Unveiled at Auto Shanghai 2023, the i7 M70 is the second member of the global electric 7 Series lineup. However, BMW is selling a third version in China where the eDrive50L does away with xDrive by losing the front-mounted electric motor. The rear-wheel-drive version serves as the entry-level model, slotting below the xDrive60L. Despite the “L” in their names, these have the same wheelbase as all G70 models.
So, how much power and performance are you sacrificing? Well, the i7 eDrive50L has to make do with 450 hp (335 kW) and 650 Nm (478 lb-ft). Compared to the xDrive60, it’s down on power by 86 hp (65 kW) and 95 Nm (70 lb-ft). The lesser electric 7er does 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 5.5 seconds, thus making it 0.8 seconds slower than the dual-motor, all-wheel-drive version. Top speed also takes a hit, decreasing from 146 mph (235 km/h) to 127 mph (205 km/h).
The price difference between the two is substantial taking into account the i7 eDrive50L starts at ￥949,000 ($138,000) whereas the i7 xDrive60 begins from ￥1,459,000 ($212,000). The new i7 M70 will be offered locally, with pricing details to be announced closer to launch. As a reminder, the M Performance model has 650 hp and 1,100 Nm (811 lb-ft) to lower the sprint time to 3.7 seconds and increase the top speed to 155 mph (250 km/h).
Another EV exclusive to the Chinese market is the i3, but not the quirky hatchback we all know. Instead, it’s a fully electric 3 Series based on the locally made long-wheelbase sedan. It’s offered only with rear-wheel drive (eDrive35L and eDrive40L). BMW also produces the iX3 in China, but the crossover is exported to many countries around the world.
Beyond EVs, BMW makes long-wheelbase versions of the X1 and X5 SUVs in the People’s Republic, along with a stretched 5 Series. In the near future, it’ll commence production of the next-generation electric MINI Cooper three-door hatchback, with an EV-only Aceman subcompact crossover due in 2024.