BMW i7 M70 xDrive: The All-Electric Performance Model In The Luxury Segment

A file photo of The BMW i7 M70 xDrive.

Producing the highest output ever for an all-electric car from the BMW Group, the BMW i7 M70 xDrive marks another milestone for BMW M GmbH in its electric mobility transformation. Following the launch of the BMW i4 M50 – BMW M GmbH’s best-selling model worldwide in 2022 – and the BMW iX M60, this is now the company’s third performance model to have an all-electric drive system. The success of electric propulsion among BMW M brand enthusiasts, the consistent expansion of the product offering and the repeated increases in drive system output clearly highlight the huge potential of electric tech to deliver performance that captures the imagination.

The new all-electric performance model from BMW M will make its global debut at the Auto Shanghai international motor show (18–27 April 2023) in China. It will be built at BMW Group Plant Dingolfing, together with all other model variants of the luxury sedan. As well as being the lead plant for luxury models, the production facility in Lower Bavaria is also home to the competence centre for electric drive system production, which manufactures both the electric motors and the high-voltage batteries for all variants of the BMW i7 on-site. The worldwide launch of the BMW i7 M70 xDrive will start in the second half of 2023.

The fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology installed in the BMW i7 is being constantly developed in order to further improve both power output and efficiency. This applies not only to the powertrain and power electronics but also to the high-voltage battery and charging technology.

The BMW i7 M70 xDrive is equipped with highly integrated drive units at the front and rear axles, which bring together the electric motor, power electronics and transmission within a single, very compact housing. The two motors work according to the principle of an electrically excited synchronous motor. This type of design makes it possible to completely avoid the use of rare earth metals (required for magnetic components) in the manufacture of the rotor.

An M-specific configuration of the drive system enables the BMW i7 M70 xDrive’s rear-axle motor, in particular, to achieve unprecedented levels of power density. The drive unit has a six-phase design with a dual inverter. This forms the basis for a very substantial increase in peak output that remains on tap up to high speeds, endowing the BMW i7 M70 xDrive with the power delivery characteristic of M models. The motor’s power density of 2.41 kW/kg represents an increase of 25.5 per cent over the unit that drives the rear axle of the BMW i7 xDrive60 and means that the BMW i7 M70 xDrive is fitted with what is currently the company’s most powerful electric motor.

This new standard-setting figure can be attributed to a BMW Group-patented innovation developed under the umbrella of BMW EfficientDynamics, which uses six excitation windings in the motor’s stator instead of the customary three. The resulting “double excitation” compared with conventional units allows the electric motor to generate an extremely high output, despite its exceptionally light and compact design, and to maintain it continuously into the higher echelons of the speed range. This solution is also far superior to a drive configuration using two motors at the rear axle in terms of both power density and efficiency.

The motor powering the rear axle generates a peak output of 360 kW/489 hp. Its precisely coordinated interaction with the 190 kW/258 hp motor at the front axle creates an electric all-wheel-drive set-up generating system torque of 1,015 Nm (748 lb-ft) in Sport mode and as much as 1,100 Nm (811 lb-ft) when M Launch Control or the M Sport Boost function is activated. The drive system in the BMW i7 M70 xDrive, therefore, offers outstanding pulling power. Capable of sprinting from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in an impressive 3.7 seconds, the BMW i7 M70 xDrive is the fastest purely electrically powered BMW model. The top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h (155 mph). The performance characteristics of the drive system are also characterised by sustained power delivery, which ensures rapid speed increases even in higher speed ranges.

With the M Launch Control function, both drive and traction control are integrated into the engine control unit. This ensures the power generated by the electric motors is metered extremely precisely, allowing the drive system’s M-typical performance characteristics to be instantly converted into stunning acceleration without any loss of traction.

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The M Sport Boost function is activated with the shift paddle on the left of the steering wheel and is visualised by Performance-specific graphics in the instrument cluster. At the same time, the standard BMW IconicSounds Electric by Hans Zimmer provides a fitting acoustic accompaniment by switching to a particularly exhilarating, M Performance-specific note.

The soundtrack’s character varies according to the vehicle setting selected, with a clearly perceptible acoustic distinction between the My Mode Personal and Sport. In Sport Mode, the spectrum of sound is particularly dominant and powerful. The drive sound is composed specifically for fully electrically powered BMW M models, therefore, helps to give an even more intense experience of the performance characteristics.

