The New York Auto Show is happening now, and if you’re a fan of German cars, you might want to skip it this year. BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Porsche…none attended. I’ll get to the show next week, but today, let’s talk about my favorite marquee. I was invited to see a private showing of the refreshed BMW X7, new 2023 BMW 7 Series and crazy XM. I’ll also share some thoughts on the i4 M50. Prepare to be wowed! And disappointed.
The BMW i4 M50
We start here, with this Brooklyn Grey i4. It looks and works just like a 4 Series Gran Coupe. This is a good thing; the transition to all electric power on this chassis is seamless.
Sit inside, and the first thing you notice is the single large screen that makes up both the dash and iDrive. BMW has been headed this way, and it’s spreading throughout the lineup (yes, M3 LCI included). Do you like buttons? They go away. Climate control, radio, navigation – it’s all through iDrive now. At least the iDrive dial remains.
I’ll be honest, it’s weird. As I rode around Manhattan in the i4, it felt like my M3 inside, which it mostly is, but there’s no sound. However, stomp on the gas, and a wave of torque propels you forward. It’s no surprise then, that the i4 M50 would leave the M3 for dead off the line (it catches up later).
A 200 mile range on the dash didn’t drop much as we drove up and down Manhattan, but remember to plug in the car at night, or you won’t be going anywhere the next day. I’ll have a full review of the i4 in the coming weeks, but first impressions are good.
The 2023 BMW X7 LCI
Sorry, but from here, BMW took the camera away. Images of the X7 have already been shown, so I’ll go into a few details you might not know:
- New 23-inch wheels (the largest ever on a BMW)
- Extended Shadowline trim now becomes the M Professional Package. This is probably an excuse to just charge more for black trim.
- The facelift you may have seen online. It looks as though BMW has been copying Hyundai’s homework. I’ll get to the face on the 7 Series.
- A “waterfall” effect on the front grill. It’s backlit with white LED light, a nice effect.
- New rear taillight designs, along with a thinner chrome strip connecting them. I loved the new taillights. They feature lots of little detailing that ties the design together more.
- The M50 is replaced by the M60, with standard Integral Steering assist and Active Roll Stabilization. Marina Bay Blue, an M color, now comes on the M60.
- The mild hybrid from the X3, 3 Series and others now comes on the X7.
- Inside, it’s got the new single dash screen. The shifter goes away, replaced by a toggle switch to put the car in drive.
- A beautiful M logo in illuminated on the passenger dashboard. This might be my favorite part of the car, and I hope other BMWs receive it as well. Really well done.
The 2023 BMW 7 Series and i7
This car hasn’t been revealed to the public yet, and I’ve got some good news and bad news. Let’s be happy first.
The car is beautiful inside. Remember the point I make about all BMWs looking the same inside? Not the 7 anymore. It’s Mercedes-level quality (finally!) You get the same single screen dash, and the shifter goes away, along with everything else. It’s extensive. If you’re a BMW owner, you know how to close the air vents by turning the dial next to each vent. In the new 7 Series, that’s done digitally.
The seats are like sitting in the world’s most comfortable couch, and there’s an all-new steering wheel that’s nicer to look at and hold compared to current models. Beautiful details abound. Crystal on the dashboard. Matte aluminum trim on the headrests and door spaces. A huge moonroof with integrated LED lights. In the back, each door has a screen on the handle that controls various back seat functions. My daughter would love this. I might not.
Let’s accept that BMW is going through things, ok? They are changing. Sometimes for the better, sometimes not. The new 7 gets the X7’s nose, but here, a thin LED strip curves around the entire (huge) grille. Those split headlights are not beautiful, and the top light strip is actually made from Swarovski crystal. What’s that cost to replace? The problem here is that the X7 parked next to it had simpler LED top lights, and those looked better.
In the rear, the 7 gets taillights from…an X4? That’s the best way to describe them. The trunk gets the biggest BMW badge you’ve ever seen. Every BMW has had the same badge for all of time, so this is a big change in my eyes.
Opt for the i7 version, and you get chrome. Lots of chrome. Polished wheels, large amounts of chrome trim around the windows…think Cadillac. Maybe it’s what luxury buyers want. If not, BMW will happily sell you the M760 (good-bye V-12), with tons of black trim. Again, this obsession with black trim is silly. Body color looks better and doesn’t scratch nearly as easily.
The 7 is a big car to wear it too. The BMW rep guessed over 5,000 lbs for the M-lite version.
The 7 Series has always been BMW’s lead car with tech and style, and that trickles down the lineup as it gets refreshed. I hope some of these new styling features get left behind. But not that interior.
The 7 Series is coming by the end of the year.
The 2023 BMW XM
It’s important to remember that I always keep an open mind when seeing cars for the first time. The XM is what the name says – a BMW X SUV combined with M. It is a real M car they say, and with almost 800 horsepower on tap, I’m sure it’ll be Lambo Uras-fast. It’s actually BMW M’s first car since the M1 that does not have a regular Series counterpart.
While the iX is all electric, the XM has a twin turbo V-8 that’s backed up by a battery. This isn’t for efficiency, it’s for power, and the message is all a bit confusing. The iX (don’t forget the M60 version of that too), XM, X5, X5 40e, and X5 M will all be sold next to each other for a bit. But where does the iX and XM fit in the normal series lineup? They are all about the same size. I digress.
The XM is lower and wider than and X5, and does not share the new 7 Series and X7 bi-level headlights, instead opting for a pair of thin strips. Matte gold trim will be an option, and it goes around both the windows and grille. BMW says it “evokes the M1 super car in the taillights and rear-window surround”. Perhaps only BMW’s most staunchest fans will recognize it. That grille is large too, but not as big as it is on the 7.
Inside, it’s a mix between the current G cars and the new 7, but this was still a pre-production example, so I expect things (like the steering wheel) to change.
When will the BMW XM arrive?
The auto industry’s obsession with SUVs and electric cars have turned this car into a reality, but it’s no replacement for never-ending speculation about a BMW supercar to finally replace the M1. The BMW XM will no doubt be fast and popular, but will it be special in its own right? We’ll see. Orders open in December, with delivery starting in Q1 of 2023.
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