By MPHO MABOI

I have driven some amazing cars in my short life on planet Earth but nothing and I mean nothing humbled me as much as being the wheel of the new BMW i7 xDrive60. Now, as one of the leading automotive brands in the world, BMW has long been associated with cutting-edge engineering and stylish design. With the i7, BMW has taken their brand to the next level by delivering a powerful electric vehicle (EV) that combines style, performance, and environmental sustainability.

From the moment you step into the car, everything says calm down. All desire to play music loud or even drive at speed, dissipates because you’re now playing with the “big boys”. O grootman!

Coming in at just over R3 million standard, I’d say it’s worth every cent. Should you see me in this, know I’ve won the Powerball jackpot and I’m ready to be the grootman I know I was born to be!

So let’s start with the exterior. In terms of design, the i7 features that distinctive BMW double kidney grille flanked by Matrix LED headlights, which give it a bold and futuristic appearance. It looks similar to the original 7 Series from 1977. But that grille, becomes a massive differentiator.

One of the most impressive features of the i7 is just how massive it is. You can’t ignore that she’s quite long although very sleek. The car’s lightweight body is made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic, which provides strength and durability while being environmentally friendly. Something you’d expect in a car that’s trying to be kinder to Mother Earth right?

The BMW i7 xDrive60’s interior is just as impressive. It features a spacious cabin which is well-equipped with a range of advanced features, including the latest infotainment system with the OS8 operating system. Fronting it nearly across the entire cockpit, is the almost 38cm wide BMW Curved Display screen.

The rear is your executive space, where business deals are made and concluded, but also on a lighter note the executive seats lean back so you can fully enjoy the 80cm roof-mounted screen, with Amazon Fire TV that drops down from the panoramic roof. You can also watch Netflix, YouTube and Prime as well. It also supports HDMI and USB connection, therefore farewell to boring trips with the little ones.

The rear doors also feature 14cm long touchscreens from which you can control the infotainment system, climate control and seating and massage system with ease. Yes you can get a full body massage in the car. A feature also available in the front seats.

All this is complimented by the Bowers and Wilkins Diamond surround sound with 39 tweeters and midrange speakers, a subwoofer and shaker that creates a 4D audio experience. You’re literally at the cinema in your car. My 11 year old son did not want to leave the car because of this. The rear-seat entertainment Professional system will cost you an extra R78 000.

Not forgetting that there’s the sophisticated driver assistance technology (making navigating the many apps on screen a lot easier – think Siri for your car). We also have Active Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, and Automatic Parking, as can be expected at this level of car.

Performance and Range

Under the hood, the BMW i7 xDrive60 comes with two powerful 400kW, 745Nm electric motors that deliver smooth and responsive acceleration. These are placed on both the front and rear axles, making the i7 an AWD car.

It can sprint from 0 to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds, which is quite a feat for a car that weighs over 2.6 tonnes. Top speed is 240km/h, while the full charge range of 625km is highly impressive for an electric vehicle. Charging was a breeze. Took around an hour to fully charge from close to 10% at Fourways Mall and would’ve been much faster had I been at a fast charge point. My colleague Thami Masemola did make use of the 200kW charger at Mall of Africa in Midrand. The car went from 15% to 95% in a mere 20 minutes.

Conclusion

Overall, the BMW i7 xDrive60 is a game-changing electric luxuy car that delivers on both style and performance. A car that humbled me and made me feel grown and sexy, all at once.

QUICK STATS

BMW I7 XDRIVE60

MOTORS: Front and rear

POWER: 400kW

TORQUE: 745Nm

GEARBOX: 1-speed, 2-stage automatic

DRIVE: 4WD

0 – 100KM/H: 4.7 seconds

TOP SPEED: 240km/h

AVERAGE POWER CONSUMPTION: 19.6 – 18.4kWh/100km

BATTERY SIZE: 101.7kWh

RANGE: 625km

CO2 e: 0 g/km

PRICE STANDARD: R3 010 000

NATURAL RIVALS: Mercedes-Benz EQS 45+

PRICE RIVALS: BMW X6 M Competition, Mercedes-Benz G400d, Range Rover D350

MAINTENANCE PLAN: 5-year/100 000km, roadside assistance

WARRANTY: 24 months

BADDIE INDEX: 5/5

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