In-depth reviews

BMW X7 review

Big, bold - and bellicose in extreme M50i guise - the BMW X7 is one of the most imposing and luxurious SUVs around

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£71,510 to £112,260
  • Very comfortable
  • Good to drive
  • High-quality interior
  • Feels big on UK roads
  • Expensive to buy
  • High running costs

The X7 is BMW’s flagship – large, luxurious and filled with the latest technology. A range of powerful engines are offered and while it’s not the cheapest to run, the X7 drives far better than you’d expect for a car of its considerable size and weight. A Volvo XC90 will be cheaper to own and the Land Rover Discovery is a better all-rounder, but it’s hard to ignore the BMW’s great blend of quality, luxury, high-tech equipment and good driving experience.

While engine options include the sensible X40d diesel and a wild 523bhp V8 in the M50i, there’s no hybrid option - plug-in or otherwise - to help lessen company car tax bills. Admittedly, if you can afford to buy and own an X7 of any description, that may be of passing interest.

About the BMW X7

Sheer cost and size make the BMW X7 a relatively rare sight here in the UK, but anyone lucky enough to be in the market for a high-end off-roader will want to give BMW’s flagship model a once-over.

The X7 is a big seven-seater competing with an impressive roster of rivals that includes the Land Rover Discovery, the Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90. And while even the priciest M50i model is listed at less than £100,000, a foray into the options list could see the purchase price approaching the territory of ostensibly more upmarket rivals such as the Bentley Bentayga and Range Rover.

While the BMW may not have all the prestige of the most luxurious brands, it makes up for that with sheer scale. The model is primarily focused on the US and Chinese markets where size really does matter, and at comfortably over 5m long, 2m wide and 1.8m tall, the X7 is one of the more imposing cars on UK roads. As a result, it’s one of the most comfortable ways to travel too, especially in terms of available space for passengers in each of the seven available seats.               

Behind its imposing grille, the BMW X7 shares much of its engineering with the 7 Series saloon, although its CLAR platform is also found underneath the X5 and 5 Series. As such it’s packed with advanced technology, including impressive infotainment options, driver assistance aids and safety functions. Other notable features include standard-fit adaptive air suspension, and of course leather upholstery is de rigueur too.

The X7 range is simple, even if its specification is not: the entry X7 petrol xDrive40i and diesel xDrive40d are joined by M Sport and M50i performance models. The entry-level cars are powered by 3.0-litre straight-six engines, with both producing 335bhp.

The M50i is powered by a 523bhp V8, while the marginally more sensible M50d with its quad-turbo straight-six diesel has been dropped from the line-up. Performance is strong, but economy is not fantastic – even the most efficient model returns less than 37mpg on average.

BMW has also introduced the limited run X7 Dark Shadow Edition, featuring the same engine and drivetrain as the M50i. However, with only 10 units destined for the UK, owning one will be a rarified pleasure.

All X7s come as standard with BMW’s tried-and-tested eight-speed 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; it’s not as capable off-road as a Discovery but shouldn’t struggle with farm tracks or grass car parks. The optional xOffroad pack prepares the X7 for more treacherous conditions, including rough-terrain driving modes, a locking differential and a sump guard.

The X7’s bold styling is further exaggerated in M Sport trim, which adds unique 21-inch wheels and a range of exterior and interior styling changes – along with more powerful brakes and a sportier steering wheel. The step up to either M50 model adds 22-inch wheels and Cerium Grey trim pieces, while inside there’s a host of high-end additions, including an uprated Harman/Kardon sound system.

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