The extremely dynamic performance of the BMW i7 M70 xDrive is allied to excellent long-distance capabilities. Credit here goes not just to the efficiency of the highly integrated drive units, but also to a wealth of measures for reducing power consumption. These include adaptive recuperation of braking energy and the heat pump technology used in the integrated heating and cooling system for the cabin and powertrain. The BMW i7 M70 xDrive posts a combined electric power consumption of 23.8 – 20.8 kWh per 100 kilometres in the WLTP test cycle.

Another factor alongside this optimised efficiency is the high-voltage battery’s impressive energy density. Located in the vehicle’s underbody, the battery provides 101.7 kWh of usable energy. This gives the BMW i7 M70 xDrive a range of 488 – 560 kilometres (303 – 348 miles, WLTP cycle), making it eminently suitable for everyday use. The Combined Charging Unit features exceptionally advanced charging software designed for charging the high-voltage battery faster and more efficiently. The BMW i7 M70 xDrive is capable of AC charging at up to 22 kW as standard, while DC power can be taken on board at a rate of up to 195 kW. This means the range can be extended by as much as 170 kilometres (106 miles, WLTP) in just ten minutes during a mid-journey stop at a high-power charging station.

The car’s range can be extended while on the move by activating a new drive system setting. The launch of the BMW i7 M70 xDrive marks the introduction of a MAX RANGE mode for the all-electric models in the new BMW 7 Series range. In this mode, drive power and top speed are carefully restricted and comfort functions scaled back, allowing the range to be increased by some 15 to 25 per cent.

The MAX RANGE mode was mainly devised for situations where drivers are unable to recharge mid-journey as originally planned because, for example, the charging station they were heading for is out of service. Switching to the My Mode Efficient and activating the MAX RANGE setting extends the range by a comfortable margin for the journey to an alternative charging point for the high-voltage battery. To this end, the vehicle’s top speed is limited to 90 km/h (56 mph). At the same time, the climate control system for the cabin is deactivated and the rear window heating switches to a lower setting, while seat heating, seat ventilation and the steering wheel heating are all disabled too in MAX RANGE mode. A popup window appears in the controlled display indicating the resulting gain in range as a distance. The information display also blanks out the section of the speed gauge beyond 90 km/h (56 mph) and shows the extra range.

The MAX Range mode can be triggered using the control display’s touchscreen functionality, the Controller or voice commands to the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant. It can also be deactivated by hard in-gear acceleration (kick down), engaging the M Sport Boost function or switching windscreen ventilation to the maximum.

In addition to the extreme power of the drive system, chassis technology tuned precisely to deliver M-specific performance characteristics contributes to a unique performance experience in the luxury segment.

The electric all-wheel drive, the steering, the dampers and the driving stability systems are each underpinned by the M-specific application of all control systems, ensuring superbly judged driving characteristics in all situations. The overall package of measures was fine-tuned during an exhaustive programme of testing and produces exceptionally sporty handling for a model in this class, accompanied by high comfort over long distances. Helped by the almost silent drive system, passengers in the rear seats, in particular, can enjoy sumptuous levels of comfort. On the other hand, when the driver is exploring their sportier side, the BMW i7 M70 xDrive unveils the blend of dynamism, agility and precision with which BMW M models are synonymous and which is without parallel in this class. The My Mode Sport activates powertrain and chassis settings that are all geared purely to dynamic performance for an exhilarating driving experience.

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Standard specification for the BMW i7 M70 xDrive includes M‑specific Adaptive two-axle air suspension with electronically controlled dampers and automatic self-levelling. M-specific air springs with reduced volume and an adapted rolling contour increase the number of vibrations on the front and rear axles by six in each case and provide a noticeably direct connection to the vehicle body. M-specific hydraulics are also used to optimise damper response.

An additional shear panel between the bulkhead and spring strut towers produces a substantial increase in body rigidity at the front end of the BMW i7 M70 xDrive. Also to be found on the standard equipment list are Integral Active Steering and the Executive Drive Pro chassis package including active roll stabilisation with Active Roll Comfort. As well as helping to increase comfort, these two systems – together with the stiffer body – hone the car’s handling dynamics. This translates into an appetite for corners, which are taken with sharp and precise turn-in characteristics.

The superior performance of the BMW i7 M70 xDrive, which results from the most powerful drive system ever developed with BMW eDrive technology and from M-specific chassis technology, is authentically reflected in its confident design. Fronted by M-specific design features like the M exterior mirrors with distinctive twin-stalk design, the BMW kidney grille with M badging, bespoke inlays in the rear bumper and M logos on the front side panels, the BMW i7 M70 xDrive flies the flag for new era of all-electric mobility in the luxury segment. At the same time, its extravagant appearance marks another milestone in the electrification of the BMW M brand.

