This is Goliath, no matter how you cut it.
German luxury carmaker BMW has revealed the all-new X7, the flagship model in its SUV range, which aims to elevate the carmaker’s luxury SUV status to a level comparable to ultra-luxury off-roaders like the Range Rover, the Bentley Bentayga, and Mercedes-Benz GLS. Sitting higher than the X5 in the range (obviously), the BMW X7 also exaggerates BMW design language to levels hitherto unexplored by the brand, as you can probably tell by the ginormous chrome kidney grille up front.
“The latest and largest model in the BMW X line-up brings a fresh sensation of space to the luxury segment, thanks to the impressive open expanses and top-class design of its interior and its state-of-the-art equipment features. At the same time, the advanced powertrain and chassis technology of the X7 ensures it offers all the off-road prowess, excellent ride comfort and agile on-road handling for which [BMW SUVs] are renowned.” — BMW
The BMW X7’s design is certainly something that has to be addressed, given that it’s not only massive but also does precious little to hide its presence on the road. At 5151mm long, 2000mm wide, 1805mm tall, and boasting 3105mm between the wheels, the new X7 absolutely dwarfs the X5 that slots beneath it, which BMW says allows it to ‘establish itself as the head of the BMW X family.’ The design of the big brute was previewed first with the Concept X7 from last year and very little of the concept car’s notable design cues, like the prominent front fender vent and upright rump have been revised between concept to production.
While the upright-ness of the grille is something we’ve seen from BMW before, the overall fascia treatment is somewhat new for the marque. Whether we’ll continue to see grilles of this size remains to be seen, but what’s clear is that BMW is unapologetic for their enormous new car, and perhaps the better for it.
Under the skin lies broadly the same platform as used in the smaller X5, though it’s been made bigger in every measurable metric. More is shared with the X5 in terms of motivational force: The X7 will be available as an xDrive40i, an xDrive50i, and xDrive30d, and an xDriveM50d. The 50i is a V8 while the rest are straight-six mills, and its high fuel consumption means it’ll likely be the reserve of just a few markets (Europe isn’t getting it). We’re most likely going to get the X7 as a 30d and an M50d though, mirroring the X5.
The X7 xDrive30d provides 195kW of power and 620Nm of torque, while the M50d jacks that up to 294kW and 760Nm. Power goes to all-four wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox, though the M50d benefits from an M Sport differential to help put power down to the ground.
The interior of the new X7 is broadly slimmer to what we’ve seen in the X5, though it’s been given a going-over to bring it up to par for what’s being touted as the flagship SUV. As such there’s a raft of more pliant, more luxurious material thought the cabin, regardless if you go for the Design Pure Excellence trim or the sharper M Sport model. Technology gets centre stage here with iDrive 7.0, utilising two 12.3-inch screens acting as both main infotainment display and instrument binnacle.
What’s noteworthy is the seating arrangement: Being such a huge car the X7 is a standard 3-row seater, though it’s available in either a 2-3-2 arrangement or a 2-2-2 arrangement (meaning just 6 passengers). In the latter setup you get two proper captain’s chairs in the back, which are perfect either for the CEO that likes to sit higher off the road or for children that simply cannot get along. BMW says that the third row is adequate for adults over long journeys and we’re inclined to believe them, though it’s something we reckon we’ll have to see to believe.
With all seats up you get a minimum of 326L of space, while all seats down will open up as much as 2120L, or about enough to move a whole neighbourhood.
Being a flagship model, there are plenty of niceties to go around. There’s up to 5 different climate zones in the X7 (it’s a cost-option of course), as well as heated & cooled cupholders, a three-panel panoramic sunroof, a 20-speaker audio system, rear-seat entertainment, and even a BluRay DVD player (which seems unnecessary in the world of Netflix). There’s even an off-road package on offer (because buyers in this segment should never be told ‘no’) though the likelihood of that being ticked regularly isn’t high.
BMW Australia has confirmed that the new X7 will arrive on our shores in Q2 2019, though they didn’t go on to explain how we’ll be receiving it. It’s likely that both trim levels (that’s Design Pure Excellence and M-Sport) will be offered as either an xDrive30d or an xDriveM50d, just like the new BMW X5. The xDrive40i will probably debut here at some point afterwards, though the xDrive50i’s limited global offering means that it’ll probably stay well, well off the cards.