New BMW 7-series limo is plug-in hybrid-only in the UK

Published: 20 April 2022

► 2023’s BMW 7-series revealed
► Will be PHEV-only in the UK market
► All of the tech of the i7, but with an engine

BMW’s new 7-series has finally arrived. The new luxury executive car is designed to take on the cream of the crop from premium car makers the world over, and BMW’s stepping up to the plate with a significantly strong offer.

Specifically for the UK market, the new 7er will arrive as a plug-in hybrid only, even if the car’s clever platform can also take on pure combustion engine variants and a pure-electric version in the i7.

Read more about the new BMW i7 here

I need a moment to take it all in…

It’s certainly in-your-face, isn’t it? At least from the front end, and in this grey and black two-tone colour of these images – a customisation option that’s a first for BMW’s executive saloon. The 7-series also comes in only one wheelbase option, unlike some previous generations.

Obviously, the most notable design area is the new front end. A typically massive (for BMW, anyway) grille is flanked by split matrix LED headlights. The upper lights act as the DRLs and indicators and are bejewelled with Swarovski crystals, while the lower deck is for the main headlight beams.

7-series rear

Beyond the brash front end, though, the 7-series is relatively plain down each side and features a rear end that’s beset with bulges, creases and a chrome strip sitting between the rear light clusters. There are two trim lines: Excellence and M Sport. Only the M Sport trim will feature rear exhausts, and you can spec wheels that look very much like those seen on the M3 and M4 Competition models.

What’s it like inside?

Palatial but futuristic, we’d say. There are many elements from the iX in here, including the two-spoke steering wheel, curved display and crystal elements like the seat adjusters and the iDrive controller. And, much like the iX, the materials on offer here are top notch, including cashmere wool fabrics as well as BMW’s trad Merino leathers.

7-series interior

But the biggest distinguishing feature on the dashboard is the ‘Interaction Bar’ – a backlit, glass-like panel that stretches the width of the entire dashboard, incorporating the few remaining physical switches. And even then, most aren’t physical anyway, as BMW opts for a pressure pad-like effect. The ambient lighting can change colour depending on your own settings, and it reacts to inputs and what’s going on around it with various animations. Among those animations, the central area of the bar will flash when you’re being called, for example.

The 7-series features tech like automatic doors that open and close with a button press and four-zone climate control. Elsewhere, you can spec a Bowers and Wilkins diamond audio system with illuminated tweeters, as well as an ‘executive lounge’ package that features a reclining rear seat with footrest – BMW says you can achieve a torso angle of 42.5º when it’s fully deployed. But the most notable tech innocation must be the wild (and optional) new Theatre Screen system.

What on earth is that?!

7-series theatre

A huge 31.3-inch 8K touchscreen folds down from the ceiling, and it uses Amazon Fire TV to give you access to loads of streaming services on the go. But it’s not just a big screen; there are touchscreen remotes in the door panels, a 655-watt, 18-speaker Bowers and Wilkins surround sound audio system and there’s a blackout curtain for the rear window. You can even include ‘seat exciters’ – points within the seat that vibrate and pulse with loud sounds.

What engines can I get in the new 7-series?

BMW’s announced petrol and diesel straight-sixes, as well as a petrol V8. But none of these are destined for the UK; a 730d will be available in Continental Europe, but other engines like the 750i are largely designed for the North American and Chinese markets.

7-series plug

Here in the UK we’re privy to the 483bhp 750e xDrive and the 563bhp M760e xDrive (pictured) only. Both of these use a straight-six petrol engine and an 18.7kWh battery pack. Performance specs are to be announced for these models, but BMW says both versions are capable of up to 50 miles of e-range. Every 7-series utilises air suspension and rear-wheel steering as standard.

When can I buy a new 7-series in the UK?

BMW is rolling out the i7 EV first but, if you’re not bothered by that, the 750e and M760e versions will hit dealers in early 2023. Prices aren’t known just yet, but expect the entry point to clock in at around £95k.

Read our BMW reviews here

By Jake Groves

CAR's deputy news editor, office Geordie, gamer, lover of hot hatches

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