So far, there have only been two powertrain options for the BMW i7: expensive and very expensive. At launch, there was only on i7, the i7 xDrive60. It’s the power and price equivalent of the gas-powered BMW 760i, which is the big boy 7er. Then, BMW just recently launched the i7 M70, which is the highest-spec M Performance model. Now, BMW is offering an entry-level model, the BMW i7 eDrive50L.

The BMW i7 eDrive50L debuted at the 2023 Shanghai auto show and it’s going to be a Chinese market-only car for now. It could make its way to Germany, and potentially other European countries, but for now it’s China-only. Which makes sense because the Chinese market prioritizes back seat space.

449 horsepower

Two things separate the i7 eDrive50L from the rest of the i7 lineup. For starters, it’s rear-wheel drive, rather than all-wheel drive. The “eDrive” name signifies a single-motor, rear-wheel drive layout, versus the “xDrive” name, which means dual-motor and all-wheel drive. Still, its single rear motor packs quite the punch, making a claimed 449 horsepower and 479 lb-ft. Interestingly, driving only one axle seems to have hurt its CLTC (Chinese driving cycle) range, dropping to 640 km (397 miles), versus the all-wheel drive model’s 650 km (404 miles), though not by much.

The other big difference is its longer wheelbase. The “L” in its name indicates that it’s a long wheelbase model, which increases back seat space and makes it a better limo. The Chinese market highly values backseat space, which is why there are specific Chinese market long wheelbase models of cars that are normally quite small, such as the 3 Series.

Ditching the additional front motor helped to drop the price of the i7 eDrive50L significantly. With a price tag of 949,000 yuan, the entry-level i7 is quite a bit cheaper than the i7 xDrive60, which costs 1,459,000 yuan.

As of right now, there’s no cheaper version of the BMW i7 in any other market. It’s unclear if that’s ever going to change and, if it does, it might only happen in Europe. Here in North America, we haven’t even gotten the entry-level BMW iX yet, the iX eDrive40. It doesn’t seem as if the U.S. is big on cheaper, less powerful, more efficient versions. Though, it wouldn’t surprise us to see a normal wheelbase BMW i7 eDrive50 make it to Germany, as Germans don’t like the big, expensive versions. Until then, though, only the Chinese market will get this new entry-level car.