Since joining the SUV scene in 1999, BMW has done an excellent job at establishing itself in the market then placing itself near the pinnacle of the high-end SUV market.
The X5 has done a great job being the firm’s SUV flagship, but BMW has decided to bring in a model above that to add more prestige to its built-up range.
Called the X7, this new car is angled more towards the Range Rover clientele by offering 7 Series quality and comfort but on a chassis that can handle the rougher stuff if needed.
As the largest production car ever built by the brand, BMW is looking to expand its SUV influence even further. We see whether the X7 is the perfect tool to do that.
BMW provides three engine options for the X7 – two diesels and one petrol – that are all paired to the xDrive all-wheel drive system and an eight-speed automatic transmission. We tried the 40i petrol, which uses a turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six engine that can get the SUV from 0-60mph in 5.9 seconds. The 40i’s top speed is 152mph.
This unit is very smooth in smaller vehicles, and that feeling has been transferred into the X7. Power delivery throughout the rev range is consistent, while the transmission shifts without any noticeable blip. The engine also manages to be super quiet at cruising speed – making it an excellent companion for long distance journeys.
Ride & Handling
Despite the vehicle’s rather extensive size, the X7 hides its size really well when cornering and feels very involving throughout. The steering is well-weighted and helps the car feel agile through the corners – while the ride feels supple to soak up any and all bumps on the tarmac. In fact, the X7 is incredibly refined, as long distance can be covered without any real interference from the outside world.
The model is also very adept at getting in and around town, although the vast amount of cameras and sensors come in very handy when doing so. If you’re after a more efficient engine to get around with, we’d recommend the 30d diesel unit, which provides a much better performance/efficiency balance and is just as refined.
Interior & Equipment
As you would expect from a car of this size, passenger and storage space isn’t at a premium and all the surfaces are finished in high quality materials, such as leather and authentic wood. There is room for seven adults – not something you see every day – and everything is bolted together very well indeed. Storage-wise, the 750-litre boot is more than accommodating when five of the seven seats are in use, but if you need extra space, folding the rear seats down will allow for 2,120 litres of room. Having all seven seats in place leaves a more-than-respectable 326 litres.
With the X7 costing in excess of £70,000, it’s only fair that BMW has given the model plenty of kit as standard. Equipment includes adaptive LED headlights, 21-inch alloy wheels, four-zone climate control, ambient lighting, an electrically-adjustable multifunction steering wheel and seats, a 12.3-inch instrument display and a 10.25-inch central infotainment touchscreen. BMW also ensures the driver is given all the assistance they might need with adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, rain-sensing wipers and Parking Assistant Plus.
Prices for the X7 start from £72,155, which gets you the entry-level X7 with the 30d diesel engine on-board. The model we tested started from £74,195 and that featured the same basic equipment as the entry option as well the 40i petrol unit.
In terms of efficiency, the 40i petrol probably isn’t the option to go for, as it can achieve 24.8mpg at best – which is nothing to write home about. The CO2 emissions figure of 198g/km is also quite high – so if you need efficiency and lower emissions, it’s best taking a look at the 30d, which can offer up 43.5mpg and emissions of 171g/km CO2.
With the 19 years of experience behind it, BMW is more than capable of building an accomplished luxury SUV, and the X7 is proof of that. Cheaper and as well built as its main Range Rover rival, the X7 can be a great alternative for the established British luxury model. The looks will definitely divide opinion and the overall experience isn’t as invigorating as we might like. But having said that, the X7 is an incredibly accomplished effort from BMW that is well worth looking at if you’re after a premium SUV.