2023 BMW i7 will have a huge, unnecessary grille


With the official arrival of the electrified BMW 7 Series next month, the automaker has chosen to roll out some teaser photos to stir up our collective indifference to the oversized grille. Even though the i7 is an all-electric car, BMW has kept the oversized grille pattern we’ve seen on the 4-Series and similar electric iX SUVs.

From an engineering perspective, this probably doesn’t make much sense. But Bavaria believes the grille is such an important part of the brand’s image that it’s so important that it put a fake variant on the iX. While the i7 teaser appears to be lacking in geometrically drawn patterns, this is expected to be another example of form over function. We just wish BMW would let owners open the hood without resorting to special tools it doesn’t want you to have.

The big grille theme is already somewhat controversial for the brand. I’ll admit to hating the design today more than when the BMW Concept 4 had its massive nostrils bulging at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show. But we’ll have to wait and see how the i7’s beak plays out with the rest of the car. Design. While the bold styling looks assured, it’s very much in line with recent EVs. Automakers want to differentiate their electric models without being completely disconnected from the rest of the lineup, striking an interesting balance between weirdness and beauty.

Judging by the images of the 7-Series test mule, BMW doesn’t seem to want to stray too far from the traditional model. They’ll debut together in April, so let’s do a side-by-side comparison before they both go on sale later this year.

Meanwhile, the handful of specs BMW offers look promising. BMW recommends a range of 305 miles for the i7 on a specific U.S. EPA cycle. While it might not be as impressive as the 350 miles offered by the Mercedes-Benz EQS, it’s enough to showcase every fully electric model in Audi’s current lineup.

The company also touted a drive-in theater system that could debut on the i7. A 31-inch screen designed for rear passengers descends from the roof, creating a divide between the driver and those paying wages. Offering resolutions up to 8K, the device is much wider than regular TVs and can play any content that uses 16:9, 21:9 or even 32:9 aspect ratios. BMW says it uses a Bowers & Wilkins surround sound system with 5G connectivity and built-in Amazon Fire TV, making it the highest-resolution Fire TV in existence. Back-seat passengers can even adjust their settings to dim ambient lighting and adjust the blinds to create a more authentic theater experience.

This will cost a fortune. However, given that the i7 will be more expensive than the standard 7 Series, probably over $100,000 in most configurations, it should be easily affordable for interested customers.

[Images: BMW]

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