Home / Car News / The Bonkers 2023 BMW 7-Series Is A Luxury Beast With An Absurd 31.3-Inch TV Screen

The Bonkers 2023 BMW 7-Series Is A Luxury Beast With An Absurd 31.3-Inch TV Screen

BMW 7-Series i7 xDrive60

While BMW’s flagship 7-Series sedan has often been a conservatively-styled executive chariot with just enough technology to feel special, the new 7-Series — which debuted today — blends polarizing styling with a veritable smorgasbord of technological gadgets and gizmos to offer customers a true next-generation luxury experience and make the Mercedes-Benz S-Class look a bit old. We’re on the BMW stand of the 2001 Frankfurt Motor Show to take you on a tour of the new 2002 7-Series.

Hold on, I’m getting a message. Ah. It appears we’re not in Frankfurt, it’s not 2001 and we’re not even covering the 2002 7-Series. That’s a bit of a shame. Still, the parallels between the 2002 BMW 745i and the all-new 2023 BMW 7-Series are strong enough to hang a cable car from. Twenty years since the infamous Bangle Butt broke cover, an all-new 7-Series is here with controversial styling and enough tech to make your head spin. Let’s break it down.

Rob The Jewelry Store And Tell Them Make Me A Grille

2023 BMW 7-Series i7 xDrive60 rear three-quarter shot
Photo credit: BMW

If you want to know who’s personally responsible for the aesthetic situation at BMW, you may want to turn your attention to Domagoj Dukec, the leader of BMW’s global design team. The 45-year-old Croatian is no stranger to controversial styling, signing off on the maximalist iX electric SUV and the aggro XM high-performance concept SUV. While the iX is very much a polarizing proposition, the new 7-Series promises to be even more divisive. Up front, split-element headlamps frame a set of Weber-sized kidney grilles. Honestly, I think it’s an improvement over the outgoing car’s front end. Separating the daytime running lights from the main headlamps gives the new 7-Series a sharp, angular appearance. It also seems to pay homage to the 2002 745i’s eyebrow-like indicators at the tops of its headlights.

Moving to the rear of the new BMW 7-Series, the Bangle butt is back! Well, sort-of. The trunk lid itself doesn’t wrap around to the body sides, but the tall and blocky rear deck pays homage to Chris Bangle’s flamboyant flagship. Honestly, it works quite well to balance out the long, flat hood.

Really, the big step backwards out back is the tail light design. The outgoing model’s full-width tail lamp was so good that it’s mildly disappointing to see two separate units here. Still, they’re quite slim and feature beautiful mesh detailing. As for the side profile of the new 7-Series, there’s not much to report there other than the deletion of the hockey stick trim along the rocker panels and the addition of some flush-mount door handles. Overall, I think it’s a job well done. Some people will hate it, some will adore it, and that’s the mark of interesting design.

Crystal Castle

2023 BMW 7-Series ambient lighting
Photo credit: BMW

Remember how I said that the new 7-Series has enough tech to make your head spin? Even the way you enter the car is pretty advanced. Just touch an exterior door handle, and the door will whimsically whirr open — great for anyone whose favorite childhood movie was Matilda.

Plant your butt in the driver’s seat and you’ll quickly find that someone’s stretched a mood ring across the entire dashboard. Called the BMW Interaction Bar, it’s not a speed-dating function but rather an illuminated crystal panel with touch-sensitive controls for the climate controls, hazard warning lights, and glovebox release. I know, a touch-sensitive hazard light switch is the most brainless thing since 90 Day Fiancé, but the backlit crystal does look lovely.

It’s a six-figure sedan for very serious new money businesspeople; flexing will always come first. Speaking of flexes, on-board 5G connectivity is pretty neat. It should allow for cloud connectivity in true BMW manner – surprisingly quick yet likely unreliable. On the bright side, an embedded 5G modem makes for robust futureproofing. As the first non-trial 5G networks only came online in 2019, the new 7-Series should effectively be connected for life.

2023 BMW 7-Series dashboard
Photo credit: BMW

As for the 7-Series’ infotainment system, it’s largely the same as you get on the iX electric SUV — two big curved screens under a single panel of glass, one for the gauges and one for media and climate. More important is the material selection on offer, because some upholstery options sound absolutely fabulous. The big news is the availability of cashmere wool seats — a surefire hit for frigid northern winters.

On the opposite end of the price scale is the standard Veganza faux-leather upholstery. It may sound like the name of a Daewoo, but it should be plenty durable if BMW’s old Sensatec leatherette is anything to go by. The top-spec audio system on offer is a 36-speaker Bowers & Wilkins system with 1,965 watts of power. What truly makes this audio system unique is the presence of backrest ‘exciters’ (giggity) for a “4D” experience. I have no idea what effect this has on sound quality, but I bet it gets the people going.

