This review took me a long time to write due to the sheer excellence that the new BMW 7 Series embodies. The car is such an upgrade from any other 7 Series model the company has built that it took me a while to sort out my thoughts about the car. I ended up driving three different versions of the car over a period of about 8 months before I even started the review.
I first had the opportunity to drive the newest 7 Series BMW at the 2022 Test Fest, then again during this year’s Monterey Car Week, and most recently when I drove the highest performance version, the i7 M70 Xdrive, at this year’s Test Fest. Each of these times I have had the pleasure of driving the new 7 Series, I come away more and more impressed with this spectacular car.
The first version of the 7 Series I drove was the i7, which is the all electric 7 Series BMW. I have driven a number of electric and hybrid vehicles in the last few years and, while they have all been completely functional as transportation devices, they all have seemed to lack the feeling in some way that they were actually cars. This missing element seems to be a part of the design of almost every electric car out there. The worst offender is to me the Tesla with its hodge-podge of interior displays that makes it look like the driver raided a Best Buy to get the screens for the car’s instruments and control interfaces.
The I7 is nothing like this. Instead of being an electric vehicle it is, to put it simply, a very modern luxury performance car that just happens to be powered by electricity. If you drive it and compare it to any other electric car offering you will see the difference. It is a driver’s car, like all BMW cars, and is the electric powered version of the Ultimate Driving machine. It has all the electronic features of the other cars but integrates them in a way that makes driving the i7 no different than driving the gas-powered version.
To reiterate how I started this review, the new 2023 BMW 7 Series whether powered by gas or electrons, is by far the finest 7 Series ever built, and the biggest leap forward for the 7 series BMW I have seen in its entire history as a model. It is not the equal of the Mercedes S Class Maybach, but simply leaves it in the dust and also costs tens of thousands of dollars less. It is so much better than the top tier Maybach that it is fairer to compare it to the Rolls-Royce Ghost than to any other luxury car built today. The new 7 Series is quite simply the new benchmark of excellence in the European luxury car segment.
The interior, whether you are sitting in the front or the rear, is the most comfortable ever developed by BMW. The seats are superb, the fit and finish flawless, and the controls made of the finest materials available. Every single control you touch feels as if it is made of the best materials in the world. This is because they are. This includes the Swarovski crystal controls for I-Drive and other switchgear which feel as nice as they look. Especially intriguing is the optional cashmere interior. The entire experience gives drivers and passengers what feels like one that is truly bespoke, something that is no mean feat for a standard production model.
In Monterey my time with the 7 Series was just as amazing. Earlier in the week I had the new 2023 as a loaner, review to follow soon, but on Thursday I swapped it out for a 760. Since the rest of the week was spent coming and going to more formal events such as The Quail, a few dinners, parties, and the Pebble Beach Concours, the 760 was the perfect tool for the job.
I had a few passengers with me in the 760 and all were absolutely blown away, especially those in the back seat. I left the Concours at 11:30 a.m., as by that time I had seen all the cars and all the people I was hoping to run into and had been there since 5 a.m. I took my friend Tom Plucinsky with me since he’d also been there for Dawn Patrol and was about done with car stuff. One of the best moments of the weekend with the 760 was parking in downtown Monterey, watching the Pebble Beach Concours awards presentation on the wide screen display in the back seat of the car, while having food delivered by a local restaurant.
The 7 Series is exactly the car you want on Monday after a long and event-filled Monterey Car Week. I met my friend Monday morning and together we drove back to San Francisco. Actually I need to correct that statement. Once I was on 101, I let the 7 Series drive us automatically to SFO while we relaxed with seat massages listening to XM Sirius Yacht Rock on the wonderful audio system.
The auto drive system in the 760 is the best I have ever used, and outside of a time when I had to deal with a messy construction zone, it drove us to the airport all by itself. It is weird to see this in action, but it works regardless of the volume of traffic.
The third 7 Series I drove was at BMW Test Fest a few weeks ago, the new i7 M70 xDrive. While the sheer performance of the first i7 I drove was pretty remarkable, the M70 version is even more of a good thing. Acceleration is even quicker and the car pulls with more urgency than the standard car or even the gasoline powered 760. It offers all the same amenities of all the other 7 Series offerings in a more powerful package. With 650 horsepower and 811 lb-ft of torque on tap, this allows the car to accelerate from 0-60 in 3.5 seconds, which is remarkable for a luxury car of this caliber. Yes, the Tesla Plaid is quicker and the Lucid Sapphire is in a completely different league altogether than both, but neither of these offerings have the luxury, fit and finish, and overall quality of workmanship that any of the 7 Series BMW cars offer. The competitors at their top levels of specification are more like a domestic first class seat versus flying Club Class on a Virgin Atlantic flight to London. The only thing missing are the flight attendants to offer you a drink, though who knows that might be an option from BMW Individual I am not aware of.
Driving any of the 7 Series cars is as involved or as isolated as you want to make it. Dial them up to Sport or Sport Plus and you have a very big sports sedan, dial it down to Comfort and you have a car that glides over the road. Steering feel is excellent, handling is crazy good for such big cars, and the engine or motor performance is terrific, with lots of torque and power in any of the cars. The most interesting observation I had about all the versions of the series is how they did not feel like big cars from behind the wheel except when doing parking lot maneuvers and even then they surprised me at how tight a turning radius they had.
In a nutshell, if you are looking to buy a top tier luxury sedan, that is not a Rolls-Royce, you will be making a mistake if you buy any car other than one of the BMW 7 Series cars. It is really that good. It is also nice that there is literally a version of the car for every taste from the 740 hybrid, or one of the full electric options. Sure the styling is very bold and in your face, but isn’t that one of the reasons you buy a car like this. The 7 Series makes a statement of winning in the game of life like a hammer against the side of the head. I love it.
2024 BMW 7 Series
Vehicle type: 5-passenger sedan
i7 xDrive 60 Base price: $105,700 Price as tested: $139,395
760i Base price: $113,600 Price as Tested: $149,045
i7 M70 xDrive Base Price: $168,500 Price as Tested: $192,650
Engine: 760i turbocharged, and intercooled DOHC 24-valve 4.4-liter V8, 536 hp, 553 lb-ft torque; i7 xDrive60 536 hp, 539 lb-ft torque; i7 M70 xDrive 650 hp, 749 lb-ft torque
Transmission: 8-speed automatic in gas powered cars
Wheelbase: 116.2 inches Overall length/width: 212.2 inches / 76.8 inches
Curb weight: 5,095(760i), 5,917(i7 xDrive60), 5,975(i7 M70 xDrive) pounds
EPA mileage/Range estimates: 760i 18 city / 25 highway / 20 combined, i7 xDrive60 317 mile range, i7 M70 291 mile range
Assembled in: Germany