Large Luxury SUV Comparison: BMW X7 Vs. Range Rover

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Both use the same engine, but which one is the better luxury SUV?

A new Range Rover doesn't come around often. The nomenclature reserved for the biggest, most luxurious SUV Land Rover has to offer is 51 years old, and we're only now going into the fifth generation.

The first-generation models are highly sought after, with restomod models costing more than a brand-new Bentley Bentayga. Speaking of the latter, the Range Rover also has the snob appeal to go head-to-head with this uber SUV. But that's not why we're here. It's revered all around the world as the original luxury SUV segment. Sure, there were SUVs before it, but none quite so adept at farming Monday through Friday and being at home parked in front of whatever church on Sunday.

What caught us off guard with the new Range Rover is the BMW powertrain used in the top-end models. Instead of using the well-known supercharged 5.0-liter V8, the new Range Rover is powered by the same 4.4-liter twin-turbo powertrain found in the top-spec X7. Naturally, we had to compare the two.

2020-2021 BMW X7 Front View BMW
BMW
Driving Front Angle Land Rover
Rear View Driving Land Rover

Exterior Design: A Giant Grille Up Against A Sleek Brit

It feels kind of unfair to put these two in a design battle. The X7 was the first BMW to feature a controversial grille. It's so big and boisterous that you get the sense BMW told its design team to create a car that's 90% grill and 10% SUV. Pay Lumma a lot of money, and they'll make it even uglier.

Land Rover's design is much more innovative. It's immediately identifiable as the big boy in the range, hitting all traditional design cues. From the front, you might not even notice it is the new model. We dig the floating roof and the addition of flush door handles. The Range Rover doesn't come without some design controversy. The rear end with its disguised lights is new, but 24 hours later, we're already used to it. One might even call it an excellent design feature.

The difference between these two is the difference between old and new money. The X7 looks like it was built to showcase wealth to the neighborhood. The Range Rover will look right at home parked in some of the oldest, wealthiest communities in the USA.

2020-2021 BMW X7 Front Bumper Closeup BMW
2020-2021 BMW X7 Taillights BMW
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The difference between these two is the difference between old and new money. The X7 looks like it was built to showcase wealth to the neighborhood. The Range Rover will look right at home parked in some of the oldest, wealthiest communities in the USA.

As both are high-end cars, they come as standard with full LED exterior lights. The BMW gets 21-inch wheels as standard, but you can select larger 22-inch alloys. The Range Rover's wheel details aren't available yet, but it also seems to be 21/22-inch alloys with an impressive tall profile.

Front Angle View Land Rover
Taillights Land Rover

Interior Design: The Luxurious Way To Transport Seven

In this department, it's closer than you'd think. The Range Rover used to be a rival to the likes of the 7 Series and S-Class and its interior has always reflected that. High-end leather, quality materials, and a long list of comfort and convenience features.

The new Range Rover interior is a bit of a hit-and-miss. We love the thin steering wheel, the tasteful wood, and the chunky controls, but the giant touchscreen looks out of place. Perhaps it would have looked better had it been integrated and not left protruding like some fold-out aftermarket display. Naturally, both cars come with a lot of technology, but Land Rover is introducing a few new things.

What we do like is the Range Rover being offered with seven seats. If you previously wanted a high-end Land Rover with seven seats, you had to go for a Discover. The seven-seat option will undoubtedly make the Range Rover appealing to a wider audience.

Driver Area Land Rover
Land Rover
Front Seats Land Rover

Since the X7 is the SUV version of the 7 Series, the quality is there. The NVH levels are also spectacular, making the X7's interior a genuinely lovely place to be. In fact, we think it's the X7's number one standout feature.

As standard, it comes with seating for seven. If you opt for the second-row captain's chairs, the seat count drops to six, but the available room increases significantly.

Space in the third row is tight, but looking at the images supplied by Land Rover, the Range Rover doesn't appear to offer more.

2020-2021 BMW X7 Dashboard BMW
BMW

Powertrains: The Same But Also Different

Both high-end models use the same 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 engine producing 523 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque, and all models use the same eight-speed automatic transmission. Both SUVs will hit 60 mph in around 4.5 seconds. If you want to be more pedantic, the Range Rover will get there in 4.4 seconds.

The BMW's top speed is limited to 130 mph, which is probably a good thing. Taking a 5,661 lbs SUV back to zero from 130 mph is going to take all the brakes in the world. Land Rover doesn't provide a top speed figure for the Range Rover, but it would be uncouth to do more than 120 mph in this luxury barge anyway.

We can't believe we're saying this, but the base engines are way more interesting.

