Interior:Cognac Vernasca Leather
Refined, modern, and enormous, BMW’s biggest SUV yet is finally here—even if the jury is still out on its dynamics.
But the new BMW X7 three-row SUV mitigates the mundane in more ways than one. It makes driving on these roads tolerable – hell, borderline enjoyable – in some instances. Though its top-end positioning suggests it’s exclusively a posh SUV for the whole family (and for the most part, it is), what’s most surprising is how fun it feels from the driver’s seat – a rarity amongst three-row luxo barges.
Toss the X7 into a corner, and the results are unexpected. Rather than roll uncouthly as its 5,600-pound curb weight reaches for the pavement, the X7 tackles the tight stuff with surprising poise. When equipped with the $4,750 M Dynamic Handling package, which adds bigger M Sport brakes, an M Sport differential, and active steering that acts almost telepathically as it predicts corners, the X7 is a genuinely fun vehicle to toss around.
The X7’s styling is unsurprisingly similar to its smaller X5 sibling’s, despite an increase in every exterior dimension except width. It’s a substantial machine, measuring nearly 17 feet long, which makes it nine inches longer than the X5 and 1.3 inches longer than the GLS450. Its colossal kidney grille enlarges the X7’s nose to emergency-rhinoplasty proportions.
The X7’s interior is some of BMW’s best work yet. The large windshield and sensibly sized pillars provide an expansive forward view. For a price, the front cupholders can be heated and cooled, nearly every surface can be covered in leather, and the shifter and other controls can be spec’d in the glass. Even the plastics feel a notch above the competitions. The 12.3-inch infotainment screen renders crisp images and is easy to operate via a finger on the touchscreen or with the familiar iDrive control knob. We’re not fans of the opposing swings of the speedometer and tachometer on the digital instrument cluster, though. Fortunately, physical buttons still exist to manage most HVAC controls.
The xDrive40i starts at $74,895. A V8 xDrive50i is almost nineteen grand more at $93,595. These prices fall just above the V6-equipped Mercedes-Benz GLS and below the V8-equipped Benz. The BMW is newer and better looking between the two, at least to my eye. Moreover, that creamy smooth V8 can make a value argument over the GLS.
But the Mercedes knows exactly what it is: A big SUV chock full of luxury and total competence on the road, whereas the BMW still seems to be flirting with its performance sedan youth and not owning up to its true stature. Regardless, the X7 is definitely worth a test drive. Just stick with the standard wheel and tire package and I bet it will feel just right.