Debuting today on the i7 M70 and trickling down to the i7 xDrive60 is a Max Range driving mode to maximize efficiency. BMW says it has developed the system for unexpected situations in which owners can’t juice up the car’s battery as originally intended, such as when the charging station is out of order. Activate the mode and the German luxury brand says the range can increase anywhere from 15 to 25 percent.
However, it won’t magically happen as you’ll have to make quite a few sacrifices to extract more miles from the 101.7-kWh battery pack. For example, you won’t be able to go faster than 56 mph (90 km/h) and you won’t have access to the full power delivered by the two electric motors. Activating Max Range mode also turns off the climate control system while the rear window heating is automatically turned to the lowest setting. Seat heating and ventilation are also deactivated, and concomitantly, steering wheel heating is turned off as well.
BMW mentions you can turn on Max Range from the iDrive 8.5’s touchscreen, by using the rotary knob, or voice commands. When it’s on, the digital instrument cluster is updated to show the speed and power gauges accordingly. The additional range obtained is included in the remaining range projection made by the trip computer. The function is turned off during hard in-gear acceleration or when you activate the M Sport Boost function. It also switches off when windscreen ventilation is dialed to the maximum.
The Munich-based marque doesn’t specify whether the already built i7 xDrive60 vehicles will get the functionality through an over-the-air update or if it’s going to be offered only on freshly built cars. Since these changes to the settings are not complicated, it seems likely an OTA update will bring Max Range to existing cars.
It would make sense for other EVs from BMW’s lineup to get this feature, which could come in handy when running low on battery juice. Of course, you don’t actually need it in an extreme situation since a driver can just turn all those functions off manually and go easy on the throttle to maximize range.