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2024 BMW i7 M70 xDrive First Drive: The New Benchmark

2024 BMW i7 M70 xDrive
Photo: BMW
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Benoit Charette
The i7 is now BMW's most powerful car, promising unprecedented speed and refinement

•    Auto123 gets in a first test drive of the 2024 BMW i7 M70 xDrive.

Lisbon, Portugal - In a German automotive engineering workshop in the heart of Bavaria, a silent transformation is underway. The craftsmen at M GmbH, BMW's high-performance division, are crafting a revolution. It features not the deafening sound of a traditional exotic, low-slung racer. This is a much more silent revolution. 

The BMW i7 M70 emerges as the brand’s next big step into electrification, as it seeks both power and luxury in adequate measure.

The new 2024 BMW i7 M70 xDrive
The new 2024 BMW i7 M70 xDrive
Photo: BMW

Exterior design of the 2024 BMW i7 M70 xDrive

This BMW i7 is an elegant electric sedan derived from the legendary 7 Series. It’s the largest and most powerful electric sedan ever produced by the automaker, a response to the Mercedes-Benz EQS, Tesla Model S and Lucid Air.  

To facilitate a smooth transition to electric power, BMW has taken the styling of its gasoline-powered sedans and transposed it to its electric models. The resemblance is striking. 

The M70 variant is visually distinguished from the other i7s by its black trim, side skirts and rear diffuser. The M Performance package adds a black rear spoiler, black trim between the taillights and further black trim on the rear bumper. Like other i7s, the M70 can be fitted with two-tone paint, and the outline of the huge grille illuminates for an extra $500.

Interior of 2024 BMW i7 M70 xDrive
Interior of 2024 BMW i7 M70 xDrive
Photo: BMW

Interior of the 2025 BMW i7 M70 xDrive

The interior of the BMW i7 is a true haven of luxury. The overall aesthetic exudes refined elegance, with high-quality materials adorning every surface. Leather is available, but it's the cashmere seat option that attracts the most attention. The choice of high-end fabrics is appealing, although some of the glossy interior trim reflects sunlight, which can cause temporary discomfort. 

The rear seats can be adjusted to offer maximum comfort, while the cavernous trunk provides ample luggage space. Small storage pockets within the cabin also provide valuable space for personal items. 

The main attraction of the rear row, though, is a 31-inch rear entertainment screen with an astonishing 8K resolution, incorporating Amazon Fire TV functionality. A marvel of technology offering a very immersive experience. 

Know that when deployed (lowered into place), this immense screen completely obstructs the driver's rear view, with no digital rear-view mirror to compensate. Nevertheless, the transformation of the car into theatre mode, with the rear blinds raised and the screen lowered, creates an atmosphere similar to that of a movie theater.

Seating in 2024 BMW i7 M70 xDrive
Seating in 2024 BMW i7 M70 xDrive
Photo: BMW

Technology and safety 
The dashboard, angled towards the driver, features two large screens, cleverly positioned beneath a long, slightly curved windshield. The latest iteration of BMW's infotainment system offers a wider range of functions than its predecessor, with one in the M70 featuring a unique design, giving the car a sportier vibe. In this iteration, the dashboard comes alive with performance-specific graphics, highlighted by red and blue hues, while playing electric "performance" sounds from IconicSounds when the M Sport Boost was activated. 

However, one of the main criticisms levelled at the i7 (and other BMW models with iDrive 8.5) lies in the unintuitive interface, even though BMW has added the QuickSelect function, mimicking the home screen of smartphones to make function selection easier. There are still many sub-menus to go through before getting where you want to go. 

BMW has teamed up with Airconsole to offer, like Tesla, the possibility of playing video games while you wait for a recharge. You also have access to live TV for a subscription fee. 

The all-new 2024 BMW i7 M70 xDrive, int two-tone garb
The all-new 2024 BMW i7 M70 xDrive, int two-tone garb
Photo: BMW

Versions and configurations of the 2024 BMW i7 M70 xDrive

As BMW's largest sedan, the model offers a 101.7-kWh battery delivering its energy to two motors, one at the front and the other at the rear. 

