BMW X7: Eye Of The Beholder

By Geoff Maxted on 1 December, 2018

Beauty, it is said, is in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes it has a face that could launch a thousand ships; sometimes it has a face that only a mother could love. This is the issue with the brand new BMW X7 that will be on sale from April 2019 with a starting price of around £70,000. You will either love it or you won’t. There can be no middle way.

BMW say that this new SUV is set to redefine automotive luxury. It’s a 4×4 that offers exclusivity, spaciousness, superior quality (as we would expect from the German brand), strong performance from a selection of engines and off-road capability. The company also reckon that this big car will have agile handling but the jury is out on this one until it is thoroughly road tested.

Big On The Outside

It is the largest model in the BMW X line-up with three rows of seats. At the front, Adaptive LED headlights and front fog lamps are standard, while BMW ‘Laserlights’ are optional. This latter system employs a spotlight with a selective beam that delivers a non-dazzling high beam range of 600 metres. Useful on dark country roads.

Viewed from the side, the BMW X7 features clearly structured surfaces and a character line that rises up to the rear end and it is these elements that are part of the brand’s new design language across their range. The rear doors are longer than the front doors apparently making it even easier to get in and out. Fully body-coloured wheel arches house light-alloy wheels in formats of up to twenty-two inches.

Matt aluminium grille bars and an array of accents in High-Gloss Chrome highlight the front and this is the main area of contention. Is that grille attractive or does it make the car look like a basking shark? The M Sport model also features extra-large air intakes, M-specific 21-inch light-alloy wheels in M twin-spoke design and a distinctive look for the front apron, rear apron and side skirts.

Big On The Inside

The BMW X7 has three rows of seats that offer space for up to seven adults. The third row has two full-size seats with space between them – a first for a 4×4. A standard-fit glass roof adds to the spacious feel while cupholders and armrests integrated into the side panel trim offer additional comfort from what is undoubtedly a luxury cabin environment.

Boot (trunk) capacity is 326 litres and increases to a maximum 2,120 litres when the backrests of the seats in the second and third rows are folded down.

The interior of the BMW X7 has a newly designed display grouping that comes as part of the standard-fitted BMW Live Cockpit Professional includes a Control Display and a fully-digital instrument cluster – each with a screen diagonal of 12.3-inches. A sports leather steering wheel is also standard. The iDrive Controller, the newly designed gear selector, start/stop button, the Driving Experience Control switch controls, electric parking brake button and the settings for the air suspension and optional off-road modes are all located in the centre console.

Big On Power

Six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines feature turbochargers and are aligned to eight-speed Steptronic transmission, which has a wider gear ratio spread and new control electronics. This reduces engine speeds, particularly in higher gears, which helps to increase overall efficiency.

A car that is as versatile as this one, as long as it drives like a BMW should, can perhaps be forgiven if it does not win the automotive beauty pageant. It’s all in the eye of the beholder.

Geoff Maxted