Every now and then a car comes along and it makes you go, “Wow!” One such car is the new BMW 7 Series, and for this particular article, the i7. I just spent the past two days in what could be considered one of the most luxurious cars on our roads. For that reason, I didn’t think it sufficed to write a formal review, but to rather highlight exactly what makes this beast of a car so special. Even if most of us will never in our lifetime ever be able to afford one…just another thing that makes it special, I guess.
BUT WHY THE i7?
I am writing about the electric version of the 7 Series because it is the one that I drove at the launch, but also because I think there is so much hype around electric vehicles (EVs) in this country that it is more relevant at this time. Even if I think EVs are just about doomed here, but that is an article for another time.
What makes this EV quite unique is that it is no different to the its 7 Series siblings in any way except for that of the drivetrain. Most manufacturers do everything they can to make their EVs stand out from the crowd, and stand out from their own model range, but not BMW. They want you to enjoy the 7 Series as it is whether you choose the electric version or the internal combustion engine versions.
WHAT MAKES THE 7 SERIES SO SPECIAL?
The short answer to that question need only one word; opulence! If you want over the top then you have come to the right place. Not only is this car enormous, even the grille hits you right between the eyes, but the features inside are some I have never ever seen before…and I have been in a lot of cars over my 15-year career.
The most ‘wow’ of the lot for me has to be what’s going on in the rear of the car. Which is exactly where you should spend your time if you own one, being chauffeured around, never having to really lift a finger. The rear of the cabin turns into what could be considered a full blown cinematic powerhouse. Think iMax. A 31.3-inch touchscreen, which folds flat against the roof, drops down with the touch of a button. The size of this screen is not far off from the first flatscreen TV I once had in my lounge at home. It is enormous in this space. It is operated via full-sized smartphones in the door handles that also operate things like the blinds…because who wants light coming in when you’re trying to watch The Devil Wears Prada? Take a look at the gallery below to have your mind blown.
I am just going to put this out there, I have a fear of ice cream sticks. It’s weird I know. But I know people who have a fear of cotton wool. Or even wool. It gives them the ‘grils’. The reason I mention this is because the i7 comes with a combo of leather and actual cashmere wool seats. They look amazing. Sitting on them is fine, unless you’re in a short skirt, but what does give me the ‘grils’ is it being on the door consoles. You will either love it or not, but it is optional so no need to get upset about it just yet.
The air vents are invisible and I thought this would bug me to no end because I like to direct the airflow where I want it, which is usually on my face, but there are little rubber knobs that allow you to do just this and I think these vents work better than traditional ones. I adore them!
What I don’t adore are the doors! OH. MY. GOSH! They are a lovely gimmick. They open with the touch of a button and are electric. You can also open all four of them at once which makes everyone go ‘Ooooh’ and ‘Aaaaahh.’ BUT, they are like an electric tailgate. So they are slow to open and close and if you do it manually it feels like you are breaking it. It makes that “you’re breaking me” sound (if you know, you know).
TO POWER OR NOT TO POWER
The i7 has two electric motors, one at the front and one at the rear, both powered by a rather massive 101 kW/h battery. You get a range of between 591 – 625 km. The ride is just beautiful, if ever so slightly on the firm side. The acceleration is not as savage as I have felt from some EVs, but rather a more relaxing and smooth build up. It is not slow by any means, mind you, it’s just more of a cruiser than a racer.
With loadshedding possibly heading to stage 8, it will be interesting to see how many people will still opt for EVs. BMW says that most of its EV clientele are off the grid, but, I am just not sure even that will be enough to live with one of these EV beasts on a day to day basis. Maybe as a weekend car, rather?
LAST BUT NOT LEAST
A multi-sensory experience is how BMW describes its Operating System 8 (the latest) which “allows drivers to enjoy intuitive, multimodal control of the vehicle, navigation, infotainment and communication functions, and also the digital services.” It is more like sensory overload for me. It will take a while to get used to everything this car has on offer, especially when scrolling through the infotainment screen. If you want to adjust anything it takes you through a few screens to get to it, which can be rather frustrating. But once you have the hang of it, there is almost nothing that this car cannot do for you.
PRICING OF THE NEW BMW 7 SERIES
- BMW 740i Design Pure Excellence – R2 160 000
- BMW 740i M Sport Package – R2 235 000
- BMW 740i M Sport Package Pro – R2 275 000
- BMW 740d xDrive Design Pure Excellence – R2 280 000
- BMW 740d xDrive M Sport Package – R2 355 000
- BMW 740d xDrive M Sport Package Pro – R2 395 000
- BMW i7 xDrive60 Design Pure Excellence – R2 825 000
- BMW i7 xDrive60 M Sport Package – R2 900 000
- BMW i7 xDrive60 M Sport Package Pro – R2 940 000