Written by Andre James
Photography courtesy of BMW USA
Part of the Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) segment, BMW's long-anticipated X7 three-row crossover is the latest and largest model in the BMW X line-up and represents the carmaker's ongoing model offensive in this niche.
The SAV's commanding presence, when viewed from the front, comes courtesy of the largest kidney grill ever for a BMW. The generous width of the car is further accentuated by slim twin headlights with striking blue x-shaped elements. Rear doors are longer than those at the front, which speak to the spaciousness inside. This design element, combined with ample ground clearance, makes getting in and out a breeze. At the rear, the space between the LED taillights in bridged by a chrome bar, a design cue borrowed from the BMW 7 Series sedan. The electric two-section split tailgate offers hands-free operation with the optional Comfort Access Package.
The Design Pure Excellence equipment line, the M Sport package and BMW individual options offer a dizzying array of customization options for customers looking to create a truly personal expression in terms of appearance and performance. Accents in matte aluminum or high-gloss chrome, XL wheels, six colors of Vernasca leather, and oversized intakes are but a few of the alternatives that can be opted for on the outside.
Inside the elegantly appointed cabin, three rows of seats can comfortably accommodate up to seven passengers. Two individual seats with space between them can be specified for the middle row as an option, a first for an SAV. Drivers of the X7 can control various seating positions throughout the vehicle using a control panel integrated within the driver's door. Adding to the feeling of spaciousness is the standard electrically-operated panoramic glass roof that extends to the third row. At night, the Sky Lounge spreads LED light across the glass roof to mimic a starry sky. Customers can create their desired ambiance throughout the cabin by selecting from six lighting hues and a variety of settings via the iDrive control system.
The standard BMW Live Cockpit Professional includes a Control Display and a fully digital instrument cluster. Intuitively grouped in the center console are the iDrive Controller, the gear selector, the start/stop button, the Driving Experience Control switch, and buttons regulating the air suspension and optional off-road modes. Luxe glass applications are an available option for selected controls.
"Hey BMW" is the casual prompt to summon the digital helper as part of the standard BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant. For those desiring to be on a first-name basis with their digital PA, the driver also has the option of giving the system a name of their choosing. Over time, the PA learns the driver's routines, preferences, and habits and can subsequently apply them in the appropriate context. Saying "Hey BMW, I'm cold," will prompt the PA to spring into action and adjust the temperature accordingly.
For getting even cozier with the car, there's a Caring Car function. It offers a choice of four in-car experiences that encompass functions such as seat massage, fragrance, and music to suit the driver's current mood. Also of note is the Digital Key function, which allows the car to be locked and unlocked using a smartphone, thereby dispensing with the need for a conventional car key.
The trio of turbo-charged engine variants benefit from the latest generation BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive and newly developed, precisely tuned chassis technology. There’s a twin-turbo 456-hp 4.4-liter V-8 in the X7 xDrive50i and a 335-hp 3.0-liter six-cylinder in-line engine in the X7 xDrive40i. The 4.4-liter Turbo V8 with an M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology package in the X7 M50i enables the 0 to 60mph sprint in 4.5 seconds. All three engines boast an eight-speed Steptronic transmission with a wider gear ratio and new control electronics that help to increase the drive system's overall efficiency. A pillow-like ride comes courtesy of its two-axle air suspension with automatic self-leveling.
Built at the BMW Plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, pricing for the BMW X7 starts at $74,895.