The BMW SUV range has a new flagship. The big and bold BMW X7 goes on sale in April 2019 with a starting price of £72,155 and a desire to further grow the brand’s luxury car sales with what’s essentially a 7 Series SUV for seven people, just as the Mercedes-Benz GLS is an S-Class 4×4.
You can decide on the styling (all the images are in our slideshow). BMW simply says it’s clearly structured and demonstrates its latest design language. No, look past the humungous grille, if you can, and look to the doors. The rear ones are longer than the front, you’ll notice. This is significant.
The new BMW X7 wants to be the ultimate passenger’s machine.
For starters, it’s huge: over 5.1 metres long, two metres wide and 1.8 metres tall. The wheelbase is a massive 3.1 metres. But this creates enough space inside for BMW to boast of even the third-row seats being full-size chairs, with space between them – “a first for a 4×4”.
The middle-row bench is plush, but even plusher is an optional two-seat configuration, using seats with “the same functionality and adjustment range as the front”, which surely is another first. The seats have all sorts of electric-adjust tricks to make entry and egress as unencumbered as possible: the driver even has a button to auto-slide both front seats forward, just to give rear passengers that bit more space.
Every seat is adjusted electrically, finished in leather, and heated, as standard. But, whisper it, the front seats can also be optioned with ventilation and massaging. Don’t tell those in the back. Hopefully standard four-zone climate control will distract them – five zones are optional, with additional third-row controls and vents.
Also standard is an electric three-piece panoramic glass roof, and BMW’s offering an option from posh sister company Rolls-Royce – an LED overlay for the glass surface, creating a starlit sky effect.
Beneath the X7
Less surprising are the X7 engines: 3.0-litre six-cylinder in-line motors, either a 340hp turbo petrol in the xDrive40i or a 265hp turbodiesel in the xDrive30d, boosted to 400hp with an extra turbo in the M50d. All get a standard eight-speed auto.
The 30d will do 43.5mpg; the M50d will do 0-62mph in 5.4 seconds.
A variation of the architecture used in the BMW 7 Series is employed for the X7. It has self-levelling air suspension as standard, with height-adjust: lower it 40mm to help load passengers, or raise it 40mm for off-roading. The M50d, with its 22-inch wheels (21-inches are standard) lowers automatically by 20mm above 86mph.
Optional Integral Active Steering – the rear-wheel steer system – is optional, and will attempt to make the big X7 feels smaller than it is. Active anti-roll is also offered, as is a comprehensive off-road package.
Inside, the gorgeous-looking interior comes as standard with the fully-digital BMW Live Cockpit Professional dial cluster and the new BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant (say ‘hey, BMW’). 10-speaker audio is free, a Bowers & Wilkins system with 20 speakers and 1,500 watts is optional.
More big numbers, because everything about the new BMW X7 is big. It won’t be a machine that’s universally loved, but it undoubtedly makes a statement and will belatedly expand BMW’s large luxury saloon line into the highly profitable, hot-selling SUV sector.
Get used to it, because that big grille will be coming to your rear-view mirror from next spring.