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Magnificent 7: BMW’s electric limo is a byword for luxury, but it’s let down by its ‘fantasy’ range


The BMW i7 was supremely comfortable. Photo: Paddy McGrath

The BMW i7 was supremely comfortable. Photo: Paddy McGrath

The BMW i7 was supremely comfortable. Photo: Paddy McGrath

Believe it or not, BMW have a luxury division – a secret task force who will stop at nothing to make their customers feel that extra bit special.

These highly trained connoisseurs know what luxury looks like, what luxury feels like and what luxury smells like.

I suspect their skills in opulence have been honed and finely tuned by the sultans of sumptuousness and brand stable mate – Rolls Royce.

One could argue that the controversial nose (you’ll either love or loath it) of the new i7 came straight out of the Phantom design book.

That chiselled, rugged snout dominated by twin headlights and giant kidney grille is certainly a conversation-starter.

The rear, though, is unmistakable BMW and not out of step with the previous model, bar new 3-D light clusters that bleed into the haunches.

The same cannot be said for the inside which can only be described as lavish.

The cabin screams five-starwith a heady mix of quilted ivory leather and cashmere lounge-like seats, polished aluminium encasing the fine wood oak mirror inserts in the upper dash and doors to the crystal lightbar that runs the entire length of the dash. At night it bathes the cabin in a multitude of calming colours which is mirrored by thin LED thread strips in the panoramic glass roof.

The cockpit is treated to the new curved digital display which made its debut in the iX, but now features in almost all new models and face lifts.

This might prove a bug bear for existing owners of the 7-Series who may be envious of the mega Hyperscreen which features in the new S-Class and all-electric EQS.

In the rear, where most super executive owners will spend their time, it’s even more palatial with extendible chaise lounge-like pews and the optional 32 inch 8k resolution theatre screen which folds down from the roof. Controlled from phone-sized digital touchscreens in the doors one can catch up on emails, Zoom calls, or just enjoy listening to music or watch a movie while on the move.

Irish customers can choose either the all-electric or plug-in hybrid petrol models and exclusively in long-wheelbase form in either M-Sport or Excellence specification.

We tested the new electricxDrive 60 M-Sport – an all-wheel drive limo sporting two powerful electric motors which generate the equivalent of 544bhp.

It’s hooked up to a 101kWh battery that’s twinned to a single speed auto gearbox which combined, will see this hulking saloon sprint from 0-100kph in just 6.1 seconds.

It has a claimed range of between 580-620kms which is, quite frankly, fantasy figures.

Over the week and covering almost 1,000kms, we struggled to hit 400kms on average.

Granted, my commute covers a lot of motorway miles, tipping away at 120kph on cruise control with the usual luxuries on.

That said, the i7 was supremely comfortable and wafted along in total silence devouring long stretches effortlessly.

On more challenging roads this luxobarge is outrageously good to drive – with peel your face off acceleration (thanks to boost lever), pin point steering and exquisite handling.

The air suspension adds a dollop of refinement only found in the more bespoke vehicles and even sitting on gargantuan 21-inch rims, it glides with unrivalled grace.

Apart from the real world range, the only other downside is the price which for the i7 starts at an eye-watering €135,845.

A Jogger camper van? Let’s sleep on it

If you thought the Dacia Jogger ticked all the boxes as a versatile seven-seat MPV, think again as it now has the capability of turning into a camper van.

Their clever Sleep Pack – which was still in pre production mode when we saw it in Paris last year – now comes as an option, as does the specially designed tent which hooks on to the tailgate.

Sleep Pack adopts the Dacia ethos of being simple, removable and affordable. It is compatible with all Jogger trim levels and features a 220-litre storage box that can be accessed with the double bed unfolded or folded.

The smart Ikea-style flat-packed kit can be assembled in less than two minutes by one person and requires only the removal of the third-row seats.

To keep things simple and easy, the whole pack weighs less than 50kg – making it effortless to remove – and when set-up with its generous 190cm x 130cm mattress, it still offers a surprising 60cm of headroom.

In the morning, the pack can be quickly folded away before setting off.
If even more sleeping space is needed, a bespoke tent is also available that can be connected to the Jogger’s open tailgate, while blackout blinds for all windows offer privacy and light control.

The Sleep Pack and other InNature accessories will be available to order at the same time as a new Jogger or can be easily added at any time separately.
See dacia.ie for further details.

Ohme named official charge partner of VW

The Volkswagen group, which incorporates VW, Seat/Cupra, Audi and Skoda have hooked up with Cork-based smart charge company Ohme as its new official charging partner.
The agreement will also involve VW commercials in recommending Ohme chargers for all their electrified vehicle sales with a wifi-enabled Home Pro charger in showrooms for customers to view.

Ohme’s range of smart chargers can connect seamlessly with all of Ireland’s electricity suppliers and automatically adjust an EV’s charging for drivers to take advantage of off-peak tariffs.

For example, juicing up a 77kWh ID.3 from zero to 100pc with an Ohme Home Pro on an off-peak tariff, such as SSE Airtricity’s Night Boost, could cost just €8.12 for an electric range of more than 420kms (WLTP).

Over the course of a year and 10,000kms of driving, Ohme claim that would equate to a saving of almost €700 compared the standard tariff.

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