The new top-of-the-range model of the BMW 7 Series brings extra sporting potency and the expressive aura of a BMW M model to the captivating visual presence of the latest model generation. In combination with the luxurious elegance generated by the sedan´s proportions, this creates a stylish individuality that corresponds to the exclusive character of the BMW i7 M70 xDrive.

Like all members of the new BMW 7 Series model line-up, the BMW i7 M70 xDrive embodies the outstanding innovative power of the brand. Helping the car set new standards in the luxury segment – alongside its pioneering drive system technology and revolutionary design – is an array of innovative equipment features. Among the highlights also bringing a sense of progressive luxury to the range-topping model and enhancing the feeling of well-being over long journeys are the BMW Interaction Bar in the cockpit and the Executive Lounge with optimised reclining function in the rear. The unique BMW Theatre Screen and Bowers & Wilkins Surround Sound System with optional in-seat exciters turn the rear compartment into an exclusive personal cinema on wheels. Comfort and safety are elevated another notch by advanced systems for automated driving and parking. For example, the Parking Assistant and Manoeuvre Assistant can now also be controlled remotely using the My BMW App. This allows customers to enter and exit tight parking spaces with significantly greater ease.

Exclusive accents and M-typical design elements reflecting the technical requirements of a car, when driven with sporting commitment, ensure that the BMW i7 M70 xDrive stands apart from the other models in the 7 Series model line-up with its exterior looks. Its distinctive aura signals the car’s dynamism and highlights at first glance the performance potential of the most powerful electrically powered model in the BMW Group product range.

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At the heart of the front-end design for the new flagship model is the new interpretation of the hallmark BMW twin circular headlights and kidney grille. The light functions are divided into two separate areas. The extremely slim strip of lights set higher up in the front end brings together the daytime driving lights, sidelights and turn indicators. Available as an option, the BMW crystal headlights Iconic Glow create a unique light effect. The low-beam and high-beam headlights are positioned in the dark lower units chiselled deep into the front apron.

The imposing presence of the front end gains additional visual impact with the contour lighting for the BMW kidney grille. On cars specified with the optional M Performance package, it combines with a grille surround in Black high-gloss for the first time on the BMW i7 M70 xDrive. This creates an unmistakable light signature, and the front end of the car is additionally showcased to impressive effect by the richly contrasting visual interplay between the brightly illuminated contouring and the dark shimmer of the grille surround.

Another eye-catching feature of the performance model’s front-end design is the surfacing above the BMW kidney grille. The indented sweep running down the centre of the bonnet extends to the upper edge of the BMW kidney grille, providing an eye-catching border for the BMW badge.

The BMW kidney grille – which sports an M logo, underlining the range-topping model’s dynamic character – is bordered by Black high-gloss surfaces, giving it even greater visual prominence. Large air guide elements painted in body colour jut out from the outer sections of the front apron, framing the black centre section, and steer the onrushing air to the air curtains positioned at the extreme left- and right-hand edges of the apron.

The BMW i7 M70 xDrive is one of the brand’s first models to feature the updated version of the control/operation system BMW iDrive with QuickSelect and BMW Operating System 8.5. In order to make selecting and operating numerous functions and digital services even more intuitive and comfortable, the latest generation of BMW iDrive offers a newly designed home screen and QuickSelect functionality. This brings an improved menu structure that takes its cues from consumer electronics devices. By showing the right information in the right place, the new BMW iDrive helps to deliver a focused, assured driving experience.

The BMW iDrive update also enables a broader offering of digital content for information and entertainment, shorter function update cycles, better information on charging points for electric vehicles and improved access to a host of specific online services. BMW iDrive with QuickSelect also teams up with the BMW Curved Display and BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, and so focuses squarely on operation using the touchscreen and natural language.

BMW iDrive with QuickSelect is based on BMW Operating System 8.5, which is making its debut in a series-produced model. The BMW i7 M70 xDrive therefore not only represents a new dimension in driving pleasure with an all-electric drive system, but it also ushers in the latest digital display and control/operation concept and infotainment.

The emotionally engaging performance experience on board the new BMW i7 M70 xDrive is further enhanced by M-specific content in the BMW Curved Display. In key areas, the typography and presentation of graphics reflect those in the cockpit of high-performance models from BMW M GmbH. The numbers in the speed read-out on the information display appear in a platinum/silver colour. Plus, activating the M Sport Boost function triggers a typical M visual accompaniment.

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