With last week’s announcement of the XM Label Red and this week’s announcement of the i7 M70 xDrive, BMW has been pushing the power envelope in both their hybrid and fully electric powertrains. While the 4.4-liter twin-turbo mild hybrid S68 V-8 in the XM Label Red makes a matching 738 horsepower and pound-feet of torque, the new all-electric i7 M70 powertrain puts down 650 horsepower and up to an astonishing 811 pound feet. Remember the saying,  “Horsepower is how fast you hit the wall. Torque is how far you move it?” Well, the i70 M70 can move the wall, and the one behind it.

BMW explains, “an M-specific configuration of the drive system technology enables the new BMW i7 M70 xDrive’s rear-axle motor to achieve new levels of power density. The drive unit has a six-phase design with a dual inverter. This forms the basis for a substantial increase in output that remains consistent as speed builds.” This increases power density by 25.5% over BMW’s current most powerful electric motor, which lives in the i7 xDrive60. BMW continues, “This new benchmark figure can be attributed to using six excitation windings in the motor’s stator instead of the customary three. The resulting “double excitation” compared with conventional units allows the electric motor to generate an extremely high output, despite its exceptionally light and compact design, and to maintain it continuously at higher vehicle speeds.”

Now, the 811 pound-feet aren’t always available—those are reserved for when M Launch Control or the M Sport Boost function is activated. Without those, there’s still a stump-pulling 748 pound-feet on tap. With electric motors at the front and rear producing 255 and 483 horsepower respectively, it’s not quite simple math to arrive at the 650 horsepower combined output, but it is simple to see how that much power and torque could rocket this large sedan to 60 mph in only 3.5 seconds. Woosh! If Benjamin Franklin traveled through time in some kind of ridiculous Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure scenario (and then became an automotive enthusiast), he would be dazzled.

Driving responsibly, the i7 M70 is expected to have a 295-mile range—not too shabby for a vehicle just under 6,000 pounds. BMW credits the range to “not just to the efficiency of the highly integrated drive units, but also a wealth of measures for reducing power consumption. These include adaptive recuperation of braking energy and the heat pump technology used in the integrated heating and cooling system for the cabin and powertrain.” There’s also a “max range” mode, which limits extraneous functionality so that the range can be maximized in critical situations. “The vehicle’s top speed is limited to 56 mph, the climate control system is deactivated as are seat heating, seat ventilation, and steering wheel heating,” BMW says.

A flagship model like the i7 M70 isn’t all about power. The M division has tuned the chassis, suspension, all-wheel-drive system, steering, braking—pretty much everything that makes the car stop, go, and turn. The exterior inherits new features seen on other models, like contour lighting on the kidney grille. M-specific bodywork is also present on the front and rear bumpers, side skirts, mirrors, and shadowline trim. The “M Performance Professional” package adds a rear spoiler and additional black accents. For those who can’t decide on exterior color, there are eight two-tone paint options available.

BMW’s curved display finds its way inside, backed with BMW Operating System 8.5. Per BMW, the new “QuickSelect” feature “brings an improved menu structure that takes its cues from consumer electronics devices. By showing the right information in the right place, the new BMW iDrive helps to deliver a focused, assured driving experience.”

The i7 M70 xDrive will launch in the second half of this year, with pricing to be announced closer to the start of production. —Mike Bevels

[Photos courtesy of BMW.]



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