For minor toys, heated armrests make an appearance, as does an available Sky Lounge illuminated panoramic sunroof. Nothing new there, but they are lovely features to have.

Yo Dawg, I Heard You Like Movies

The available theater screen in the new BMW i7 xDrive60
Photo credit: BMW

If you think the front seat of the new BMW 7-Series is good, wait until you see the back seat. Amid the usual announcements of an enhanced reclining feature and updated ambient lighting, BMW’s grabbed the dial for connectivity and completely cranked the knob off. Say hello to the BMW Theater Screen, a 31-inch, 8K ultra-hi-def, Amazon Fire TV-enabled touchscreen that motors out from the headliner. Rear seat passengers can fold it down through door-mounted touchscreens (yes, really) and enjoy their favorite visual programs in 16:9, 21:9 or 32:9 aspect ratios. The really cool part? When you deploy the BMW Theater Screen, the rear sunshades close and a special audio clip composed by Hans Zimmer is played on the audio system. Theater, indeed.

But wait, back to those touchscreens on the door cards. They may look like Windows Phones and have the obnoxious marketing-speak name of BMW Touch Command, but they do seem quite useful. I know that packing three passengers across the rear seat of an executive sedan happens with the frequency of Pluto completing a solar orbit, but it’d be nice to remotely control the audio and climate settings should you find yourself in a fully-occupied 7-Series.

Shock Me Like An Electric Eel

2023 BMW 7-Series i7 xDrive60 rear three-quarter motion shot
Photo credit: BMW

If you’re thinking that such a theater system must require a silent car, BMW’s solved that by taking away the engine. You’ll still be able to get gasoline-powered models, but 2023 brings the first fully-electric 7-Series: the i7. In its xDrive60 launch trim, it’ll come with a 313 horsepower (230 kW) brushed electric motor at the back and a 258 horsepower (190 kW) electric motor at the front for a combined total of 544 peak horsepower. That’s pretty solid considering the electric motors don’t use any rare earth materials. The i7 xDrive60’s zero to 62 mph dash is quoted at a reasonably rapid 4.7 seconds, although BMW’s reputation for sandbagging likely means that the i7 xDrive60 will be a touch quicker than that. Does anyone know how big a Bavarian horse is? While a Lucid Air or Tesla Model S Plaid would rip the i7’s doors off, neither of those cars is carrying an entire movie theater with it.

Photo credit: BMW

As for the i7 xDrive60’s battery pack itself, it features 101.7 kWh of usable energy and is estimated to have 300 miles of range on the EPA cycle. Not terrible stuff for a flexible-platform car, but certainly not in the same league as dedicated ground-up long-range EVs. Also a bit behind the times is the i7’s 195 kW peak charging speed.

Photo credit: BMW

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 can charge at a blistering 350 kW and also has a lounge seat, although I suspect i7 customers won’t cross-shop with Hyundai. Speaking of charging, BMW’s giving i7 customers three years of free 30-minute charging sessions on the Electrify America network, which is the customer service equivalent of taking Queen Elizabeth II to Arby’s and not letting her order meat mountain.

Now We’re Cooking With Gas

The 2023 BMW 760i xDrive
Photo credit: BMW

Let’s be honest, if you really want some shove in a 7-Series, you’ll want to pop for the 760i xDrive. Instead of an electric motor at each axle, the 760i xDrive gets a fire-breathing 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 under the hood. Pushing 536 horsepower (399 kW) and 553 lb.-ft. (750 Nm) of torque through an eight-speed automatic gearbox to all four wheels, ticking the box for the V8 will fling this Bavarian barge from a dead stop to 62 mph in 4.2 seconds. Nice. If speed isn’t your thing, there’s also a 740i on offer with BMW’s brilliant B58 turbocharged three-liter inline-six. Hey, 375 horsepower (279 kW) and 383 lb.-ft. (519 Nm) of torque is nothing to sneeze at.

Both of these dino-burners are equipped with 48-volt mild hybrid systems that will likely have no noticeable effects other than remarkably smooth automatic stop-start system operation. A bit like sending thoughts and prayers to polar bears. There will also be a 750e xDrive plug-in hybrid, a sporty M760e xDrive plug-in hybrid and a rapid i7 M70 xDrive on offer some time in 2023, but BMW’s only giving Americans a choice of three propulsion choices for now.

I Can Ride My Bike With No Handlebars

2023 BMW 760i xDrive
Photo credit: BMW

As for safety tech, the new 7-Series will come with a typical suite of driving assist features. Automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring — that sort of stuff. However, it does go a bit beyond typical if you tick the right option boxes, and BMW’s teasing something huge for the future. Let’s start with the bane of every city-dwelling big car owner – parking. Starting next spring, owners of new 7-Series models who ticked the box for Parking Assistant Professional will be able to use ghostride the whip mode. Okay, it isn’t actually called that, but it lets owners park their Bavarian yacht through a smartphone app. Honestly, it seems like a great idea. It’s not like it’ll be used for pranks, right?

