BMW has confirmed that the next-generation of its 7 Series luxury saloon will feature four drivetrains: petrol, diesel, plug-in hybrid and, for the first time, a fully electric version.
Revealed in the brand’s annual press conference by chairman of the board of management Oliver Zipse, it means Mercedes will have another core battery-powered rival for its EQS alongside the new Jaguar XJ.
“All [7 Series] drivetrains will be based on a single architecture” Zipse said in a statement posted on the brand’s website. “And the top, most powerful 7 Series will be fully electric!”.
This means it is likely BMW will ditch the twin-turbo 6.6-litre V12 found in today’s flagship 7 Series: the M760li. That car puts out 601bhp and 590lb ft of torque, resulting in a 0-62mph time of 3.7sec. Given that model’s kerbweight is already nearly 2.2 tonnes, expect a high-powered electric 7 to be at least 2.5 tonnes once a large lithium ion battery pack is packaged into it.
With the current generation car due to go out of production in 2022, we can expect to see a new 7 Series in the same year, although it’s not clear which powertrains will go on sale first.
BMW’s strategy, Zipse says, means that “different drive technologies will coexist alongside one another into the long-term”. Alongside the 7 Series, this year we will see the BMW X3 available with four drivetrain veriants including the new, all-electric iX3 (set to be produced in China this year and exported) alongside the i4 and 4 Series Gran Coupe.
BMW aims to have a quarter of its new vehicle fleet electrified by 2021, a third by 2025, and 50% by 2030. In January and February this year one in ten of its vehicles sold were electrified in some way, while the brand leads the electrified car market in Germany with a share of 21%.
On the Coronavirus pandemic, Zipse confirmed BMW is closing down its European and South African plants by the end of the week, while the first of its dealerships are also closing. That production interruption is scheduled to run until April 19.