2024 BMW i7 M70 xDrive First Look: Bruiser Power to Match the Electric Sedan’s Bruiser Appearance
With the successful launches of the M-tuned i4 M50 and iX M60 electric vehicles, we knew it wouldn’t be long before BMW would launch a similar performance version of the i7 EV. Coming later this year, the 2024 BMW i7 M70 xDrive will be the most powerful electric model touched by BMW’s M division. Not only will the M70 produce more power than a standard i7, but it will also handle better and—thankfully—not look as… divisive as the latest version of the XM hybrid.
While the M70 won’t top the (literal) “lipstick on a pig” looks of the XM Label Red, the i7 it’s based on still wears a fairly brutalist design. Despite the regular i7’s 536 hp of combined output from its two electric motors (one driving each axle) and gobs of technology, you can always have more power—plus there was also room for improvement in how the regular i7 handles.
According to BMW, everything that makes the car stick in the corners has been touched, from the 7’s steering system to its AWD control, albeit “without sacrificing high comfort over long distances.” Even the body has seen some improvement in its rigidity with a new shear panel added between the bulkhead and strut towers.
The i7 M70 xDrives air suspension system has been tweaked with an M-specific tune while the electronically controlled dampers have had their hydraulics overhauled with a reduced-volume system to optimize damper response. A set of blue-painted M Sport brake calipers squeezing larger brake discs comes standard, but you can also option the M Performance Professional package and its black-painted calipers if you need to look more “low key” instead. The brakes peek out from behind a set of 21 x 9.0-inch front and 21 x 10.5-inch rear jet-black M light-alloy wheels that feature an exclusive design that is aerodynamically optimized and wrapped in 255/40R21 and 285/35R21 tires. Though, if you want some high-performance rubber, you’ll need to get the optional 20-inch wheel set.
No Magnets, No Problem—and More Power
You might want to take that option because the M70s power has also increased over the regular 7’s 536 hp and 549 lb-ft of torque. How does 650 hp and up to 811 lb-ft of torque sound? The rear motor, BMWs fifth generation unit that doesn’t use permanent magnets, now has an output of 483 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque just by itself— a 175-hp, 199-lb-ft bump over the standard motor tune. The front motor makes the same 255 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque.
Of course, that full output is only available via the new M Sport Boost function, which unleashes the full torque figure and allows for a 155-mph top speed. Without it activated, you make do with the standard 748 lb-ft of torque. This mode is activated using the left paddle of the steering wheel; slap that paddle, and a new set of Performance-specific graphics pop up on the cluster. It also changes the sound the i7 creates while driving from the IconicSounds Electric by Hans Zimmer to an M Performance tone.
That’s not the only fun mode available to the M70. Using the M Launch Control function, there is enough power and torque to accelerate this 7,150-pound(!) 7 Series EV to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds, per BMW’s estimates. All the while, the motor control unit limits wheel slip while driving the tires as hard as they can.
It Doesn’t Chug Electrons
With more power comes reduced driving range, right? Apparently that’s not the case, according to BMW. The M70, despite making nearly 200 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque more than the standard i7, is still able to go 295 miles before needing a recharge. While you can credit the adaptability of the fifth generation motor, BMW also says it found more ways to reduce power consumption and increase recuperation during braking. BMW has also introduced a new Max Range drive mode in the M70 xDrive, aimed at getting you to a charge point when you lose more range than you had planned during your journey, like taking an unplanned detour or drastic weather changes that increase overall power consumption and battery discharge. This mode limits the speed to 56 mph, climate control is deactivated (including seat and steering wheel heating and ventilated seat cooling), and the car’s new range is taken into account in the range forecast. A driver can select this mode (or deactivate it) using the iDrive Controller or voice commands, but it can be deactivated quickly and easily by applying full-throttle acceleration or engaging the M Sport Boost function.
The battery still uses a 400-volt system and is limited to just a 200 kW DC Fast Charge rate. This will get you from 59 miles to 236 miles of range in 34 minutes, or about 5 miles per minute of charging if the rate stays steady during the full session. We say “just” because most of the M70’s all-electric competitors are on an 800-volt system that allows for up to a 350 kW charge rate.
At Least You’ll Enjoy The Wait
While you’re sitting in the M70 during that charging session, you can enjoy the latest version of the BMW Operating System 8.5 with QuickSelect. This new OS allows users to make using and selecting functions and services more intuitive. This starts by making the menu structure more like your smartphone or tablet, with the “right information in the right place.” There is also more digital content for users to enjoy on the i7s curved display screen. You’ll be able to activate functions with a simple swipe of your finger—the QuickSelect portion of this new OS—and a tap of the lower edge of the display will take you back to the home screen. Of course the typeface and graphics you see on these screens will reflect the M-design language and the numbers of the speedometer reading will appear in a platinum/silver color.
Of course, you can enjoy the exterior in the same way you can the interior with its M-specific touches like design features along the flanks and rear to distinguish it from a standard i7. M-designed side skirts, high-gloss Shadowline trim, black M exterior mirrors, a new rear apron with different diffuser inserts, and M logos are all used tastefully on this luxury electric sedan. If you get the M Performance Professional package—the package that comes with the black-painted calipers mentioned earlier—you’ll also get a black M spoiler, a black accent strip between the rear lights, and a black inlay for the rear apron. Then there is the paint, which you can get in BMW M exclusive finishes, matte-finish Frozen paints, and BMW Individual two-tone treatments.
The 2024 BMW i7 M70 xDrive will launch worldwide in the second half of 2023, which is also when we’ll see pricing for the ultimate electric luxury performance machine.
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