EQS53 are fairly completely different luxurious vehicles. When it comes to measurement, the EQS has an nearly similar wheelbase size to the i7, and weighs the identical (round 2640kg), however is considerably shorter in total size (by 175mm).

And the electrical EQS is differentiated from the combustion-engined S-Class in each doable manner, whereas the i7 is sort of similar to a 740i other than badgework and some minor particulars – giving BMW’s electrical limousine some clear air when it comes to supposed viewers.

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Defining normal options of the Australian 740i embrace 20-inch M Sport alloy wheels, four-wheel steering, adaptive air suspension, BMW crystal headlights (with Swarovski crystal inlays), an illuminated kidney grille (not but globally legislated however in a position to be ‘switched on’ when that occurs within the coming months), a panoramic glass roof, M carbon-fibre inside trim, merino leather-based upholstery, multi-functional electrical entrance seats with massaging, entrance and rear seat heating, 20-speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio, BMW Particular person metallic paint and 5 years or 80,000km of free servicing.

The 740i additionally consists of BMW’s Journey & Consolation system, Driving Assistant Skilled and Parking Assistant Skilled.

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The i7 xDrive60 provides all-wheel drive, 21-inch M alloy wheels, Government Drive Professional (with lively anti-roll and lively roll consolation suspension), automated doorways (acquired from Rolls-Royce), merino and cashmere-wool upholstery, multi-function rear seats, Government Lounge rear console, 35-speaker Bowers & Wilkins diamond surround-sound audio, and an unlimited 31.3-inch BMW theatre display screen for rear-seat passengers that silently lowers itself from the headlining.

BMW additionally throws in a third-generation wallbox charger and five-year ChargeFox subscription. And for those who’d choose your new-gen 7 with out the usual M Sport bundle, BMW affords the a lot shinier Design Pure Excellence look bundle on each fashions for a extra conventional type.

Choices embrace ‘frozen’ matte paint ($2600), two-tone metallic paint ($17,500) and the Connoisseur Lounge Package deal ($27,900 on 740i, $9000 on i7) that brings lively rear-seat air flow, rear massaging perform and Government Lounge console.

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Inside consolation, area and storage

With its taller roofline and doorways that open to nearly 90 levels – robotically within the i7’s case, in six alternative ways! – the new-gen 7 is clearly about introducing a level of SUV elevation to the historically low-slung limousine kind issue.

And when you’re inside its screen-dominated cabin, anybody aware of the uninteresting conservatism of the earlier technology shall be blown away by the brand new 7’s mixture of technical prowess and design heat.

The truth that there’s an unlimited curved display screen throughout greater than half the dashboard – consisting of a 12.3-inch instrument show and a 14.9-inch centre management show – seems nearly incidental as a result of there are such a lot of different attention-grabbing points to its inside design.

Classicists will a lot choose the clear cohesion of an S-Class cabin, but the brash new 7 someway stops wanting showing fully garish, regardless of its give attention to sparkly detailing and clashing patterns.

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The tan leather-based and bright-pink ambient lighting of the primary i7 we drove appeared to completely synergise with Elton John’s Australian tour, but it additionally labored.

Even the dashboard’s hidden air retailers function seamlessly, although a number of the background display screen graphics are borderline over-styled and the icons for the management screens on the rear doorways seem like they’re from an inexpensive Android cellphone. And whereas the intricate speaker grilles are styled to imitate a cloth sample, they’re additionally fairly sharp and might be unkind to misdirected fingernails.

Admittedly, the multitude of color, trim and lighting choices imply that you may suitably tone down the 7’s inside for those who need, although the basics of its seating stay spot-on. The entrance buckets are all the things you’d count on – broadly snug, but impressively supportive – whereas the thatched seat upholstery, significantly the i7’s beautiful leather-based and cashmere-wool mixture, provides textural heat to this unashamedly high-tech cabin.

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Each the 20- and 35-speaker B&W audio methods are bangers, and the 31.3-inch rear-seat theatre display screen (non-compulsory on 740i) is among the best examples of technological one-upmanship we are able to consider – the type of tech you didn’t know you want till you’ve it.

But it’s the 7 Sequence’ excellent rear-seat consolation and imaginative and prescient, mixed with easy entry and accessible area, that confirms that this new-generation limousine sedan sits proper on the prime of its class for occupant pampering.