Moving on, American BMW 7-Series owners will be able to hit a button on the steering wheel that activates adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist to drive hands-free on controlled-access freeways. Yes, this includes making lane changes “in succession,” as BMW puts it. Hopefully the computers won’t weave through traffic like many owners do.

In terms of stuff to come, BMW’s planning to add Level 3 autonomy to the new 7-Series at some point in the vehicle’s lifespan. To really get steam coming out of Jason Torchinsky’s ears, BMW even teased being able to look at your phone while Level 3 autonomy is active. I’ll be honest, that seems like a really awful idea. Imagine getting brake-checked in an attack of the 50-foot kidney grilles because someone was too busy playing Wordle to notice a hand-off alert. Not fun, right?

Everyday I’m Hustlin’

A side shot of the 2023 BMW i7 xDrive60
Photo credit: BMW

To sum it all up, the 2023 BMW 7-Series looks like a masterpiece. It’s a striking maximalist executive limo with enough technology to blow the Mercedes S-Class into the middle of last week. The styling may not be for everyone, but as a fan of the Bangle-era 2002 7-Series, I absolutely adore the look of the new one. The interior of the new 7-Series is likely to be a huge success, melding insane gadgets with mesmerizing design in a way that’s sure to make its occupants feel like a zillion bucks. Who knows, maybe in 15 years they’ll have depreciated to the point where I could buy one. Forget the Benz, skip the Bentley, I’m taking the Bimmer.

Anyway, the i7 xDrive60 (god, what a mouthful) will start from $120,295, the base-spec 740i rings up at $94,295, and the mid-range 760i xDrive starts at $114,595. Expect pricing to rise rapidly as options pile on, although it still seems like a bit of a bargain compared to a Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Whether you think the new BMW 7-Series is awesome or disgusting, you have five-to-eight months to prepare your cameras and/or barf bags. Pre-orders for the i7 are open now, with the rest of the line launching in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Lead photo credit: BMW

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39 Responses

  1. 0. To the Author: I love the references, even if, being raised outside of the anglophone sphere, I don’t get them all. Feels like the Billions TV show. Every time I get one I smile. Particularly when it’s a reference to a song from Midnight Club: LA. Always a good thing to go down that memory path.
    1. The rear has given me some Škoda Superb II/Octavia vibes. It looks a bit out of proportion, in my humble opinion. That being said, the car is humongous – I think it’s a good bit longer than the long version of previous 7-series. The photos may be slightly misleading here.
    2. There are some interesting choices regarding the engines. In particular the decision to initially only offer the electric version in Europe. At least there will be a diesel later on.
    3. The range doesn’t seem great, even by European distances. For a car that’s more likely than not destined to be a highway cruiser this is bad. I don’t think we will be seeing many of those in the left lanes on Autobahn. Even at 140 km/h (which is the highest speed limit in the EU, outside of the autobahn) power consumption will be much higher. Truth is, you won’t be able to reach any European capital driving from Berlin without recharging. Maybe Copenhagen, using a ferry.
    4. I wonder how this ginormous display will behave in a car accident.

  2. A genuine contender for ugliest car ever in my opinion. Normally you can see what the designer was going for and/or find nice details in an ugly design. I see none in this, it’s catastrophically bad.

  3. I used to admire BMW’s commitment to evolutionary design. Chris Bangle’s designs were a bit of a jump, a little further than a step in the direction of modernity, but no crime was committed.

    These new BMWs are offensive. Not just in appearance, but in relation to the specific equity the brand used to possess.

    There’s nothing beautiful about them. They’re like gargoyles. Intentionally grotesque in attempt to evoke a reaction. Like Lexus’s “Predator Grille”. They’re both brands that I used to admire, but now despise.

    Toyota, however, has an easy out, if they ever want to take it. They could bring their Crown brand to the rest of the world with the conservative styling Lexus used to have, and then everyone would see which is truly preferred. And they could sell both side-by-side for a very long time before killing the Lexu– um, before killing the weaker brand.

  4. While the interior is impressive the exterior looks like those Chinese brands Rolls Royce. With front end of a Phantom and rear end of 1998 Toyota Camry. BMW designs are getting worse with every series for us western folks. It’s obvious that they are designing their cars for the Chinese market. When you squint your eyes it doesn’t look as bad.

  5. The 48-volt mild hybrid system is “…a bit like sending thoughts and prayers to polar bears.”

    That lol’d me. Don’t know where you found this Thomas guy, but he’s great. More reviews like this please.

  6. If they could fix the huge nostrils I would be mildly interested if I could come close to affording it.

    No twin turbo V12 option either for the ultimate shove in the back.

