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Listen to the Quiet: The 2024 BMW i7 eDrive50

2024 BMW i7 eDrive50 front 3/4 view

I love spectacle as much as anyone, but sometimes the showbiz distracts from the ability to appreciate the virtues underneath.

About six months ago, I drove and reviewed the 2023 BMW i7 xDrive 60. Where do you start? An all-wheel drive 536-horsepower big electric sedan that hits 60 from a standstill in four and a half seconds and a 31.3-inch theater screen in the back (if you specify the $7,250 Rear Executive Lounge Seating Package).

2024 BMW i7 eDrive50 rear 3/4 view

As I write this, I have one day left in a week with the 2024 BMW i7 eDrive50, with one fewer electric motor, two fewer driving wheels, 87 fewer horsepower and one fewer movie screen.

And I don't want to give it back.

As odd as it seems to say about a big luxury sedan with aggressive styling and a six-figure price tag, the i7 eDrive50 is....serene. It doesn't shout, it whispers. Its lack of any perceivable noise, vibration or harshness will have Lexus engineers up nights wondering just how they did it.

2024 BMW i7 eDrive50 hood up

2024 BMW i7 eDrive50 underhood

A lot of that is due, of course, to there not being an internal combustion engine under the hood---but EVs whine and there's artificial noise made to alert pedestrians and some manufacturers even pipe in fake engine noises just to enhance the perception of speed and...

BMW said "nein". And however you say "bring on the soundproofing" in German.

Flooring the eDrive50 wakes the electric equivalent of 449 horses, gets you to 60 from zero in 5.3 seconds, absolutely qualifying as a performance car---but it does so quietly.

Those of us who were around for the days of big, quiet, comfy luxury cars might expect that the price for this will be a loss of handling. Again, nein. The BMW handles like a BMW. Dynamic Brake Control, Cornering Brake Control, four-wheel ventilated anti-lock disc brakes, Dynamic Stability Control, Dynamic Traction Control, Integral Active Steering with rear-axle's a performance car. It just doesn't yell about it.

All this and a range of 311 miles between charges, too.

About that.

Regular readers know that of late, I have been mentioning the weak link in the EV revolution in every EV review---our charging infrastructure. Not just too few chargers for a growing number of electric vehicles, but too few working chargers---as in working at all or delivering anywhere near their charging capacity.

The BMW i7 should be able to go from 10% to 80% on a DC fast charger in about 28 minutes.

Electrify America charger display

I pulled up to a 350kw Electrify America charger with 16 percent charge remaining and it told me I could expect to hit 80% in 38 minutes. It's ten minutes longer than the car is capable of, but as EA charger disappointments go these days, it was a minor one.

The reality and the prediction were miles apart.

2024 BMW i7 eDrive50 charging readout

The 350kw charger was delivering less than a tenth of that---and the estimated time to hit 80% continued to grow longer---as did the line of cars waiting to use the charger.

In the interest of wasting less of the other EV drivers' time as well as mine, I called it quits at 63%. This is the receipt delivered to my phone:

What had been predicted as 38 minutes to 80% ended up being an hour and 23 minutes to 63%---at a maximum charging speed of 34kw on a 350kw "Hyper-FAST" (EA's brand name) charger.

Today, my last full day with the car, I decided to charge it up to 80% for the driver who'll be picking it up tomorrow morning. Given the EA experience a few days ago, I went to an EVgo charging station also near me. There are four DC fast chargers there.

Dead EVgo charger

Second dead EVgo charger

Two of the four were dead.

EVgo charger "under maintenance"

A third was "under maintenance".

Half-functioning EVgo charger

And the fourth worked---but only the CHAdeMO port, so unless I had a Nissan Leaf or a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, I was out of luck.

Electrify America 350kw charger

So, it was back to the EA chargers.

This time, the "Hyper-FAST" 350kw charger peaked at 82kw. Since I was only topping off from 49% to 80%, it wasn't horrific in absolute terms, but that 31% took as long as taking the i7 from 10% to 80% should take under ideal circumstances.

If you search the internet, you'll find more than a few EV drivers saying very obscene, graphic and nasty things to Electrify America, EVgo and other public charging companies. No wonder.

They (and most other charging companies that aren't Tesla) aren't just poorly serving paying customers---they are souring people on cars that are more than ready for prime time, and are needed now if we're going to make a meaningful difference in our climate.

The good news is that BMW is among the long list of EV manufacturers who have cut deals with Tesla that will allow them to use Tesla's ultra-reliable, ultra-fast Supercharger network.

2024 BMW i7 trunk open

Back to the car: 17.7 cubic feet of trunk space...

2024 BMW i7 rear seat legroom

...a luxurious 42.8 inches of rear-seat legroom.

2024 BMW i7  front seats

2024 BMW i7 front seat detail

2024 BMW i7 instrument panel

The base price of the 2024 BMW i7 eDrive50 is $106,695 including destination. Standard at that price are all the things I've mentioned so far, plus an anthracite headliner, dynamic cruise control, glass controls, variable drive modes, a leather-wrapped sport steering wheel, navigation, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless device charging, power multi-function front and rear seats, heated steering wheel and front and rear seats, a comprehensive suite of active safety features, enhanced USB and Bluetooth, active park distance control, an interior camera, acoustic protection, on-board 5G wi-fi, and a one-year SiriusXM subscription.

2024 BMW i7 steering wheel and instrument display

2024 BMW i7 center console

2024 BMW i7 center screen

The car did have a significant amount of extra-cost optional equipment: $1,950 for the Dravit Grey Metallic paint, $2,000 for the Driving Assistance Pro Package (Active Driving Assistant Pro, Highway Assistant), $1,500 for the Luxury Rear Seating Package (Rear massaging seats), $3,900 for the M Sport Package (21-inch M Sport wheels, an M steering wheel, Shadowline exterior trim, M Sport interior and exterior elements), $950 for the M Sport Professional Package, $1,400 for the Premium Package (Parking Assistant Professional and Surround View w/3D View), $3,700 for the Executive Package (automatic doors, crystal headlights and front massaging seats), and $4,800 for an upgraded and simply stunning Bowers & Wilkins sound system (that one's a must).

Bottom line on the window sticker: $128,195.

2024 BMW i7 front view

2024 BMW i7 side view

2024 BMW i7 rear view

I also drove and reviewed the gasoline version of this car last year---the 760i xDrive. The simple fact is that while all the versions of the new 7 series are great cars, this is the one I'd buy with my own money, and allow it to soothe my senses and help heal the planet for many, many years.


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