Aside from some detailing within the instrument show, the one tangible distinction between 740i and i7 is boot area. The petrol-engined mannequin relegates 540 litres to baggage duties whereas the electrical sedan reduces that to 500 litres as a result of underfloor electrical motor storage.

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What’s it prefer to drive?

Based mostly on our launch drive, it’s onerous to immediately evaluate the dynamics of the G70 7 Sequence with the W223 S-Class as a result of BMW selected the type of roads that house owners would possibly encounter – specifically, not too many corners – whereas Mercedes-Benz directed the brand new S down a few of Victoria’s greatest driving roads.

With normal four-wheel steering (known as ‘Integral Lively’) and adaptive air suspension, the BMW combines a level of pointability with an excellent stage of refined trip plushness that makes this large sedan shrink round its driver whereas feeling costly. But there’s finally no escaping the brand new 7’s sheer measurement, or the diploma of aloofness from its steering, and on tight mountain roads the 2090kg 740i fails to transcend what the scales say.

With its low-mounted powertrain and uprated suspension’s lively anti-roll and lively roll consolation properties (non-compulsory on 740i), the all-wheel drive i7 is superior at combining chassis poise and corner-exit drive with a comfortable trip.

Certainly, given its 2640kg ballast, the i7 does an outstanding job of sustaining its cool, although in each new 7s we discovered the suspension’s Sport mode to be too agency and never in line with the flagship BMW’s station in life.

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As for the drivetrains, the i7 combines a 106kWh battery with entrance and rear electrical motors for a complete of 400kW and 745Nm – sufficient for a claimed 0-100km/h dash in 4.7sec, as much as 625km of vary, and a 10-80 per cent charging time of 34 minutes. Its mixture of silken smoothness with on the spot throttle response and searing accelerative thrust is borderline addictive, managing to make the combustion-engined 740i really feel comparatively grainy and a contact torpid.

Whereas BMW’s 0-100km/h declare for the 280kW/540Nm 740i is a powerful 5.4sec, and its most torque unfold covers an enormous space (1850-5000rpm), it merely can’t match the crisp immediacy of its electrical sibling.

For all of the 740i’s capabilities – spectacular high-rev refinement, sturdy efficiency and shocking thrift from its 48-volt mild-hybrid, single-turbo 3.0-litre (mixed consumption is 7.9L/100km) – the i7 is rather more interesting from a driving perspective.

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VERDICT

If you happen to’ve already forgotten what the earlier G11/G12 7 Sequence technology regarded like (suppose overblown 5 Sequence), or the technology earlier than that (the good-looking however understated F01 7 Sequence), you’re not alone. However that may by no means occur with the G70 7 Sequence.

From its imposing form to its muscular proportions and swathe of intriguing design particulars, it is a limousine that begs for consideration. And it maintains that inside with nearly youthful aptitude – embracing futurism with a level of caprice that so usually eludes vehicles like this.

It might not possess the timeless magnificence and refined style of its chief Mercedes-Benz rival, however that provides the 7 Sequence scope to push a couple of boundaries and be a bit brash, but with simply sufficient restraint to maintain it elegant.

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The brand new 7 doesn’t really feel as dynamically suave as a W223 S-Class, although for its supposed viewers, the flagship BMW’s sensible trip, excellent refinement, benchmark area and seating consolation, and supreme drivetrain smoothness shall be sufficient.

But of the 2 variants on provide, it’s the i7 that basically shines. The silky immediacy of the i7’s motion makes the 740i really feel and sound a bit dated, and regardless that the i7 weighs a shed-tonne, its decrease centre of gravity and very good driveability make amends.

Add a worthwhile diploma of additional gear for its modest worth premium – plus very cool (non-compulsory) two-tone black-over-grey paint (our color alternative) – and you’ll see why the i7 is the brand new Seven that makes essentially the most sense.

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SCORING

BMW i7 BMW 740i

Security, worth and options

8.5 8
Consolation
and area
9.5 9.5
Engine
and gearbox
9.5 8
Trip
and dealing with
9 8
Know-how 9.5 9
OVERALL
(common of above)
9.2 8.5

8.5

Security, worth and options

Issues we like

  • Imposing design
  • Excellent trip and refinement
  • i7’s slick driveability and silky thrust
  • Benchmark rear-seat expertise

Not a lot

  • Dynamic expertise not as accessible as a W223 S-Class’s
  • Over-styled display screen graphics
  • Some management interfaces lack intuitiveness
  • Rear styling lacks distinction

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