BMW’s styling and engineering are frequently imitated but rarely equaled. Simply put, both are at their max in the 2019 X7, an SUV that offers a magnitude of excellence. A bold statement, maybe, but I can’t overstate how impressive this vehicle is; it’s a true 7 series BMW in SUV garb.
On the exterior, the large kidney grill says it all. It’s oversized and extravagant, presenting you with an overwhelming first impression that simply says, “we mean business.” That is what the new X7 is all about. The truck itself looks almost too big. Is that a problem? I don’t think so, especially in a market that craves space, luxury, and comfort. The laser headlights have a subtle blue glow which distinguishes them from the regular adaptive headlights. Like every other feature in this vehicle, these lights have a heightened level of illumination. The air breather vents, located directly behind the front wheels, tie into the trim panel that extends elegantly to the back wheels and enhances the overall length of the X7. The rear is unmistakably BMW and has a split tail gate that offers great practicality. Not only can the lower section be used as an occasional seat, it prevents your cargo from falling out when you open the top section. How often does that happen, you may ask? Often, especially after coming home with bags of groceries that have shifted from the drive. To make things more convenient, BMW has even installed a button that lowers the air suspension for easy access.
Once inside, you instantly lose your awareness of the X7’s immensity. It suddenly no longer feels so big, even with the third-row seating. That’s because everything is scaled and proportioned so well, and it is inundated with all kinds of technology that makes you forget you’re in an SUV. It is all designed so thoughtfully, so meticulously, such that none of it feels intimidating or bewildering. Every luxury option you could want surrounds you, from beautifully crafted stitching and piping on the high-quality leather seating (heated, ventilated, and boasting a massage option in the front with plenty of configurations) to hand-made crystal glass details on the shifter, start/stop button, volume control, and iDrive controller.
The massage seats in the front are without a doubt the most comfortable seats I’ve ever driven in. The middle seats are spacious, almost equally comfortable as the front, and offer power controls not only from the seat position but also beside the driver. The third-row seats are surprisingly spacious and acceptably comfortable for additional seating when required. You can configure your X7 to be a 7-seater or a 6-seater with captain’s chairs. The standard three-panel electronically controlled panoramic “Sky Lounge” glass sunroof creates an unparalleled, atmospheric ambiance using 15,000 changeable colour lighting elements that generate the perfect mood above you. A power sliding headliner shade and personal window shades with individual controls ensure privacy and comfort for all passengers; it seems no one shall go without in the X7.
The X7’s cockpit is clearly all about providing the driver with features, information, and driving aids to make your drive luxurious, effortless, and as safe as possible. The high-resolution 12.3” touch control display is easy to navigate with the iDrive control and provides plenty of feature customization options. If you are a driver who prefers to always keep your eyes on the road, the X7 also comes with gesture control that manages certain functions by means of defined hand movements.
Switches are positioned intuitively and brilliantly; for example, fan speed and temperature controls are high-quality switches with small digital displays that reflect your inputs. Other features that require confirmation are displayed on your screen. Turn the fog lights on and the X7 confirms that they are on. So simple, yet so convenient and thoughtful. How often do we have to look for feature buttons for even simple functions like opening the back hatch or turning on the heated steering wheel? Where would you expect them to be? Well, in the X7, the heated steering wheel button is on the steering wheel and the back-hatch button is found nestled with the window function buttons; smart design! The heads-up display is a feature that I completely appreciate. My only request would be that BMW program the posted speed limit to show up on the Navigation screen or the heads-up display.
The cup holders are heated AND cooled to keep your drinks at the perfect temperature, and the Bowers & Wilkins surround sound system delivers outstanding sound quality throughout your commute.
The parking assistant has amazing camera imagery and software trickery, making parking and maneuvering in tight spaces a breeze. The driving assistant delivers maximum safety with well-engineered features like cross traffic control, front collision mitigation, side collision and lane departure warning, and active blind spot detection. Let’s not forget the air suspension that allows for the selection of lowered height to access parking garages. And, when it’s time to get revisions for all these software-driven features, the X7 has a Wi-Fi connection feature that allows for automatic updates.
Although the BMW X7 is touted as a flagship luxury “SUV”, it comes with all the expected BMW performance superiority. That’s probably why they refer to their SUV as an “SAV (sport activity vehicle) with off-road potential”. The X7-40i, our tester, is equipped with a 335 hp 3.0-litre twin-turbo inline-6 that delivers plenty of power and respectable mileage. However, if you’re looking for a little more adrenaline-pumping performance, the 50i gets you a 456 hp 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 that is sure to deliver an intoxicating BMW experience. Both options come with an 8-speed automatic gearbox. Add to that the M-Performance Package and you will not only get 22” wheels, M aerodynamics, M Sport exhaust and some other aesthetic enhancements, you also get the M Sport brakes that provide beyond-impressive braking performance.
It’s no wonder that when you’re behind the wheel of the X7, you can easily overlook the size and the luxury of this vehicle as you get submerged in the performance and driving ability the X7 delivers. Simply put, I felt safe and in control, swathed in delightful luxury — and when I wanted to have some exhilarating fun, it was merely the push of a button away.