    Small noses forever.

    1. I think the world needs to consider the V12 more. A smaller displacement twin turbo unit would be great. It is also an ideal unit for cylinder deactivation. With one bank deactivated, you still have the perfect primary and secondary balance of a straight 6. It’s the perfect engine

  7. “…the Bangle Butt is back!”
    Hard disagree. It’s pretty much the exact opposite of the Bangle Butt. Bangle Butt was an attempt to break up the visual weight of a chunky trunk by splitting up volumes. This is just a big square-ish blob with taillights that are too thin for it. I’m no fan of the E65 rear end either, but these two are not related. Also on the trunk, it’s strange and rare to see absolutely no attempt to hide the parting line just below the badge.

  8. Not classy. Trying way too hard. Looks related to Toyota’s “busier is better” design philosophy. The original bangle butts also looked like the Toyotas of the time, specifically the Solara.

    It’s a win for us plebes though, as the really quite humorous ne plus ultra vulgarity and ugliness on display will make it easier to cope with the blatant wealth disparity on display when I see/pass them.

  9. This could be decent after a facelift – really all of the problem areas are in the bumpers, front and rear – but BMW’s split headline thing is a complete disaster and the rear bumper juts out in an inexplicably stupid way – and in the rear 3/4 looks like someone dented it.

  10. Can somebody help me better understand the auto industry’s fascination with split headlights? (No, seriously.)

    Are there regulations in some markets that require low/high beam headlights to be mounted at knee height or lower? I cannot imagine there is any way a designer would make stylistic choices like this unless they absolutely had to…

    We’ve spent decades watching automakers/designers come up with beautiful and unique designs for headlight housings, including the folks at BMW. Now we have the Chevrolet Blazer, Trailblazer, Jeep Cherokee, almost the entire Hyundai lineup… We’re dumping fun and exciting designs in favor of straight line, single streak DRLs on the top of our bumpers and high/low beams being placed down low in a non-sylized box.

    It doesn’t make any sense to me. If it isn’t regulatory, and it clearly isn’t about styling, then there must be some sort of other functional advantage. Only problem is, I can’t imagine that this mounting configuration somehow throws light any further down the road than if they were mounted more traditionally? Might there be any other advantages?

    Can anybody, ahem, shed some light on the situation for me?

    1. Agreed, they look horrible to me as well.

      The only thing I can come up with is because they look like “the future” since they are different than the way headlights have been done since the beginning of automotive time.

  11. It’s the same thing here as so many other auto sites- reviewers seem so effusive about the styling, and then a sizable portion of the comments are 180 degrees the other way. I have to be one of those in the comments… I guess I can see being swept up in the luxury of it all, but come on, this car is objectively awful looking. It’s Aztek ugly.

    It’s fucking hideous.

  12. I’m surprised to say that I like it and I think the design will grow on me. Sure, the grill is expansive and the eyebrows still raise one’s own but the overall front-end design, especially around the actual headlights, looks oomphy and unapologetically corpulent and full of presence. I like it. I definitely see 80s BMW design queues there, even if I can’t quite put my finger on it. Intriguing. And this appeal kind of nudges me to accept the massive kidneys and eyebrows, something I never thought I’d hear myself say (or write).

    I wish they’d been a bit more imaginative with the rear. The triple deck thing doesn’t work for me, and the taillights look boring compared to the front. It’s a tidy rear end, for sure, but it looks too tall for such a big car.

    Not a fan of the fancy crystal BS. Crystal makes me think of delicateness and cracking and millions of sharp pieces. Can’t shake those associations when I see the pictures. Just contaminates my whole brain.

  13. I’m getting a very BMW Cherokee feel from this. It has the same “elephant sat on the front” vibe where the lights look squished and the grille is creased. I actually kind of like the grille crease in this case because it reduces the visual weight of the obnoxious kidneys, but overall this look didn’t work on the Cherokee and it doesn’t work here.

    1. Agreed, I hate the new big BMW grills. They remind me, and especially in that champagne color, of an angry naked mole rat. There is also something about the rear end I don’t like, but I cannot put my finger on it.

      The interior though is pretty posh, and the kind of things I would want and expect if I was dropping 6 figures on a car.

  14. I think it’s dope. The grille is too big but at least neatly integrated. Everything else is nuts and I love it. So much better than Benz’s bar of soap electric flagship.

    Can’t wait to buy one off FB marketplace in 20 years.

  15. This may actually be the best execution of BMWs current design language. It’s genuinely quite handsome. In saying that though, it’s too late, BMWs design has been on a downward trajectory since the E60 M5 and this tiny blip of nice design work barely makes up for that. I still kind of hate it at the same time. It suffers Juke syndrome, a style trend that is running rampant and that I absolutely cannot stand. Conventional headlight placement and arrangement is endlessly more attractive.

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