2020-2021 BMW X7 Front View Driving BMW
2020-2021 BMW X7 Side View BMW

The base engine for the X7 is BMW's well-known 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six producing 335 hp and 331 lb-ft. Decent, but nowhere near what the Range Rover offers. All X7s come with a tow rating of 7,500 lbs for the record, and the inline-six isn't slow. BMW says it will get to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds.

The base Range Rover also has a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six but with a mild-hybrid assist. This setup produces 395 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. Thanks to the torque filling duties of the 48-volt hybrid system, low down torque is abundant.

Performance figures aren't available, but it doesn't matter in this segment. The engine we're looking forward to the most is the 2023 plug-in hybrid. The PHEV engine produces 434 hp and has an EV range of 62 miles. That's mighty impressive and more than enough for the average daily commute in the USA. When it comes to powertrains, the Landy wins as it offers a broader range of options.

Driving Front Angle Land Rover
Lateral View Land Rover

Luxury: British Luxury Vs. German Ergonomics

Both cars offer various seating options, power-adjustable seats, and all sorts of gadgets that will heat, cool, and massage your buttocks as you ride along. The X7 is at its best with second-row captain's chairs, offering second-row passengers nearly as much comfort as you get in the front seats.

In terms of gadgets, the BMW feels a bit old. It has all the features, a digital instrument cluster, and a 12.3-inch touchscreen interface. But the Range Rover is new, and every new car has to have a bunch of shock and awe features to lure customers in.

The Range Rover combines a 13.7-inch interactive driver display with a 13.1-inch curved touchscreen with haptic feedback. We also love the iconic fold-down trunk, which gives you a place to sit as you lord over the lands.

Dashboard CarBuzz
Rear Passenger Seats CarBuzz

Since it's offered in SWB and LWB formats, you get more options with the Range Rover.

While Land Rover obviously wants to conquer the seven-seat luxury barge segment, it doesn't want to lose out on all that luxury sedan business it has been stealing over the years. Land Rover's Signature Suite option is aimed at people who prefer to be driven, which BMW doesn't offer. Instead of a rear bench, Signature Suite offers individual rear seats that are power-adjustable, heated, ventilated, and come with massaging. Between the seats, you'll find a full-length center console with a fridge, cupholders, and a cubby with fancy glassware.

Other niceties include a fold-out table, an eight-inch touchscreen for setting the climate and other functions, and 11.4-inch dual touchscreens for watching Downton Abbey.

Interior Overview Land Rover
Rear Passenger Seats Land Rover
Infotainment System Land Rover
Open Trunk Land Rover

Getting Dirty: Range Rover's Hidden Talen

All of the large luxury barges are pretenders when it comes to off-roading, with the possible exception of the outgoing Land Cruiser.

Yes, they come standard with all-wheel-drive, various driving modes, and perhaps even a locking rear differential, but none of them can get down and dirty as the Range Rover can. Though little has been said on the topic, we can see one of the ceramic-coated controls near the shifter is the Terrain-Response dial. We can also see buttons for suspension settings, which means the Range Rover will still be able to rough it like a proper 4x4.

It wouldn't be worthy of the name if it couldn't, though we suspect few owners will. This was true of the previous generation and the one before that. The X7 comes with an intelligent AWD system, giving it a sure-footed feel on a gravel road, even when it's equipped with silly 22-inch alloys. It's also quite good in snow, but that's it.

2020-2021 BMW X7 Front View BMW
Side Perspective Driving Land Rover
Central Control Panel Land Rover

Price: Land Rover Makes X7 Look Like A Bargain

BMW charges around $75,000 for the xDrive 40i, before options. The M50i comes in at just under six figures. That makes it the affordable option between the two, which seems ridiculous. When last was a BMW a bargain? Land Rover is charging $104,000 for the base SE with the turbocharged six with mild-hybrid assist. You do get seven seats as standard, however. Still, the entry-level Range Rover is more expensive than the top-spec Bimmer.

If you want V8 power with all the goodies, the Autobiography costs $152,000, while the First Edition begins at $158,200. Suddenly, the X7 looks like a winner, but it's not as easy as that. You see, the X7 is BMW's first attempt at building a luxury barge. It's excellent, but not Range Rover excellent. It has no history. The Range Rover comes with a prestigious badge 51 years in the making.

Looking at the two on paper, the Range Rover seems like the obvious choice. Finally, getting behind the wheel might deliver a different verdict, however.

BMW
2020-2021 BMW X7 Badge BMW
Cargo Capacity Land Rover
Armrest Storage Land Rover

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