BMW knows its customers are changing. Whereas the executive of the past just wanted to cruise the Autobahn at 150 mph in their quiet luxury sedan, today's champion of industry needs a vehicle that can do everything. This includes hauling the family around, towing the family boat and also keeping that 155 mph Autobahn run on the back-burner. That's why BMW has introduced the all-new X7, the largest SUV the company has ever produced. It sits above the X5 and X6 in the lineup and offers three usable rows of seating, each of which pampers its occupants in sumptuous luxury.
But being comfortable can not be the only positive attribute of a BMW. It has to drive well too. So can BMW's biggest model ever still ignite a spark while pampering up to seven passengers? BMW sent us a 2019 X7 xDrive50i (the V8 model) to find out.
Catering to the demand for something larger and more luxurious than an X5 to do battle against the GLS and the likes of the Bentley Bentayga, the BMW X7 is an all-new model for 2019. The long-awaited seven-seater is also the largest in the BMW SAV family and boasts a full complement of advanced driver aids, BMW's Live Cockpit Professional, and the Intelligent Personal Assistant. Based on BMW's modular CLAR platform, the X7 shares its CLAR underpinnings with the latest X5, 8 Series, and even the Toyota GR Supra.
The 2019 BMW X7 xDrive40i is the entry-point to the X7 range and has an MSRP of $73,900, while the top-end xDrive50i costs a sizable chunk more, at $92,600. This excludes taxes, licensing, and registration. A destination charge of $995 applies to both models, with various available packages and standalone options available as well.
See trim levels and configurations:
This does not feel like a three-row SUV, it feels like a two-seater sports car. That's what we were thinking from behind the wheel of the X7. No SUV weighing more than 5,000 pounds should be able to take a corner like the X7 does, let alone feel this comfortable when the road gets bumpy. The X7 features double-wishbone front suspensions and a five-link rear suspension with dynamic damper control, self-leveling air suspension, and active roll stabilization. Together, these systems combine to eliminate the body roll you'd expect from such a large SUV, making the X7 feel more nimble than its massive size would imply.
But BMW hasn't sacrificed comfort in pursuit of performance. The X7 is among the most comfortable SUVs money can buy. We drove the X7 over Orlando, Florida's roughest highway, I-4, and the X7 eliminated all of the typical tire dronings and choppy ride that most vehicles experience on this particularly terrible stretch of road. As for the driving experience, BMW hasn't let its signature driving dynamics fall to the wayside. The steering offers plenty of weight without feeling too heavy while the included drive modes firm up the suspension and sharpen the throttle.
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
In short, the X7 does for the SUV what the 7 Series did for the saloon. It offers unparalleled comfort and refinement with driving dynamics that won't make you fall asleep at the wheel. The X7 does not have many weak points and those it does have do not take away from the experience. BMW knows its wealthiest customers are evolving and offering a flagship sedan just isn't enough anymore. People want to carry their whole family in sumptuous luxury and for this task, the X7 is the right tool for the job. It isn't just an SUV, it's a 1st class family jet.
Recommending which X7 to buy is like choosing between designer handbags - they are all nice, it's just a matter of preference. We think the xDrive40i model offers plenty of power, so it could be worth saving nearly 20 grand if you are not an aggressive driver. Opting for the six-cylinder car may also help you keep the X7 under the six-figure mark if you can control yourself with the options. But if you like to rule the road knowing that you have an atomic bomb sitting at the command of your right foot, ready to pass lesser vehicles in the blink of an eye, either of the two V8 options might be more your speed.
Ranging in price from to $53,550 in entry-level guise to $68,700 fully-loaded, the Audi Q7 isn't nearly as luxurious as the X7 is, although it offers excellent performance and comfort in its own right. Coming in at $20k cheaper at entry-point to the range, the Q7 offers either a 2.0-liter inline-four (248 hp and 273 lb-ft) or a 3.0-liter V6 making 329 hp and 325. While this isn't as powerful as the basic engine on the X7, it's a satisfying option nonetheless. Still, it doesn't hold a candle to the space, comfort, luxury, and long list of features available on the X7, and doesn't perform as economically either. It may seat seven as well, but it does so in much more confined quarters, and with much less convenience and practicality to boot. Admittedly, the Q7 compares better to the X5 but remains a worthy consideration either way. The X7 simply outclasses the Audi though and justifies the price premium.
The main difference between the X7 and the X5 is in its size and relative seating capacity. With a smaller chassis overall and only seating five passengers, the X5 is the X7's little brother - but is still a force to be reckoned with. Sharing the same 3.0-liter engine as the base model X7, the X5 offers similar outputs performance-wise but makes for slightly improved fuel economy due to its lower weight. With the X5 costing $60,700 for its base model xDrive40i, the price difference is relatively large too - however, there is a good reason for it. For a bit more than $13k, the X7 offers class-leading efficiency, luxury, space, and technology, even at the entry point to the range. While it is by far the more plush interior, it doesn't discount the X5 entirely. Do you need to ferry around more than five people? Or do you need to have the best that BMW has to offer? If the answer to either of these is yes, then opt for the X7. Otherwise, the X5 is a great stepping stone to get there.
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Check out some informative BMW X7 video reviews below.