The i7 is offered in two versions in Canada. The i7 xDrive60 version offers 536 hp and 549 lb-ft of torque. The new i7 M70 xDrive model offers 650 hp and 748 lb-ft of torque. There's a choice of monotone or two-tone colours, with different option packages that easily add $20,000 or more to the car.

Specifications sheet of the 2024 BMW i7 M70 xDrive

Design of the new 2024 BMW i7 M70 xDrive
Design of the new 2024 BMW i7 M70 xDrive
Photo: BMW

The powertrains
The real difference between the xDrive60 and the M70 lies in the setting of the two electric motors, one at the front axle, the other at the rear. The M70's rear motor boasts 25.5 percent more power than the standard version, offering a total output of 650 hp and a monstrous 748 lb-ft of torque in Sport mode. By activating the throttle paddle or engaging launch control, the car can even reach 811 lb-ft of torque. 

According to BMW, the latter option enabled the M70 to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.8 seconds, at a weight of 2.7 tons - a performance that commands respect. 

Despite this immense performance, BMW claims that the 101.7-kWh battery can provide a range of 474 km. A new driving mode called Max Range lets you maximize that by limiting the M70 to 100 km, limiting power and deactivating the a/c, heated and ventilated seats and heated steering wheel. 

The i7 M70 supports DC fast charging up to 195 kW, with BMW claiming that the battery charge can go from 10 to 80 percent in 34 minutes.

2024 BMW i7 M70 xDrive blue
2024 BMW i7 M70 xDrive blue
Photo: BMW

Driving the 2024 BMW i7 M70 xDrive

The i7 is much more agile than its size and weight would suggest. The electric motors generate plenty of power, and acceleration is as quick as it is serene. That said, it's not so much speed that counts as attention to detail and ride quality. The car behaves impeccably, absorbing road imperfections with ease, negotiating bends with agility and maintaining lateral movement even at high speed. 

All this is in good part the result of a chassis designed by the experts at the M Division. As well, the M-specific adaptive air suspension, with electronically controlled dampers, and active roll stabilization, give this imposing 5.4-metre sedan surprising agility. 

You can drive at the touch of one pedal, simply by pressing or releasing the gas pedal. It's only necessary to press the brake pedal when you need to stop urgently. However, the laws of physics must be taken into account. A corner taken at speed or late braking suggested a slight roll and reduced maneuverability. This is still a big, long, heavy car.

However, even fans of sporty driving will find plenty to like in this BMW i7 M70.

Glimpse of the new 2024 BMW i7 M70 xDrive
Glimpse of the new 2024 BMW i7 M70 xDrive
Photo: BMW

2024 BMW i7 M70 xDrive pricing

While the i7 xDrive60 starts at $151,700, the bill climbs to $185,000 with the M70. This price does not include taxes, transport, preparation or luxury tax. A few options will easily bring you up to $200,000. You can guess that at this price, the number of models sold in Canada will be counted on the fingers of one hand, maybe two.

The final word
In the final analysis, the M version is a performance model. It's a bold foray into the domain of electric mobility, a successful marriage of power, luxury and refinement. BMW wants to prove that whether the model is combustion or electric, it intends to stand at the top of the podium.

1) With the M70 the i7 becomes the most powerful BMW, a promise of speed and refinement. 

2) However, its range places it at the bottom of the hierarchy of large electric luxury sedans. The competition (Mercedes, Lucid, Tesla) offers far superior figures, the champion being the Tesla Model S Plaid. However, for buyers of the BMW i7 M70, range is probably a secondary concern. 

3) At 5.4 metres, the i7 is huge. Its 2.7-tonne weight and 21-inch wheels are close to off the chart. 

4) There's a phenomenal amount of technology on board that takes a long time to get used to. 

5) We know that BMW is preparing Level 3 autonomy for the next generation of this model, and a solid-state battery that promises not only to match, but to surpass Tesla. Many people wonder if now is the right time to buy electric technology. The answer is yes, but as we often say, the best is yet to come.

Specifications sheet of 2024 BMW i7 2024 M70 xDrive Sedan

First drive of 2024 BMW i7 M70 xDrive
First drive of 2024 BMW i7 M70 xDrive
Photo: BMW

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Benoit Charette
Benoit Charette
Automotive expert
  • More than 30 years of experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 65 test drives last year
  • Attended more than 200 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists