The large, three-row SUVs that truly manage to mix practicality with luxury are few, and the BMW X7 finds itself mixing it with the Mercedes-Benz GLS and the US Cadillac Escalade. But while some stop at three-row practicality, BMW decided to throw in a little spice by making the X7 fun to drive, too. Thanks to the 523-horsepower V8 engine on the top-tier M50i and matching M Sport specification, the hefty auto is remarkably spry. It can even go off-road when necessary or haul 7,500 lbs. If that doesn't impress, then step inside and you'll be presented with three rows of seats dressed in opulent materials, complemented by the most advanced comfort and safety features money can buy. And you'll need quite a lot of it to buy one of these beauties, as the cost of the BMW X7 can easily exceed the six-figure mark.
After receiving numerous updates last year, the 2022 BMW X7 stays mostly the same. Wireless phone charging is no longer a standard feature, but USB and Bluetooth connectivity has been enhanced. The rear-window sunshades (optional on the xDrive40i and standard on the M50i) are powered from this year. There have been changes to the options and packages too and the Dynamic Handling package, for example, is no longer available on the xDrive40i model although some of the items it contained, such as the M Sport brakes, still are as standalone options.
As a premium vehicle, the BMW X7 has a price tag to match its prestige. The base price of the entry-level xDrive40i is already a pretty hefty $74,900, but since BMW has a habit of making you pay extra for just about everything, you should expect this figure to increase substantially. But, if money is not an issue, the M50i goes on sale for just shy of six figures, at $99,800 MSRP. These prices exclude tax, registration, licensing, and the automaker's $995 destination charge.
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Don't let the size of this beastly machine fool you; it's actually surprisingly nimble. Still, an almost three-ton SUV could never be truly athletic. The steering is perfectly weighted for town driving but still provides enough feedback to inspire confidence when having a little fun or going off-road. The brakes are equally capable, bringing the hefty vehicle to a halt in just over 100 feet from 60 mph. However, the M Sport brakes on the upper trim are even more capable.
Where the X7 really shines, though, is its ride quality. Every model is equipped with air suspension as standard, meaning that even larger bumps in the road are smoothed over with ease. This also reduces body roll when you're having fun. Multiple drive modes are offered, but even switching to Sport mode does not noticeably reduce ride quality. The same goes for the larger 22-inch wheels you'll find on the M50i.
Of course, xDrive AWD is standard on each of the configurations. This means the SUV can handle harsh road conditions without losing its poise and even venture off the beaten path when necessary, although it's no Land Rover in this respect.
The 2022 BMW X7 won't appeal to everyone, but then again, it wasn't designed to. Most full-size SUVs try to be fun, practical, or luxurious, rarely daring to combine all these aspects. But the German automaker proves that it can be done.
The fun comes from two powerful engine options, though calling the V8 powerful is a huge understatement. These combine with a refined transmission and expertly crafted handling to deliver a driving experience you'd never expect from a bulky high-rider. Practicality is covered by three rows of seats, capable of accommodating up to seven passengers in a fair degree of comfort, or five with more than enough room to spare for luggage. The 7,500-pound towing capacity doesn't hurt either. And of course, BMW is practically a synonym for luxury in the USA. The interior is immaculate, and there are countless features devoted to keeping the occupants happy and safe.
Still, the X7 isn't perfect. Some might say it spreads itself a little thin by trying to be perfect at everything, so naturally, competition from the likes of the Mercedes-Benz GLS beat it in choice areas. Still, it's a remarkable achievement. However, with its extremely restrictive price tag, not many will be able to experience what it has to offer, and we definitely envy those that can afford one. Most of us just have to settle for a test drive and a dream.
A machine this large has no business being a high-performance speedster. Regardless of how much power it has, it will never be a truly fun, athletic driver, so it makes more sense to focus on getting the most comfort and luxury out of it. The money you save by opting for the cheaper xDrive40i is better spent on stacking on some desirable packages, like the Executive and Luxury Seating packages. If you want to make driving as relaxing as possible, the Parking Assistance and Driving Assistance Professional packages do a lot of the work for you. And, if you plan on taking the whole family away for a vacation, you'll want the trailer hitch, since the trunk simply can't accommodate that much luggage with the third row of seats in their upright position. This allows the SUV to tow up to 7,500 lbs.
One of the closest competitors to the X7, the Audi Q7 is another example of European luxury done right. The standard inline-four is a bit lackluster in comparison, developing only 248 hp and 273 lb-ft, but the turbocharged V6 is more on par at 335 hp and 369 lb-ft, while the SQ7 can almost match the M50i. However, with around 300 - 600 lbs less weight to lug around, it might be even more fun to drive. In terms of tech, it is equipped with most of the same features found on the top-tier BMW SUV, like a dual-touchscreen infotainment interface. The Q7 is a little more practical, with 14.2 cubic feet of standard cargo space behind the third row, but the overall cabin space is a little tighter. The materials used in the X7 are also higher quality, especially on the highest-spec model. However, while the BMW is the better choice overall, those shopping for luxury on a slightly tighter budget might prefer the Audi Q7, which starts at just $55,800.
The Merc GLS may not be quite as powerful as the X7, but it can match or surpass it in many other aspects. So, while it may top out at 483 hp and 516 lb-ft, its interior is peerless, and it manages to provide seating for seven with more space to spare than the BMW. This includes cargo capacity, where the GLS offers 17.4 cubic feet behind its third row as opposed to 12.8 cubes in the BMW. The two German automobiles are similarly priced, though, so the best value for your money will really depend on your personal priorities. If you want the most opulent family hauler than money can buy, the GLS takes the cake, but if you want a little spice in your life, the BMW X7 offers more fun.
The most popular competitors of 2022 BMW X7: