A little backstory on myself and my experience with BMW. I worked for two BMW showrooms in California for a little over 6 years, 2012-2018. During this time, there were always little rumors of a larger X model being in the works over in Germany. The myth would tend to bubble up, sometimes even present us with a picture. Then simmer back down with no real information coming from BMW. In 2017, they released a concept of the X7, but still with no real production date or confirmation.
The X7 was the missing X in the BMW line up. A known gap that we knew people wanted. The missing flagship to match the luxurious and massive 7 series sedan. In 2019, BMW finally gave us what we had been waiting for. It was well worth the wait.
From the X5’s debut in 1999, BMW’s entry into the SUV market has had a strong emphasis on performance, comfort and road capability. So much so, that BMW changed the acronym they used from SUV “Sport Utility Vehicle”, to SAV “Sport Activity Vehicle”. With the SAV growing and surpassing the sales volume of sedans here in the US market, BMW started to focus heavily into their SAVs. While globally, it seemed as if the X5 would be large enough to satiate most of the markets, the American market was craving a large 7 passenger SAV. BMW saw what the US market wanted and dedicated their manufacturing plant in South Carolina to just X models.
In the market place, other manufactures had their model already out on the road. Mercedes had their massive GL which has since become the GLS, Audi had the smaller Q7 and last, the Range Rover. From the domestic front, we have the Chevy Tahoe, Cadillac Escalade, and Navigator from Lincoln. Some will note that BMW did have the third row as an option in the X5, but unless you were a child, or 5 foot or less, it was a hard place to sit.
Clearly BMW was missing a segment that the other manufactures were grabbing up. An SAV to be as large as a Tahoe, or an Escalade, yet still have that BMW performance and luxury they were known for. BMW took their time crafting this missing X, and it was worth it.
BMW kept it simple in its offerings for the X7. You may choose from either the turbo straight six xDrive 40i or the beefier V8 xDrive 50i and M50i. For most of the drivers of a SAV this size, the 40i will be sufficient enough for everyday tasks. For those with a more bold spirit and deep pockets, there is always the M50i which packs the largest punch, to get you where you need to be, quickly.
- xDrive 40i – 335 HP and 5.8 second 0-60
- xDrive 50i – 456 HP and 5.2 second 0-60
- M50i – 523 HP and 4.5 second 0-60
The 40i and the 50i both have options for M-sport or standard with the Luxury trim.
Additional options to the chassis include:
Dynamic Handling Package – includes Active Comfort with Road View, M Sport Brakes and Active Steering
On the flip side of this, is the Off-Road Package.
What BMW has also done, is package most of their popular options like: Gesture Control, Heads-Up Display, Remote Start, Soft Close Doors, Rear Window Shades and the Harmon Kardon Surround Sound into the Premium Package.
From the Premium, you can bump up into the Executive package and add Heated and Cooled Cup Holders, Panoramic LED Sky Roof and Glass Controls.
Not to surprising, BMW offers the turbo’d straight six as well as the V8. The six is by no means a slouch, but if you prefer the instant gratification of power, the V8 may be more attractive. To take it even further, the “M-tuned” M50i will take you to 60 in just 4.5 seconds. Being as large and weighty as this land cruiser is, these are some great numbers for the road. The X7 wasn’t made to be the most performance oriented SAV out there, and it isn’t hiding it. Rather, it aims to be luxurious and match the comfort of it’s sedan counterpart.
The quality lining the interior does stand out and puts it into this luxury class. Well made switches, buttons and comfortable leather seats all give it the stature BMW intended. The cabin is quiet even at highway speeds, and the solid feel inspires confidence. Optional captains seats for the second row gives more space and luxury feel compared to the bench.
Driving a large three row luxury SUV can prove to be a daunting task. The technology available for this vehicle makes it a breeze. A 3D surround view and parking assist makes short work of parking, and the driving assist makes highway driving easy and even pleasant. The interior is a dream to be in, and the quality spreads all the way to the third row.
Performance hasn’t been overlooked either. The 40i is plenty, but if you are one to drive fast, you will notice the work the engine is doing to keep up. The 50i would be the option to go with. Pair either of these engines with the active rear leveling system, and it proves to be a very capable SAV that will make its way up and down twisty roads. Go even further with the Active Comfort Drive, and it makes the experience even more notable.
So where’s the catch?
The X7 hits all the marks. Comfort, performance, luxury, and technology. The last factor is the price. Base model X7 40i xDrive starts at $73,900. Once you factor in delivery, and other options most dealers will add to them, the price jumps into the $80k to $90k or higher mark rather quickly. Understandably, it is a top tier SAV and it definitely feels that way. Considering that a new Escalade starts at $75k, BMW has set in quite the competitor to the market. BMW kept this missing X close to the chest, and overall it has been given nothing but high marks.
The end conclusion to this, “It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.” – Ferris Bueller