BMW i7 M70 (2024) review
Will the go-faster M70 xDrive add to the BMW i7's genius or is it unnecessary?
James Fossdyke
James Fossdyke

Published on September 22, 2023

The BMW i7 is many things, from a luxury limousine to an efficient electric saloon, and from a high-tech cinema to a divisive piece of sculpture. But now BMW has seen fit to add another string to the i7's already heavily laden bow, turning the already fast limo into a proper super-saloon. But will supercar-rivalling acceleration and a sporty makeover really suit the big electric 7 Series?

In the metal

Like the more conventional versions of the BMW i7, the M70 is certainly large. And its style is divisive. Ever since the car was first revealed, opinion has been divided over the slab sides and the massive nose, and we don't think this M70 version is likely to subdue any of the noise surrounding the car.

But that doesn't mean it looks the same as any other i7. After all, this is BMW's most powerful electric car to date, and it has to have the design to match its gargantuan outputs. As a result, BMW has fitted M exterior mirrors with an aerodynamic twin-stalk design, M badges in the black-clad grille and 21-inch alloy wheels, but otherwise it's variations on the usual i7 theme. If you don't like the standard car, you certainly won't like this, but for something with such epic performance credentials, it's a remarkably restrained design.

However, a bit of fiddling with the options list can make your M70 stand out from the crowd a little more. You can get a two-tone paint job or a BMW Individual colour scheme, which is apparently applied in a separate manufacturing process, with more of the work done by hand. There's an M Performance package, too, including the BMW Iconic Glow kidney grille that adds white lights to the nose of the car. Again, it won't be for everyone, but there will undoubtedly be those who love it.

Inside, the i70 is similarly endowed with model-specific features, but they don't drastically alter the car's character. There are M-specific door sills, M Merino leather seats and an M leather steering wheel, as well as some M-specific content on the digital display.

But aside from that, the M70 gets much the same basic design as a more conventional i7, with the same huge and wonderfully comfortable seats and the same Curved Display across the dashboard, combining the digital instrument cluster and a massive touchscreen infotainment system in one housing.

Aside from a few extra graphics and menus, the displays are much the same as they are in the other versions of the i7, but that's no criticism. BMW's infotainment systems have long been among the best on the market, and the current crop is no different. The displays are sharp, clear and easy to configure, and the digital instrument display is particularly impressive. In part, the success of the touchscreen, however, is down to the iDrive rotary controller on the centre console, which makes navigating the menus easier and less distracting while you're driving than relying solely on using a touchscreen.

Unfortunately, BMW risked undoing all its good work by moving all the heating and ventilation controls to the touchscreen, but the brand's execution of the idea is better than most. The controls are never more than a single screen tap away, and you can change the temperature using the handy toolbar at the foot of the screen. It isn't as good as a traditional dial, but it isn't too much hassle.

To that, you can add more screens if you so wish, such as the enormous, curved theatre display that folds down from the roof to keep those in the back entertained. Do that and the sun blinds will all extend to enhance the theatre experience, and to keep other drivers from being distracted by your movie selection, which you can choose from a linked streaming service using the little touchscreens in the door arm rests.

But no matter where you sit, you'll get to experience the glorious design and the generally very impressive quality on offer. For the most part, all the materials are excellent, but there is quite a reliance on plastic that cheapens the car in places. Our test vehicle's 'wood' trim, for example, felt as though it had more in common with a pencil sharpener than a pencil itself. Nevertheless, the way in which the materials are connected is undeniably impressive, and it makes the i7 feel decidedly premium.

It's decidedly roomy, too, with a huge amount of interior space, particularly in the rear. There's more than enough head- and legroom for even the tallest passengers, and comfort is assured by the massive and climate-controlled rear seats, which help to make it a very pleasant location in which to while away the kilometres. The front seats are enormously comfortable, too, with massive, highly adjustable chairs that seem to soak you up and wrap around you, giving the driving position something of an armchair feel. Combine that with the climate control and you could drive for hours on end without feeling too tired.

Despite that, the boot space is no better than adequate, with 500 litres of capacity in which to store your luggage. That isn't small by any measure, but it isn't massive, either. Although it's more or less on a par with the conventionally powered Audi A8, it's far smaller than the 610-litre luggage space you'll find in the back of the i7's arch-rival, the Mercedes-Benz EQS.

