The all-electric 7 Series takes a trip to the Arctic Circle for more fine tuning
BMW is proudly calling the i7 the “world’s first pure-electric luxury saloon” but doesn’t that title belong to the Mercedes-Benz EQS? Confusion aside, the i7 will be BMW’s first all-electric full-sized production saloon and it will be mostly similar to the new 7 Series models that have combustion engines under the bonnet.
At the BMW Group winter test centre in Arjeplog, Sweden, the i7 is being stress-tested under extreme winter weather conditions. This includes temperatures that reach into the minus twenties, thick layers of snow and ice on the ground, reduced visibility during snowfall and chilling winds. These hostile conditions provide the perfect testing ground for BMW to fine-tune the i7’s driving dynamics.
The test programme is described as ‘extensive’ with the aim to bring the BMW driving experience to ‘a new high’. The Dynamic Stability Control is being fine-tuned using the frozen lakes, among other test environments, to ensure that traction is maintained even in the iciest of road conditions. The last thing you want is a car that could be weighing around two and a half tonnes spinning out and losing control.
With an electric car, there is an extra layer of complexity when it comes to stability. Regenerative braking occurs automatically when the driver releases their foot off the accelerator and although this is great for range and even driver convenience, it can become a bit of a problem if it’s not safe to brake. For instance, when driving over ice, strong regenerative braking may send the car into a skid and this is another thing that BMW is considering with the i7.
Springs, dampers and various regulating systems will be tuned and tested to maximise driver feedback, making sure they feel in control and also that the car handles extra responsively in certain driving modes. This may be a luxurious land yacht but it is still a BMW at the end of the day so it must fulfil the promise of their famous slogan ‘sheer driving pleasure.’
Using the CLAR platform and fifth-gen eDrive technology, the i7 will have all-wheel drive thanks to two electric motors and BMW have confirmed that it’s the same flagship setup as used in the new iX which means it should produce somewhere around 516hp.
As for range, we’re expecting at least 350 miles of range as the iX model with the 105kWh battery is capable of 380 miles on a full charge. As we know, batteries perform suboptimally in cold conditions, with the range being greatly reduced and strategies to heat and keep the cells warm are often used. All of this is likely being tested in the sub-zero temperatures as we speak (or write)!
The launch of the BMW i7 is due sometime next year so it’s right around the corner. Let us know if you’re interested in the i7, in the comments below.
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