Bob Arora, owner of Sachins, car enthusiast and our very own Luxe Magazine columnist, takes the BMW i7 for a spin…
As kids, whenever family members decided to visit us up North it was a very big deal for my younger brother and myself. Trying to get family to leave London was like asking them to get on a flight to Australia!
The highlight would always be seeing which cars my uncles would drive up in. My parents had a Ford Cortina Estate which was ideal for their needs but wasn’t exactly very flashy!
One time, my uncle came up North to see us as he’d been to an exhibition in Harrogate. He drove the hour-and-a-half journey to see us, and, as we waited by the window to see him, he finally arrived in a brand new metallic gold S-Class Mercedes.
I could not contain my excitement at the sight of this beautiful car.
My uncle stayed for a few hours and then decided to go back to London. At that time there was no sat nav, so my father drove my uncle to the A1 so that he’d have a straight run back home.
My brother and I decided to sit in the Mercedes. The key went on the dash to start the car, I’m sure the seats were the softest Velvet known to man, and the alloys looked unreal compared to most cars’ wheel trims.
The other thing that stood out in my mind was the windscreen wiper, it was just so huge and it had a funny action when it cleaned the screen. I know it’s an odd thing to remember, but it really stuck in my mind!
BMW i7: First Impressions
Those few minutes in that car left a lasting impression. I’m sure most S-Class drivers take its technology and gadgets for granted, and, with that in mind, it can’t be easy for any manufacturer to try and compete with this amazing car.
That said, BMW has decided to try and take the throne away from Mercedes with their latest 7 series. The 7 has starred in a James Bond movie, which has almost certainly helped with exposure and sales, but unfortunately for BMW, the S-Class has always been the car of choice for most executives.
Having spent a few days in this latest i7 though, I think Mercedes have definitely
got a fight on their hands this time. I’ve been driving the all-electric i7, and the first thing you’ll notice is the huge kidney grills at the front. When you open the car they are illuminated so there’s no chance of missing them at all.
The front lights are split to help give the car a sporty feel, but the swathes of chrome aren’t to my taste – I would have preferred the grill and all the chrome to be black so it’s not so in your face.
The entry-level i7 is the eDrive50 which produces 449bhp. The car I drove was the 60 which produces 537bhp and the range topping 70 produces 650bhp.
Despite the weight of the car, it’s certainly no slouch – it gets to 60mph in just over 4 seconds. The car’s top speed is limited to 155mph and BMW are claiming a range of around 360-388 miles.
Having owned an electric car I know that the cold weather and using the air con has a massive effect on this. That said the car charges in 10 minutes using a supercharger and that’ll give you over 100 miles of range.
As you’d expect, the dashboard oozes quality. The materials and switchgear all scream high-end. BMW has used a crystal design along the dash and the drive controller.
The colour behind this crystal strip is adjustable and a highlight for me was when you put the hazard lights on, as it flashes red before eventually reverting back to its original colour.
The i7’s party trick for me was actually in the back of the car, with its optional reclining and massaging seats. The seat behind the passenger seat becomes a reclining seat a bit like you’d find on a first-class flight.
A 31-inch screen folds down for you to watch TV via an Amazon Fire Stick. As much as I loved driving this car, I feel it’s more suited to someone who has a chauffeur so you can really enjoy the car and its features.
Being able to watch TV while you’re on the move would make the longest journey extremely stress-free and enjoyable.
When the screen folds down the car’s blinds go up and you honestly feel like you’re at the cinema! The sound comes through the seats which is a bit difficult to explain but you seriously forget you are in a car.
The 36 Bowers & Wilkins speakers pump out nearly 2,000 watts, and when you are watching a high-action film it’s better than being in a cinema.
BMW i7: In Conclusion
The BMW i7 costs from £107,000, although once you add the rear screen, massaging seats and upgraded alloys, the price soon jumps up to over £120,000.
This car is definitely a driver’s car although I’m sure most owners will actually want to sit in the back and enjoy the full massaging seats along with the cinema experience.
If you are in the market for an executive car, I’d recommend an appointment with Aidan at Vertu BMW in Boldon who is extremely knowledgeable about the tech on this car.
Car courtesy of Vertu BMW Boldon