BMW X7 review
As big and bold as ever, the BMW X7 surprises with a certain finesse to its driving experience matched to superb build quality and lots of kit
The X7 is BMW’s flagship full-size SUV, a high-end family car with all the luxury, technology and road presence you’d expect of something costing well over £100,000. Being a seven-seater designed primarily for markets like the US and China, it’s predictably massive yet still drives with a finesse and composure BMWs are known for.
A Volvo XC90 will be cheaper to own, and the Land Rover Discovery is a more rugged and capable family hauler, but the BMW X7’s blend of quality, luxury, high-tech equipment and superb refinement make it a compelling option – if you can get your head around its looks.
About the BMW X7
The X7 is a big seven-seater competing with a roster of rivals that includes the Land Rover Discovery, the Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90. Having undergone a comprehensive update in 2022, the X7 has been given an even more controversial design and upmarket interior, but the prices have gone up too now costing significantly more than its previous seven-seat rivals. The priciest M60i model is now priced at more than £100,000, so a foray into the options list will see the purchase price approach luxury rivals such as the Bentley Bentayga and Range Rover.
Yet while the BMW may not have all the prestige of the most luxurious brands, it makes up for it with sheer scale. In this market size really does matter, and the X7 makes for a formidable option at comfortably over 5m long, 2m wide and 1.8m tall.
Behind its imposing grille, the BMW X7 shares much of its engineering with the smaller X5, building on the same underlying CLAR platform with a longer wheelbase and boxier proportions. Just like on a Range Rover, BMW has kept the scuttle and windowline low for the sake of outward visibility, increasing that generous feeling of space inside the cabin.
Being BMW’s flagship SUV, the X7 packed with advanced technology including impressive infotainment options, driver assistance aids and safety functions. Other notable features include standard-fit adaptive air suspension, an available active anti-roll system and rear-wheel steering.
The X7’s facelift in early 2022 introduced a collection of even more controversial design elements, most notably a split-headlight arrangement designed to mimic the latest 7 Series and fully electric i7 saloon. Inside the cabin, the dashboard has also been completely redesigned to facilitate BMW’s latest curved display infotainment set-up running BMW’s latest infotainment software. There’s also been changes underneath the skin, with the previous M50i model having been replaced by the M60i, and all versions now featuring a 48-volt mild-hybrid technology to help improve fuel economy and CO2 emissions.
The X7 range is relatively limited, even if its specification is not: the X7 petrol xDrive40i and diesel xDrive40d are joined by the M60i performance model, with the entry-level cars powered by 3.0-litre straight-six engines; the petrol producing 376bhp and the oil-burner 347bhp. The M60i replaces the M50i, replacing the previous V8 with a heavily updated version designed to eventually integrate plug-in hybrid modules that we’ll see in future BMW M models. In the case of the M60i, though, it retains the same 523bhp power figure and similar torque and efficiency numbers.
All X7s come as standard with BMW’s smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox and xDrive four-wheel drive system. The standard height-adjustable air suspension can be raised to tackle rough roads or lowered for ease of access, but it’s not the sort of system designed for serious off-road use that you’ll find on a Discovery or Range Rover. Instead, the 4x4 technology works in conjunction with a range of high-end road-biased hardware that helps the X7’s on-road performance. The aids include an active anti-roll system that leverages the 48V electrics to actively reduce body roll under hard cornering, and a rear-wheel steer system that helps both high speed stability and manoeuvrability at parking speeds.
As of the 2022 update, BMW has also further simplified the available trims on the X7, with the base Excellence level bundling a serious amount of kit into a more luxurious package full of chrome brightwork, big wheels and light luxurious interior finishes.
For those wanting a sportier look, the X7’s M Sport guise adds different 21-inch wheels and a range of exterior and interior styling changes – along with more powerful brakes and BMW’s M Sport steering wheel. The step up to the M60i model adds 22-inch wheels, with massive 23-inch options available across all models for maximum bling factor.
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In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingAs big and bold as ever, the BMW X7 surprises with a certain finesse to its driving experience matched to superb build quality and lots of kit
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe X7 is one of the best large SUVs to drive, but certainly feels its size
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsThe BMW X7 is a large, expensive car with running costs to match – regardless of which engine you pick
- 4Interior, design and technologyIts bold design may divide opinion, but few SUVs can match the X7’s blend of luxury and quality
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe X7 is one of the most practical cars in its class, not least because it’s so big
- 6Reliability and SafetyBuyers will be reassured by the X7's excellent levels of standard safety kit