The new BMW i7 M70 xDrive is an all-electric performance variant that sits at the very top end of the new 7 Series model range. A product of BMW M, it has an electric motor on both the front and rear axles, which together generate a maximum system output of 485 kW or 660 hp. It can accelerate from zero to 100 kmph in 3.7 seconds, making the luxury sedan the fastest all-electric BMW model. The top speed is electronically limited to 250 kmph.
The i7 M70 features the fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology, used in the standard BMW i7 but has been advanced by the specialists at BMW M to increase both performance and efficiency. The car features highly integrated drive units on the front and rear axles, with the electric motor, power electronics and transmission very compactly combined in a common housing.
The M-specific design of the current-excited synchronous machine principle enables the electric motor – especially in the case of the rear motor – to achieve a power density of 2.41 kW/kg, making it currently the most powerful BMW electric motor. This new performance benchmark is achieved thanks to an innovation patented by the BMW Group, which uses six excitation coils in the stator of the electric motor instead of the usual three.
This allows the electric machine to generate extremely high power in a light and compact design and to provide it continuously up into high-speed ranges. According to the marque, this setup is superior to a drive solution with two motors on the rear axle not only in terms of power density but also in terms of efficiency.
The motor acting on the rear axle generates a maximum output of 360 kW or 489 hp, while the front axle generates 190 kW or 258 hp. Controlled interaction between the two motors results in the car’s all-wheel drive system. It is reported to deliver a system torque of 1,015 Nm in Sport Mode, and as much as 1,100 Nm when M Launch Control and the M Sport Boost function are activated.
In the M Launch Control mode, both the drive torque control and the traction control are integrated into the engine control unit. This ensures that the power generated by the electric motors is precisely controlled, so that it can be converted into maximum performance without any loss of traction.
The new i7 M70 is not just about performance, it also boasts impressive long-distance capability. With a usable energy content of 101.7 kWh, the high-voltage battery located in the vehicle underbody enables the luxury sedan to achieve a reported range of 488 to 560 kilometres, as determined in the WLTP test cycle. By using the new Max Range function, the range can be increased by around 15 to 25 per cent by selectively limiting the drive power and top speed, combined with reducing some of the comfort functions. The car’s software enables it to top up the range by up to 170 kilometres (WLTP) within 10 minutes at a high-power charging station.
The M-specific upgrades have been applied to not just the electric all-wheel drive but also to the steering, the shock absorbers and the driving dynamics systems to deliver better dynamics, agility and response, along with a high level of long-distance comfort.
The standard suspension technology of the new i7 M70 includes M-specific adaptive two-axle air suspension with automatic self-levelling and electronically controlled shock absorbers whose response is optimised thanks to M-specific hydraulics. Integral Active Steering and the Executive Drive Pro suspension package including Active Roll Stabilisation with Active Roll Comfort also feature as standard equipment. The package also offers an M sports brake system and 21-inch M light alloy wheels.
Exclusive design highlights and hallmark M touches set the exterior design of the new i7 M70 apart from the other models in the series. The front design reinterprets the twin circular headlights and BMW radiator grille. The boldness of the car’s front is emphasised by the contour line lighting for the BMW radiator grille. The optional M Performance Package offers, for the first time, a radiator grille surround in high-gloss black.
The BMW i7 M70 xDrive marks an important milestone for BMW M on its path to transforming towards electric mobility. The luxury sedan is already the third performance-model with an all-electric drive. The i7 M70 premiered at the Auto Shanghai international motor show in April. The global market launch is scheduled to begin in the second half of 2023.