Despite the apparent enthusiast case for a BMW M7, the Bavarian bean counters have never found a compelling enough reason to give M GmbH's flagship luxury sedan the all-out performance treatment. On paper, the all-new i7 M70 xDrive has stats that sound a lot as they belong on a "real" M vehicle, with a 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) pace of 3.5 seconds, 650 horsepower (660 PS / 485 kW), and 811 lb-ft (1100 Nm) of peak torque.
Despite its weight of 5,929 lbs (2,689 kg), the i7 M70 xDrive is BMW's fastest and most potent all-electric vehicle. It's not only the fastest 7-Series on the market, beating the M760e xDrive's 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) sprint by 0.8 seconds, but it's also faster than the newly-launched BMW XM Label Red, BMW's first solo M model in 40 years
The back half of the electric powertrain is responsible for the increased power and speed. The front motor produces the same 255 horsepower (259 PS / 193 kW) as the i7 xDrive60, while the rear motor gains more than 50%, rising from 308 hp (312 PS / 233 kW) to 483 hp (490 PS / 360 kW).
This back motor contributes to the impressive performance numbers and is also BMW's most powerful electric motor to date. BMW claims that the i7 M70 won't run out of puff at higher speeds thanks to a new design that doubles the excitation windings in the motor's stator, with the unit able to supply power – ideal for those mid-acceleration spurts continuously.
The overall torque output in Sport Mode is 748 lb-ft (1014 Nm). However, up to 811 lb-ft (1100 Nm) of torque is available when using the launch control. Alternatively, the M Sport Boost function enables max-torque for brief bursts on the go. The left shift paddle activates this fake "overboost" mode and summons a new piped sound from Hans Zimmer's manufactured symphony in addition to neck-snapping acceleration.
Surprisingly, all of this added power does not come at the expense of range. The same 101.7 kW battery powers the i7 M70 as the i7 xDrive60. However, early testing by BMW indicates that the EPA range will be 295 miles (472 km), close to the i7 xDrive60's EPA range of 318 miles (509 km).
Those still concerned about the i7's long-range capabilities or simply out of energy may like the new "Max Range" setting. Max Range, which sounds a lot like the limp-home mode that would activate in '90s cars with slipping auto boxes, limits top speed to 56 mph (90 km/h) and deactivates all the niceties you've paid for, including climate control, heated/cooled seats, and a heated steering wheel — all in the name of eking out those miles.
If you can find a charger, you can charge at the same pace as the i7 xDrive60, up to 195 kW. BMW claims a DC fast charger can charge a battery from 10% to 80% in 34 minutes.
An M-specific chassis with adaptive two-axle air suspension, electronically adjustable dampers, and automated self-leveling complement the upgraded power plant. Body stiffness is improved in the old-fashioned manner by adding panels between the bulkhead and front strut towers. At the same time, high-tech aspects such as Integral Active Steering and Active Roll Stabilization are included.
Blue M-Sport calipers house bigger brakes (four-piston fixed front calipers up front and single-piston floating out back), as do the brakes. High-performance tyres are available for the first time on the i7, but only if you "downgrade" to the smaller 20-inch wheel choice. Otherwise, 21-inch M light alloy wheels will be provided.
In terms of cosmetic enhancements, just the gaping and polarizing grille remains. And BMW joins the fray by providing an illuminated option with the optional M Performance Professional package. The package includes:
A black M rear spoiler.
A black accent strip between the rear lights.
A black rear apron inlay.
If you've already spent too much, the base i7 M70 xDrive will have M side skirts, M emblems with embellished borders on the front side panels, M High-gloss Shadowline trim, and black M exterior mirrors with the typical twin-stalk design adding sports flair.