The “M70” will go down in history as the name used by BMW for its first V12 engine, but decades later, the alphanumeric designation has been repurposed to show the sporty side of the electric 7 Series. Celebrating its global debut this week at the Auto Shanghai 2023, the i7 M70 with its two-tone paint job has the Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 in its crosshair.
It comes as no surprise BMW decided to introduce the i7 M Performance version in China since the country represents the automaker’s largest single market. Although the i7 M70 is unquestionably the star at BMW’s stand in Shanghai, the new X1 and iX1 are also there, flaunting a longer wheelbase to better cater to local demands.
We spent some quality time with the 650-horsepower silent luxobarge and its new Liquid Copper and Black Sapphire color combo. Since the M850i was facelifted last year, BMW has been putting M badges on the grilles of M Performance models, and this i7 M70 is no exception. A massive vehicle deserves a large illuminated kidney grille, and it now has a glossy black surround for the first time on the i7. The showcar from Shanghai has 21-inch wheels with a two-tone look and metallic inserts, with black M Sport brake calipers lurking from behind.
You’re not going to see that front charging port on the international version since only the Chinese model has it, much like the i3, i4, and iX3 sold in the People’s Republic. Also not found on the global variant will be the “L” because BMW will put the extra letter only in China. Even though the new 7 Series G70 comes in only one size, the “L” is staying, which kind of makes sense considering the seventh-generation model is even longer than the old G12.
Stepping inside, the cashmere wool upholstery and the 31.3-inch Theather Screen aren’t the features that make the cabin special. Instead, the i7 M70 is BMW’s first production model to utilize the iDrive 8.5 with a reconfigured home screen and a restructured menu. It’s coming soon to the next-generation 5 Series, but the i7 gets its first. In addition, the fullsize EV also ushers in a Max Range Drive mode to boost efficiency by as much as 25 percent.
BMW will have the i7 M70 on sale in the second half of 2023. Pricing has yet to be announced, but you’ll certainly be paying a lot more than the $119,300 the German luxury brand is charging for the i7 xDrive60 before options in the United States.