- 7 seats as standard
- Incredible levels of refinement and luxury
- Loaded with state-of-the-art technology
There is no arguing that big SUVs have attracted something of a bad press over recent years. Many people seemed to not like the bold looks, high stance and fuel usage.
But that has done little to dent their popularity. As the luxury limo has slid into decline, the behemoth offroader – which is actually seldom seen off-road – has seen a sales surge.
Design and Practicality
Weighing in at more than two and a quarter tonnes and measuring more than five metres in length, the X7 sports a grille the size of Buckingham Palace gates and needs a grab handle to climb into.
As expected, passenger and luggage space is vast. Five adults sit in real comfort and opulence, with space in the final row of seats for a couple of kids or slim, flexible adults.
When all seats are occupied, you will get around 320 litres of luggage in the available boot. Fold down the rear row at a touch of a button and this expands to a generous 750 litres and ultimately, with two rows folded, there is room for 2,120 litres.
Equipment and Technology
At first, it feels you are climbing into a very luxurious tree house – such is the height of the X7. Superbly furnished and beautifully appointed with Bowers and Wilkins audio, rear TV screens and goose down head cushions, it measures up well to the likes of Range Rover and even Bentley.
Sitting high above the road and enveloped in large, comfortable leather seats, you get a commanding view of all around.
The fascia follows the usual BMW pattern with solid switchgear and high quality fitments, including twin large 12.3-inch display screens. Just about every accessory you could think of is present, including a huge panoramic glass sunroof, the front section of which opens.
Engine and Performance
From the choice of engines available – 3.0-litre and 4.0-litre petrol, 3.0-litre diesels and the thundering M50i with no less than 523bhp – we tested the diesel 40d as it is one of the most popular options in the range.
The big diesel is pleasantly muted and under hard acceleration emits a V8-like roar which dies down to barely a whisper at cruising speeds. Very relaxed and calm with little road noise or wind intrusion.
With 335bhp available from the 3.0-litre turbo engine, the 40d picks up its heels nicely, covering the dash from 0 to 62mph in 6.1 seconds and ample mid-range urge for rapid overtaking. The 8-speed auto gearbox is slick and intuitive and well-matched to the power unit. Steering paddles are there if you fancy taking more control of things.
Yet despite its height and girth, the X7 remains surprisingly manoeuvrable and wieldy and, in fact, is seriously satisfying to drive once you adjust to its size. Many will be surprised that it is pretty frugal, with an official average of 36mpg.
Unlike most large SUVs, the steering has genuine feel and weighs up nicely as cornering speeds increase. Obviously, the pure physics of the BMW’s mass count against in when hustling through bends, but cornering is sure-footed and safe with limited body roll.
Once you are used to the sheer size and mass of the X7, it is easy to live with – apart from supermarket market parking, that is – and it delivers more driving satisfaction than most in the sector.
Staying true to BMW, the X7 also drives like a car, which is much sought-after when looking for an SUV, especially when it is a large example, like the X7. If you are after a luxury 7-seater that does it all, the X7 is a decent proposal.