The seventh generation of BMW’s 7-series flagship sedan arrives for the 2023 model year sporting a polarizing design and a new all-electric variant called the i7. With two electric motors good for 536 horsepower and about 300 miles of range, the i7 ushers in the future of full-size BMW luxury cruisers. But BMW also made sure to keep traditionalists happy by offering a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six or twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 wrapped in a nearly identical design. The new 7-series and i7 also herald the arrival of high-tech options like the 31-inch, 8K “Theater Screen” for the rear seats and a hands-free highway driver-assistance system. With the online configurator for both models now live, our editors entered the world of imaginary money and specced their ideal BMW 7-series or i7 models.
Jack Fitzgerald’s $126,000 760i xDrive
Since I am neither an oligarch nor the type of top-level executive with the powers of an oligarch, I don’t see myself as someone who needs to be chauffeured in the back of their BMW. Instead, I want my incredibly large and terribly styled BMW sedan to have a semblance of athleticism. As a sucker for a black car, I want the Black Sapphire Metallic paint paired with the 20-inch M Aerodynamic bi-color wheels with the summer tire option. If I can spend $126,000 on a sedan, I can afford to skip the all-seasons and buy myself a set of winter tires down the road. The Mocha Extended Merino Leather offers a gorgeous red and brown color, which I paired with the Fineline Open Pore Wood trim. Sadly, this option required adding piano black accents, but with the classy brown wood, the concession seemed worth it. Moving to options, the Autobahn Package, Driving Assist Professional Package, Parking Assist Package, and M Sport Brakes with blue calipers add $7600 to my sticker price but also give some extra performance and piece of mind while navigating such a wide car. For luxuries, the only option I chose was the $4800 Bowers and Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound system. I skipped all the rear-seat options because this car is meant for me; friends and family will have to endure the standard luxury equipment offered in my $126,000 760i.
Caleb Miller’s $128,150 760i xDrive
I find the face of the new 7-series repulsive, so to get myself excited enough to spec one, I followed my heart and chose the V-8–powered 760i xDrive. This meant a starting price of $113,600 and the blacked-out fascia that comes with the M Sport trim. In an effort to hide the buck-toothed grille, I added the $950 M Sport Professional Package, which turns the grille black and adds blue M Sport brake calipers and a rear lip spoiler. I had my 7-series painted Tanzanite Blue II Metallic—a deep enough hue that it helps disguise the incongruous front end design, but a more interesting option than black. To continue the darkened theme, my 760i rides on black 21-inch M Aerodynamic wheels. Inside, my seats are wrapped in chocolatey Tartufo Merino leather, while I chose the Fineline Open Pore Wood trim for the dashboard for a classic look. I also added the $3600 Autobahn Package—it includes Active Roll Stabilization to keep the car flat through corners and Active Comfort Drive with Road Preview, which allows the suspension to prepare for approaching bumps. I also threw in the Anthracite Alcantara headliner ($1050) and the Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound system ($4800). All told, my luxo-barge came in at $128,150.
Eric Stafford’s $151,895 i7
Without question, the BMW 7-series and i7 have faces only a mother could love. It’s not that I don’t like unusual designs—I usually do—it’s just that their squinty lights and XXL grille strike me as distracting versus distinctive. Since the gas and electric models share an ugly mug, I’d spring for the i7 because it’s more exciting to me than the rear-drive, 375-hp 740i ($94,295) or the all-wheel-drive, 536-hp 760i ($114,595). The i7 starts at $120,295, so it’s clearly the priciest of the bunch. Its dual-motor, all-wheel-drive powertrain is also equally as potent as the 760i, even if BMW estimates it won’t be as quick. Based on the supremely quiet iX, I’d wager the i7 will be similarly silent, which to me is more important in a limo-like sedan than a V-8’s roar. For that same reason, I’d pass on the no-cost M Sport appearance package and its added black body trim. I think the i7 looks most elegant in Space Silver metallic that appears to have greenish tint. I’d pair that paint with the $1300 21-inch Individual Aerodynamic wheels, which adds gravitas and aren’t as gaudy as darker-colored alternatives.
I’m disappointed the i7’s interior isn’t as visually daring as the iX’s, with its available blue materials and rose-gold trim. Still, I can’t resist the Smoke White upholstery with Light Gray Cashmere Inlays. This requires $29k worth of options. Luckily, they’re all extras I’d want anyways. We’re talking everything from crystal-look headlights to an extravagant Bowers & Wilkins sound system with diamond-like trim to rear seats with massage functions and deployable footrests that face an enormous 31-inch panoramic screen with up to 8K resolution. To keep the cabin as cool as possible, I’d get the $1300 laminated glass. And to distinguish my i7 from the ICE 7, I’d add the exclusive no-cost blue exterior accents. Yes, my i7 will be an eyesore in your rearview mirror, but that won’t bother me while I luxuriate inside my $151,895 electric limousine.
Ezra Dyer’s $163,500 i7
BMW’s build configurator is an adventure. You might think that choosing options on a new car is a linear process—let’s pick a color, then let’s pick some wheels—but BMW’s online build process is a rambling morass of chaos, decisions made only to be later undone, a high-stakes game of Chutes and Ladders with surprises at every turn. So let me explain how I ended up with a $163,500 i7 with Swarovski crystal headlights and a $12,000 paint job.
BMW plays nice at first. Want the M Sport package, with its Shadowline trim, M steering wheel and M Aerodynamic 20-inch bi-color wheels? That’ll cost $0. Easy call. But you’ll want to add the M Sport Professional Package, which brings M Sport brakes, a rear spoiler and even more Shadowline trim. That’s $950.
Then you pick paint. The colors are all kind of boring, so I spring for Frozen Deep Gray for $5000. That’ll look good with the 21-inch M Aerodynamic wheels ($1300). Next you’re presented with leather choices, and I like the look of the Tartufo Full Merino Leather ($5450), which requires adding the Driving Assistance Professional Package ($2100). OK!
Now it’s time to choose interior trim, and here’s where things get complicated. I want the silver ash root open pore wood trim with color gradient (who wouldn’t?), which means I need to give up my Tartufo leather and go with smoke white full merino leather with light gray cashmere inlays ($1000). That leather and trim combo brings a few other mandatory options—the rear executive luxury seating package, Bowers and Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound system, executive package and rear luxury package. All of that adds another $19,000, sure, but it includes some must-haves. The executive package alone gets you the crystal headlights and power doors, and I can’t imagine buying an i7 without those.
Almost done. Remember that Frozen Gray paint? Never mind, because now we get more paint choices, so I’m going for the two-tone sapphire black metallic. Why is this not presented earlier on, with the rest of the paint choices? Because BMW likes to surprise (and sometimes delight) you. This sweet color scheme costs $12,000. Or, the way I look at it, $7000, since I already planned to spend $5000 on the dumb Frozen Gray that I don’t even like anymore. Here’s where you also might add climate comfort laminated glass for $1300. I did, for a grand total of $163,500.
The only thing I forgot to do is choose the most powerful option for motors, something along the lines of 700 or 800 horsepower. Did I miss that page?