BMW X7 review – high and mighty luxury

BMW X7 review – high and mighty luxury
BMW X7 review – high and mighty luxury

With the introduction of its latest model BMW has completed its SUV full house. There’s now an X model for every range from 1 to 7 and virtually no niches left to fill.

BMW are keen to point out that its new X7 isn’t simply a stretched X5 but rather a jacked-up 7 Series. The latest X5 and X7 were developed completely independently, with the X7 using the platform from BMW’s flagship luxury saloon as its basis.

That said, anyone who has driven a high-spec X5 recently will feel right at home in the X7.

BMW X7

BMW X7 XDrive 30d M Sport

Price: £72,630 (£86,475 as tested)
Engine: 3.0-litre, six-cylinder, diesel
Power: 261bhp
Torque: 457lb/ft
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Top speed: 141mph
0-62mph: 7 seconds
Economy: 32.8-33.6mpg
CO2 emissions: 171g/km

The overall look and feel is very similar, with a high dashboard that sweeps seemlessly across the front of the cabin with simple clear controls and topped by the twin 12.3-inch digital displays which make up the standard “Live Cockpit Professional”.

The material quality is every bit as impressive and luxurious as that in its smaller sibling, with an enviable fit and finish. I’m not convinced about the cut-glass-effect CraftedClarity gear selector but elsewhere it’s restrained but elegant and a hushed haven out on the road, just like the X5.

Where the X7 proves its closer connection with the 7 Series is in the levels of technology, which aim to make it a full-on luxury SUV fit to take on Range Rover.

BMW X7 interior

The X7 is the first BMW to get the latest intelligent personal assistant and BMW operating system 7.0, which aim to make the car more connected, smarter and easier to interact with. You can ask it to adjust settings such as temperature or media, check your calender, set the sat nav or even give you an update on things like the car’s oil level.

In terms of driver aids, there’s parking assistance with a 360-degree camera, and a clever reversing aid that can remember and retrace the last 50 metres of a journey with the driver just controlling the speed.

Also in the clever-clogs category is the optional executive drive pro setup which adapts suspension and gearbox to the road ahead using cameras and GPS data.

BMW X7

Cruise control is supplemented by lane departure warning, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking and speed limit warning and assist. But – disappointingly in a £70,000 flagship car – adaptive cruise, lane keep assist, and other more advanced driving aids are part of the optional £3,000 technology pack.

Adaptive LED headlights are standard but can be replaced with the impressive BMW Laser Light array, and wireless charging, wifi, soft-close doors, three-part sunroof and the ability to unlock your car with your phone are all standard features.

In physical size, the X7 slots between the standard and long-wheelbase Range Rovers. In other words, it’s massive. More than five metres long and two metres wide, it will struggle to fit into a standard parking space and didn’t feel at home on the twisting Perthshire B roads of the launch route.

It looks slightly less imposing than the Rangey – less chunky and slab-sided – but is still not exactly handsome and that yawning, gaping grille is “challenging” to look at.

BMW X7 grille

All that size is with a purpose, however. The X7 comes with seven seats as standard. And these are seven decent seats. Anyone up to six feet tall will manage just fine in row three and there is loads of space for three in the middle row. If you’re feeling extravagant and don’t need seven seats there’s also a six-seat arrangement with a pair of armchair-like captain’s seats in place of the middle bench.

Even the rearmost seats get heating, cupholders, USB charging points and Isofix points, and while four-zone climate control is standard there’s the option of a fifth control zone for row 3. With all seven in place you get an acceptable 326 litres of boot space, expandable up to 2,120 in two-seat mode.

BMW X7 rear seats

The X7 has a simple engine line-up of two diesels and one petrol, all 3.0-litre straight sixes.

The 30d is predicted to be the best seller. It can’t match the ridiculous M50d with its quad-turbos 394bhp and 5.4-second 0-62 time but feels like the right engine for this car. With 261bhp and 457lb/ft there is decent urgency but it never feels or sounds unruffled.

There is also a 3.0-litre petrol, badged as 40i, with 335bhp, 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds and 24.6mpg. It’s smooth, quiet and punchy but I struggled to see why you’d take it over the more economical diesel (32.8mpg).

BMW X7 row 2

For all BMW’s talk of dynamics, the X7 is not a dynamic car, even in M Performance get-up. It’s more composed on twisting roads than a Range Rover but even with its active air suspension it feels heavy and prone to body roll. It’s definitely less at home winding along an A road than it is wafting in near-silence up a motorway, which it could do all day.

Realistically, that’s what this car is designed for. It might lack the brand cachet of a Range Rover but gives it a good run for its money as a spacious, luxurious high-tech continent crosser that will leave passengers feeling pampered.

BMW X7

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