Driving it

At the heart of the i7 M70 xDrive is a new high-performance powertrain incorporating BMW's most powerful electric motor to date. That 489hp motor lives on the rear axle, powering the two back wheels while another, less potent motor turns those at the front. But everything is relative, and that front motor still produces 258hp. The combination provides a total maximum of 660hp and all-wheel drive, albeit with a strong bias towards the rear of the car.

Unsurprisingly, that makes the M70 monstrously fast, charging from 0-100km/h in 3.7 seconds and persevering until it hits 250km/h. That's the sort of pace that will leave some pretty serious sports cars eating your electro-dust, and don't forget this performance comes from a massive luxury saloon that weighs about 2.7 tonnes. It's the size of Mr Incredible, but it runs like his son.

Being that fast has its downsides, though, and the i7 M70 xDrive doesn't quite have the range of less powerful versions, with the official efficiency test giving it up to 560km between trips to the plug. That's despite the enormous battery with 101.7kWh of usable capacity, which somewhat compensates for the less-than-impressive but hardly surprising consumption of between 20.8 and 23.8kWh per 100km.

When that range is exhausted, the i7 M70 has the same 195kW DC charging speed as less powerful models, which means those who can find a sufficiently powerful charger will be able to get from 10 to 80 per cent in 34 minutes, while those charging on a slower 22kW point, such as those often found at hotels, will be able to recharge the battery from empty in five-and-a-half hours.

But though range and charging are always key considerations for electric car buyers, this M70 xDrive version of the i7 is designed to do more than that. While its size rather precludes any chance of being as humble as it is fast, the i7 still corners with far more vim and vigour than any of its rivals, and indeed quite a few smaller and lighter executive saloons.

Obviously, it never feels small - it's huge - but it doesn't feel as big as it looks, thanks to precise steering and a well-balanced chassis that prevents too much body lean in corners. As a result, it has far more capacity on country roads than it has any right to, and it will easily be the driver's choice in the luxury saloon market.

But despite that, it hasn't sacrificed any of the comfort that has made the i7 such an impressive saloon. With some engineering witchcraft, BMW has made sure the body is controlled, but the ride is still supple and soft, soaking up the bumps really well over any surface and at any speed. Even in the sportier driving modes, which aren't quite as supple as the more comfort-orientated settings, it doesn't feel anything like as firm or unsettled as you might expect.

The only criticisms, therefore, involve the real-world range and the brakes. Don't worry too much about the latter (the brakes are impressively effective, but the pedal just feels alarmingly soft in our book) but the former is more of an issue. Although the official figures suggest you'll get 500 or so kilometres from a charge, something in the region of 400 is more realistic, particularly if you've bought an i7 for its pace. Certainly, you'll be able to travel further in an EQS.

Keep away from the right-hand pedal, though, and you should get enough range to manage most journeys without stopping. And on longer trips, you'll probably find bodily functions are the limiting factor, rather than battery capacity.

What you get for your money

BMW Ireland is charging just over €199,000 for the M70 xDrive version of the i7, making this most potent offering more than €70,000 dearer than the basic eDrive50 model. Obviously, you get more equipment for that. Quite aside from the performance-related stuff, you get big 21-inch alloys, front- and rear-seat heating and cooling plus ventilated front seats with a massage function, to name but a few features. It's a stacked spec sheet, but you can still add to it with numerous options, most of which are designed to increase comfort for those in the rear or customise the styling. We expect most M70s to go for well over €200,000.


Despite being a bit silly in so many ways, the BMW i7 is quite the car. Yes, the performance of the M70 is remarkable in such a massive hunk of metal, but even more remarkable is that the excessive power output hasn't really corrupted the i7. It's still a big, comfortable and luxurious cruiser that somehow manages to feel smaller than it is. And while other versions offer almost as much speed and equal amounts of luxury, there's no doubt the M70 works for those that just want the best one money can buy.


Tech Specs

Model testedBMW i7 M70 xDrive
Irish pricingfrom €199,185
Powertrainelectric - two electric motors, lithium-ion battery of 101.7kWh energy capacity
Transmissionautomatic gearbox - single-speed, all-wheel drive
Body stylefour-door, five-seat saloon
CO2 emissions0g/km
Irish motor tax€120
Electric range488-560km
Max charge capacity195kW DC, 22kW AC
Energy consumption20.8-23.8kWh/100km
Charging port typeCCS combo
Top speed250km/h
0-100km/h3.7 seconds
Max power660hp
Max torque1,100Nm
Boot space500 litres
Rivals to the BMW 7 Series