2019 BMW X7 xDrive40i: Lavish, Large and in charge

    Posted by Shane Kalicharan about 3 months ago

    Remember the late 90s and early 2000s when massive luxury SUV’s like the Lincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade were the pinnacle of opulence? Actors, rappers, politicians, ne’er-do-wells and other well-off folk took pride in their souped-up SUV’s. The trend did eventually die off, but over-the-top luxury SUV’s are making a comeback. The original players Lincoln and Cadillac have both revived their former stars (Navigator review here). And these days, even some unexpected names are joining the fray. Rolls-Royce, Bentley, even Lamborghini and Aston Martin. BMW has long had a line of luxury SUV’s in their range. But now they too, are heaping on the opulence in their own offering: the very first BMW X7.


    The brand new X7 is, quite literally, the biggest BMW ever. The X7 stands nearly 2 metres in height and weighs nearly 5,500 lbs. It also boasts a wheelbase of over 3,100mm. For some reference, BMW’s executive sedan, the 7-series, can reach lengths of up to 3,210mm in long wheelbase form. The impressive proportions continue in the cabin too, with electronically controlled three row seating, dual sunroof and a cavernous 2,120 litre trunk, with all the seats folded down. Standard features include Vernasca leather trim, 22-inch wheels, panorama sunroof, alcantara headliner, heads up display, numerous driving and safety aids, a 10-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, WiFi hotspit, Apple Carplay, and more. You’ll also get a self-leveling and adjustable air suspension system that virtually guarantees a smooth and comfortable ride no matter the road conditions. But with a starting cost of $92,500, it’s no surprise it comes so well equipped.


    But if you need a little more opulence, don’t worry, BMW more than has you covered. Some of the more luxe options include the “CraftedClarity” interior package, which, among other touches, replaces your gear shifter with a chunk of Swarovski crystal. And if 10 speakers weren’t enough, why not double it with the 20 speaker Bowers and Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound system, which, as the name implies, literally contains (lab grown) diamonds.

     

    BMW presents the X7 as the flagship to their X line of “Sport Activity Vehicles” and it comes through in its design. Slim headlights and taillights, chrome accents, large wheels and a massive set of kidney grilles (literally bigger than your head) accentuate just how grand in scale the vehicle is. And yet, it doesn’t feel like a big, lumbering car when you drive it. It’s certainly no M2 Competition, but the X7 is unexpectedly agile and nimble when you want it to be. Just make sure to be aware of its road presence if you’re taking it into the city. Powering the X7 is a 3.0L inline-6 good for 335 horsepower. It’s mated with an 8-speed automatic and BMW’s xDrive All Wheel Drive system. On paper, an engine of that size almost seems lacking. But we were seriously taken aback at the way it performs – in the best possible way. It’ll make the sprint from 0-100 in under 6 seconds. Some estimates put that time as low as 5.2 seconds, while BMW claims 5.8. Regardless, that’s quicker than some of its 8-cylinder competition – and nearly as smooth too.

    The X7 is one of those vehicles that’ll give you a small shock when you glance down at the speedometer…because reading it’s HUD is nearly impossible if you wear polarized sunglasses (as is the case with nearly every HUD system.) The smooth power delivery, comfortable ride and very quiet interior are a little deceptive because the shakes and rattles the majority of us are used to just don’t exist in the X7. So sometimes your speed might be a little higher than you might expect. And you’ll be doing it all in comfort too. The driver’s seat features an array of adjustments so you can get the seat and headrest set up perfectly for you. What’s more – the seats can massage you too, which makes stop and go traffic somewhat more tolerable. We wish the massage function was a little more vigorous, however. Still with the seats – the second and third row of seats are also electronically adjustable.


    You might expect the third row of any car to almost be treated as an afterthought. But in the X7, that’s just not the case. Featuring seats that are actually comfortable and usable with optional heat and ventilation, climate control and even a dedicated third row sunroof. Thanks to the squared off shape of the roof and boot, there’s good headroom too. We had no issues with room in the back, but if you need more, the second row of seats are on rails and can slide back and forth. With all those passengers in tow, safety is always a concern. But the X7 comes with a suite of safety features including the usual blind spot monitor, lane departure, traffic detection, as well as some less common touches like a fatigue and awareness monitor and a semi-autonomous driving mode.


    Starting at $92,500, the X7 is certainly not for the average buyer. It’s a flagship SUV (SAV?) that, even in its most basic trim, is better equipped than many luxury vehicles on the road now. If the Escalades and Navigators are too overplayed and the G-Wagen isn't quite your thing, the X7 presents buyers in that market with a new option. With its array of luxuries, bling and commanding presence, the BMW X7 will certainly make a statement no matter how you look at it.

    Tags:
    BMW, BMW X7, X7, BMW X7 xDrive 40i, SUV, Lincoln Navigator, Cadillac Escalade

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