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BMW i7 tested in punishing heat

The BMW i7 is in its final stages of development.
The BMW i7 is in its final stages of development.
Image: Supplied

German automaker BMW is pursuing a rather shrewd strategy aimed at getting its customers to gradually migrate from internal combustion.

The addition of all-electric derivatives to its popular model lines might sway buyers from existing petrol and diesel options. The iX3, for example, complements the existing X3 range while the i4, launching this year, is essentially a battery-powered version of the 4-Series Gran Coupé. There will be an i7 joining the mix too, alongside the expected versions of the 7-Series.

Ahead of the new 7-Series reveal, the manufacturer released camouflaged images of its i7  undergoing hot weather testing. According to BMW, the model is in its final stages of development. Their release offers fascinating insights into the behind-the-scenes aspects of pre-production evaluations.

In this stage of assessment, the i7 is being exposed to extreme heat and dust to “verify the performance and reliability of the electric motors, the all-wheel drive and the high-voltage battery when being exposed to maximum stress”.

BMW said the regimen includes gravel tracks, desert terrain and mountain roads, so its dynamic abilities can receive a shakedown. In addition, the tests simulate high-speed conditions and stop-go traffic.

Traction in all conditions is promised by the xDrive all-wheel drive system.
Traction in all conditions is promised by the xDrive all-wheel drive system.
Image: Supplied

“Within a firmly defined test programme for the prototypes  loads are simulated that correspond to the challenges faced by a series-production vehicle during a complete product life cycle,” said the brand.  

On-board measurement technology records data. And although autonomous driving is big on the current agenda, the process of prototype testing relies heavily on the skills of human test engineers.

The company explained that seasoned hands make notes of vehicles’ every reaction of the electric motors, the high-voltage battery, drive control and the integrated cooling system as well as the charging technology and energy management to weather and road-related influences.

Test sections with large differences in altitude also feature at the hot-region test sites. In this way the temperature behaviour of the electric motors and the torque control of the all-wheel drive system can be analysed during uphill conditions, under hard acceleration. Aside from the powertrain, these trials also serve to test the performance of the air-conditioning and other on-board electronics, as well as the temperature resistance of the materials used in the interior.

The i7 will rival the Mercedes-Benz EQS.
The i7 will rival the Mercedes-Benz EQS.
Image: Supplied

The brand wrapped up its communication by promising that their i7 will offer a “perfectly harmonised” driving experience in real-world conditions. They also referred to their contender as the “world’s only purely electrically powered luxury sedan” — which is not entirely true, since Mercedes-Benz beat them to market with the EQS already.

Still, we eagerly await the reveal and launch of the i7. And like many observers and enthusiasts, we are keen to see whether it will have a grille arrangement as in-your-face as recent products like the iX sport-utility vehicle, or whether it takes a more conservative approach.



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