► First look at new all-electric BMW i7
► Coming in 2023 after the i4, i5 and iNext
► Twinned with the next-gen 7-series
BMW has revealed official testing pictures of the all-electric i7 before its unveiling next year. Munich’s electric limousine is currently undergoing the dynamic testing in Arjeplog, Sweden, an area used by most car makers for its low-grip surfaces and extreme temperatures.
According to BMW, the frozen lakes of the region have made it the ideal place to test the i7’s Dynamic Stability Control system (DSC), its steering, and the general feel of energy regeneration through the brake and powertrain.
What’s more, the cold also provides a solid test for the i7’s fifth-generation eDrive electronics.
Aside from showing some chilly roads, the pictures don’t reveal a great deal about the i7. However, it’s still possible to make out a split headlight design.
Keep reading for everything else we know about the i7, and a good guess as to what it’ll look like in 2022.
What we know about the new i7
It won’t have escaped your attention that electrification is really taking grip in Europe’s car industry and the i7 is pitched squarely against the upcoming Mercedes-Benz EQS, which is due to beat BMW’s electric limousine into showrooms by some margin.
BMW hits back with a battery capacity tipped to top 100kWh for a long EV range of over 300 miles. Based around the latest group electric architecture dubbed CLAR, it will eschew the i3 and i8’s composite construction for a more conventional steel and aluminium monocoque and a pair of e-motors will provide output equivalent to 536bhp and all-wheel drive.
The next-generation 7-series and visually similar electric i7 are penned by BMW design chief Domagoj Dukec. Rather than a prominent kidney grille, as featured on the latest BMWs, these limos get a simpler design, with a short front overhang, drop-shaped rear end and advanced aero. The 7-series is due in 2022, with the i7 a year later.
Spy photos of the new 2023 BMW i7
Our spy photographers have already snapped pictures of the BMW i7 and these inform our rendering above.
These pictures show a prototype EV wrapped in a camo, and featuring BMW’s ‘Electric Test Vehicle’ badge, confirming its powertrain. Munich has been very thorough in disguising the front of the car, but we can still some make some educated guesses about the new i7’s face.
The camo suggests narrower lights positioned lower than the current model – which looks a little like the old 8-series to our eyes. It could mark a very interesting styling direction for BMW, or it could be the camo playing tricks. We’re hoping it’s the former.
BMW has confirmed its Dingolfing site will build all variants of the new 7, including the i7.
Electric BMWs: a guide
An all-electric 7-Series: it’s autonomous too
Eagle-eyed viewers will spot wing-mounted cameras and an extensive array of autonomous kit at the car’s front. The BMW 7-Series is traditionally packed full of new technology, and it looks like Munich is applying the same philosophy to the i7. We’re predicting the usual mod-cons we see in EVs but also a strong focus on autonomous driving, judging by the sheer number of sensors and cameras sprouting on this prototype test car.
As for the grille? Expect it to be huge – this is a BMW 7-series, after all – and blocked off for better aerodynamic efficiency, like Munich’s other EVs.
So where does this fit in to the burgeoning BMW e-range?
This year the iX3 kicks off Munich’s electric plan, 2021 will see the debut of the i4 and iNext, and 2022 will feature the i5 with the i7 a year behind. It’ll be released around the same time as the next 7-series, and look relatively similar – though it’ll be very different underneath.