Say hello to BMW's most powerful electric model ever.
Less than a week after introducing its most powerful car ever, BMW M is taking the wraps off its most powerful all-electric model. The BMW i7 M70 xDrive has two electric motors and a combined power output of 650 horsepower and 811 lb-ft of torque. BMW claims the i7 M70 can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, which makes it the quickest all-electric model in the range (and quicker than M's supposed halo model, the XM Label Red). The M70 effectively replaces the old combustion-powered M760i and even uses the name of the old BMW V12.
This may not be a full-fat M model, but these in-betweener M Performance models rake in cash. And BMW's sales figures prove that electric M Performance models are arguably the future, as the i4 M50 was BMW M's best-selling model last year.
Thankfully, these cars do have enough M-specific bits to make them stand out against lesser models in the range.
To achieve the impressive power and torque figures, BMW upgraded the rear drive unit with six excitation windings in the motor's stator (up from three) and a dual inverter. This resulted in a higher power density level of 2.41 kW/kg, or a 25.5% increase over the i7 xDrive60's rear drive unit. Thanks to these upgrades, the rear drive unit installed in this car is currently the most powerful electric motor BMW produces.
The power split between the two axles is not equal. The rear motor produces a peak output of 483 hp, while the front motor brings 255 hp to the party. Combined, the two motors produce 748 lb-ft in Sport mode. Activating the M Launch Control engages the M Sport Boost function, which increases the torque to 811 lb-ft to achieve that impressive 0-60 mph time. The top speed is limited to 155 mph.
Obviously, the i7 M70 lacks the aural theatrics of a gas-powered M car like the 3.0 CSL, but BMW makes up for it by leaning into the upsides of electricity. The drive and traction control systems are integrated into the motor control unit, which ensures instant acceleration when using the M Launch Control function. The shift paddle to the left of the steering wheel activates the M Sport Boost function. It also activates M Performance-specific graphics in the instrument cluster, and IconicSounds Electric sounds created by Hans Zimmer. The car's soundtrack depends on which driving mode is activated.
BMW also adapted the all-wheel drive, steering, dampers, and stability systems for this model. The automaker wanted to give this i7 sporty handling without sacrificing its luxury roots. As such, the i7 M70 is equipped with an M-specific adaptive two-axle air suspension with electronically controlled dampers, automatic self-leveling, and air springs with reduced-volume hydraulics.
There's also an additional shear panel between the bulkhead and sprint strut towers, significantly increasing the overall structural rigidity. The Active Roll Stabilization keeps the body flat through the corners, while Integral Active four-wheel steering should help the 5,929-pound sedan feel more nimble than it is.
Weighing nearly 6,000 lbs, the M70 needs serious stopping power. Blue M Sport brakes with an M logo are standard but can be painted black for a more sedate look. The braking system consists of large ventilated discs, four-piston fixed calipers in the front, and a single-piston floating caliper at the rear.
A set of aerodynamically efficient 21-inch alloys is standard, but if you drop down to 20-inch alloys, you can also opt for high-performance tires, a first for the i7.
Because the i7 M70 is meant to have a split personality, the range was also crucial to the engineers. That's why there's a new drive system called Max Range. In this mode, the car restricts the available power and lowers the top speed. Oddly, the comfort features are also scaled back, which defeats the purpose of buying a 7 Series.
Still, BMW says Max Range is only to be used in critical situations. The fast charger you're navigating to might be out of action for some reason, which means the car must find another charge point. In this mode, the top speed is limited to 56 mph, and the climate control, heated and ventilated seats, and heated steering wheel are all deactivated. Every electron is used to ensure you get to the next charging point.
The i7 M70 comes standard with 195 kW DC fast charging, which gets the battery from 10% to 80% in 34 minutes. The preliminary estimated EPA range is 295 miles.
The i7 M70 is one of the first Bimmers to run BMW Operating System 8.5 with QuickSelect. This new operating software, inspired by smartphones, comes with an updated home screen and menu structure. It makes it easier to navigate the menu, though we'll reserve comment until we've experienced it.
It runs smoothly via the BMW Curved Display, and the intelligent personal assistant is still in the background, waiting to respond to voice controls. The Curved Display also comes with M-specific graphics. The numbers in the digital speedometer are platinum/silver, for example.
On the outside, the M70 gains standard contour lighting for the kidney grilles. The optional M Performance Professional package adds a Black high-gloss trim around the grille. It also has M-specific design features on the flanks and rear, sculpted M side skirts, M logos with embellished borders on the front side panels, black exterior mirrors with the traditional twin-stalk design, and the M high-gloss Shadowline trim as standard.
The rear apron is fitted with a diffuser insert, while vehicles equipped with the optional M Performance Professional package add a black rear spoiler, a black accent strip between the rear lights, and a black inlay for the rear apron.
The BMW i7 M70 xDrive has access to an extensive color palette. Some colors are reserved for this M model, such as the matte-finish (Frozen) options. The launch colors combine BMW Individual Liquid Copper metallic on the lower body and Saphire Black metallic on the upper section, one of eight two-tone options. The colors are separated by a coach line, Rolls-Royce style. If you're not into the two-tone look, you can select one of over 100 BMW Individual paintwork colors to choose from, each of which can be viewed in the new visualizer.
This new model will debut at the Auto Shanghai international motor show in China but will be built at BMW's high-end plant in Dingolfing, Germany. The global market launch for the the fastest Bimmer EV will start in the second half of 2023.
The MSRP will be released closer to the start of production, but we expect it to be in the region of $150,000 to $175,000.
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