If you want a big, spacious, three-row SUV with seating for seven, but you demand luxury and style, something like a Cadillac Escalade could be up your alley. However, when the consideration deviates from the USA-produced options, German quality is the only way to go. With unrivaled quality, performance, and style, the European offerings are market-leaders. For a company that once never had an interest in SUVs of any type, BMW has now produced one of the most impressive SUVs to ever be built; however, this is not your regular, affordable, family car. The latest BMW X7 costs around $75,000. For that money, you get a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six with 335 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque under the hood. If that's not enough zing for you, two configurations of a 4.4-liter twin-turbo can be had: one with 456 hp and 479 lb-ft and another producing 523 hp and 553 lb-ft. All models come with an eight-speed automatic transmission and electric seats in every row.
For 2020, the existing range that included the 40i and 50i models is unchanged, but an all-new model joins the fray in the form of the xDriveM50i. This model features a unique M Sport body kit as standard, along with a number of performance enhancements that include a more powerful version of the engine found in the regular 50i (a model that can no longer be specced with the M Sport package), as well as 22-inch wheels, adaptive M suspension, and M Sport parts like an exhaust, a diff, and upgraded brakes. Five-zone climate control is also a new optional extra.
The price of the BMW X7 starts at $73,900 for the xDrive40i model, which is exclusive of a $995 destination and handling fee. The mid-range xDrive50i is naturally a lot more costly, starting at a base price of $92,600, while the range-topping X7 M50i has an MSRP of $99,600 - presumably below the R100k mark as a sales tactic. Fully loaded, however, you can knock on the door of a $120,000 price tag all too easily.
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Despite its hulking size and height, the X7 is not what you may expect. Somehow, BMW has managed to eke their signature driving feel out of the chassis, even on the base model. All variants of the X7 come with adjustable air suspension, and the result is a drive that exhibits far less body roll than expected while still maintaining supreme comfort and quiet ride quality. The steering feels perfectly weighted and provides impressive feedback, yet cracks and ripples and other small road imperfections are all ironed out with admirable poise. Switching into Sport mode firms things up a little, but only the worst knocks are ever registered through the massive wheels. Naturally, you won't be taking any X7 out on the racetrack, but the M50i comes with an M Sport differential and M Sport brakes anyway, helping it define itself as more than just an appearance package with some extra grunt. While we wouldn't complain about the braking on the base X7, it's certainly reassuring to have even stronger stopping power in an SUV that weighs well over 5,000 pounds and can easily hit 130 mph. Overall, the X7 is a sharp car for something of its size, yet retains phenomenal ride quality and a truly isolated cabin. If you want to go off-road, a package for that equips the X7 with additional drive modes for various types of slippery surfaces too.
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
The BMW X7, is not what traditionalists and purists expected from the company, but that hasn't stopped them from making an astonishingly good SUV. The ride quality is remarkably brilliant, and the luxury and comfort features are truly impressive. Options like a five-zone climate control system and a perfume-wafting aeration system only elevate that luxury feel, making the X7 exactly what it's designed to be. In addition, the available V8 variants offer unbelievable, buttock-clenching acceleration, and with the adaptive suspension, it handles far better than it should while still being more than good enough to drive over the roughest roads. Even the base model is more than quick enough for most people, and it returns impressive fuel economy to boot. It's not perfect, though. The third row is terribly cramped, and the price is insane. But for those who can afford such a thing, it's just as good as it should be.
Despite how tempting the power and handling prowess of the M50i may be, this is a vehicle that should be as quiet and as comfortable as possible. The V8 options in the lineup are still very serene and exhibit tremendous ride quality, but they also feel a little bit like overkill. The base engine in the X7 is more than good enough and still makes the SUV quite rapid. If you intend to tow stuff, we'd recommend opting for the trailer hitch at $550, unlocking access to 7,500 lbs of towing ability. We'd also consider the Executive package as an option for its extra luxury and convenience. Finally, we'd add ventilated front seats and the obligatory full-leather package that this option comes with.
Although this model has not yet been released in the US, the Audi Q7 is shaping up to be a hugely attractive competitor. Its base engine is a 2.0-liter four-pot TFSI motor, like in the 2019 model, producing 248 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. It, too, gets adaptive LED headlights and LED taillights, along with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Adaptive cruise control is joined by features like a 10.1-inch infotainment screen and a 360-degree camera. Despite all this tech, the base price is a much more palatable $54,800 before the $995 destination charge, making it a very attractive option. However, the luxury and power of the X7 go a long way to justifying its price premium, and although we'd have to test drive the more-equally powered turbocharged version to have a definitive answer on which car is better, the Q7 is still likely to be outdone as a pure luxury SUV.
Starting at $58,900, the BMW X5 is another interesting proposition. Although not as big and as capable of carrying people as the X7, the X5 has proven to be an excellent SUV over the years, and in base form, it shares the same engine and output as the base X7. Thanks to a lighter body, it's quicker too. However, the X7's numerous standard features like a Wi-Fi hotspot, adaptive cruise control, a hands-free liftgate, and a premium sound system are all missing from the X5 in its cheapest form. Of course, if you're willing to shell out extra, there are numerous trims to choose from, each with increasing levels of power and comfort. However, for some, the status and the extra cargo space (a maximum of 90.4 cubes versus the X5's 72.3) may keep you from stepping down a notch to the X5. The choice will ultimately come down to your personal wants and needs, but either Bavarian bruiser is likely to impress.
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Check out some informative BMW X7 video reviews below.