The battle over who will build the world’s best luxury sedan will enter a new round with the upcoming BMW 7 Series. The signs have fundamentally changed. On the one hand, numerous car manufacturers have long been involved in the old duel with Mercedes. With their constant focus on battery electric drives, they are setting new trends that established manufacturers in this segment were initially hesitant to follow. This is now also radically changing at BMW.
All drive options in one body
The Bavarians are going a different way than the Swabians: With EQS and S-Class, Mercedes offers two luxury sedans that are technically and visually fundamentally different. BMW, on the other hand, packs all units under a virtually identical structure. As before, the upcoming 7 Series will be available with petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrids, in addition to the long-awaited battery electric version. BMW has yet to show its cards when it comes to technical details, but some things are obvious.
battery and charging
The i7 is based on BMW’s fifth generation of electric drive, according to internal figures. This means that there are no longer rare earths in the electric motor. What mix of materials BMW uses for the cells has not yet been communicated. However, we bet it will be like the BMW iX NMC 811, that is, eight nickel shares and one manganese-cobalt share. Further cobalt reduction is likely to occur with the next generation of the modular system.
We also assume that the energy content and charging capabilities will be largely identical to the BMW iX (test). The memory will therefore offer almost 110 kWh. A peak of up to 195 kW with direct current and a maximum of 11 kW with alternating current is possible. On the iX, it is planned to enable AC charging with 22 kW at some point. The 7 will also be able to do that.
Even with the performance data, BMW is still holding back. Here, however, one should more or less orient to what Mercedes has presented with the EQS. There, the spectrum of supply ranges from 215 to 484 kW. In view of the fact that some competitors now offer more than 735 kW (ie more than 1000 hp) in the best electric models, another arms race is expected. Therefore, the most powerful BMW i7 will bring at least 500 kW in the future. By the way, this race is driven by a clientele who can drive at a maximum of 130 km/h in their respective country. During a first drive, a test car with unknown performance delivered so much oomph that one might wonder what the added value of a next higher model might be. The target group will certainly be able to answer this, but the author cannot.
Successful chassis tuning
However, what was more impressive was the progress made in terms of overall chassis set-up, because in this discipline the current model is certainly not one of the bad cars in its class. BMW has found an excellent compromise between comfort and sportiness. Variable air suspension is one thing, but the steering is really exceptional with good feedback from the road, precise and dynamic response in conjunction with rear axle steering, making the Bavaria deluxe about 5.20 meters long. long is significantly more compact despite its more than 2.5 tons. the curb weight lets appear. In Europe, the entire 7-series should have at least 20-inch wheels, but a version with 19-inch wheels and a little more sidewall height is only planned for markets with less good road conditions.
Different driving behavior
The driving behavior of the i7 and the 7 series with a combustion engine differs significantly. The steering, suspension, damping and, of course, driving with a combustion engine have a completely different effect than previously appeared in the battery-powered 7 Series. If the electric version was additionally equipped with roll stabilization, which compensated for body lean, the 7 Series as a gasoline engine without the anti-roll package had a significantly higher lean when driving on country roads at high speeds. Here too, however, the impression remains of moving a more compact and lighter car.
OS8 infotainment system
The interior was still covered in the test car, after all, BMW does not want to anticipate everything that will be officially shown for the first time on April 20. Customers can expect a fundamental change in design compared to the current model. We expect a dashboard design very similar to that of the BMW iX. Therefore, there will hardly be direct operation of functions through dedicated switches. With the OS8 infotainment system, BMW is, on the one hand, moving tasks to the cloud. On the other hand, one trusts that customers will feel even more comfortable than before with voice control.
Autonomous driving only from 2023
At least one big surprise comes from the first pre-descent. Although the new 7 Series is prepared to be able to drive autonomously in Level 3, this extra is not yet available for the premiere in dealerships in the fall. It will only be offered over the course of the next year. So Mercedes still has a certain advantage here, mainly in terms of prestige. Because the skills at level 3 are still quite manageable: although the driver no longer has to constantly monitor what is happening on the road, he always has to be ready to take the wheel again if the artificial intelligence doesn’t know what to do. no longer. In any case, it is only capable of acting independently in a specific application if the environmental variables are appropriate and the maximum speed is 60 km/h. Very slow traffic on the freeway would be a conceivable scenario.