BMW X7 (2019-present)

Big and bold BMW X7 is spacious, luxurious and good to drive, but at this price it needs to feel even more special than it does.

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Good to drive
Extremely spacious and comfortable
Cutting edge technology

Weaknesses 

Expensive to buy
Feels big on the road
Lacks ‘special’ feel of rivals

Over the past decade or so BMW has become as well known for its SUVs as its saloon cars. However, the new X7 represents its first step into the high end seven seater off-roader market, taking on talented rivals such as the Range Rover Sport, Audi Q7 and Land Rover Discovery. Priced at between £72,195 to £87,280 it’s closer to the Range Rover in price, but more on a par with the more spacious Land Rover and Audi for practicality.

If you’re paying for an imposing presence on the road, then it could be argued the BMW X7 is decent value for money. It’s not the most graceful or elegant car, but with its huge front grille, large 21-inch alloy wheels and bluff proportions it’s unlikely to missed or mistaken for anything else.

The vast exterior dimensions (it breaks the tape measure at over five metres long) translate into a cavernous interior. Unlike many seven seater models the BMW X7 is, like the Land Rover Discovery, capable of transporting seven adults in comfort - even the two seats in the third row offer ample head and legroom. Better still, all the rear seats are electrically powered, meaning stowing and raising them takes little more than the touch of a button. With all seven seats in place the BMW X7 has a reasonable 326-litres of boot space, which compares favourably to the 259-litres offered by the Land Rover Discovery, but lags behind the 451-litres of the Volvo XC90. The tables are turned when all the rear seats are lowered, the BMW X7 trailing the Land Rover’s 2406-litre capacity by 286-litres.

As you’d expect for such an expensive car, the BMW X7’s interior looks very smart and is beautifully finished. If we have a criticism is that at this level the cabin should feel more special and bespoke - look around and you’ll see the design is very similar to the much cheaper X3 and X5 models. Still, there’s no denying the quality (Merino leather is standard and covers the seats, door trims and dashboard) and the amount of kit, plus the fact the layout works extremely well.

The dashboard is dominated by a pair of 12.3-inch TFTs - one for the dials ahead of the driver, the other a centrally-mounted TFT screen. The latter is easy to operate, features crisp graphics and pairs seamlessly with most mobile phones. On top of that its has BMW’s gesture functionality, which allows you to swipe through menus and adjust the volume with a wave of your hand. It works surprisingly well, but is just a little gimmicky.

Of course the hi-tech approach extends to the way the BMW drives, although it’s worth bearing in mind that many of the autonomous driving aids are optional extras. A surround view camera, active parking aid and a reversing assistant are standard, but you’ll need to fork out for the Technology Pack to access to the full adaptive cruise control. This not only maintains a gap to the car in front, but will control throttle and brakes in slow moving traffic and steer the car on the motorway, allowing you to take your hands off the wheel for up to 60 seconds if conditions are favourable.

When you do take control you’ll find the BMW X7 is impressively composed and agile for such a big machine, its precise steering and the lofty driving position allowing you to place the car accurately. It also delivers unexpected agility, allowing you to thread it through a series of corners with pace and confidence - although you’re always acutely aware of the vast dimensions. However, the caveat here is that all the versions we’ve driven have been fitted with the optional Integral Active Steering, which is essentially a four-wheel steering set-up. By steering the rear wheels as well as the fronts it creates a tighter turning circle and helps the BMW X7 feel a lot more wieldy.

Fortunately the air suspension set-up is standard, which means you get the same cushioned ride whatever version you choose - it’s easily a match for the equally comfortable Land Rover Discovery. You can also raise the ride height for some light off-roading, or lower it for easier passenger and luggage access.

Last Updated 

Friday, April 26, 2019 - 15:00

Key facts 

Warranty: 
3 years / unlimited miles
Boot size: 
660 litres
Width: 
2000mm
Length: 
5151mm
Height: 
1805mm
Tax: 
£830 to £1240 in first year, £465 thereafter

Best BMW X7 for... 

BMW X7 xDrive 30d
BMW X7 xDrive 30d - the 3.0-litre diesel claims to return between 32.8 and 33.6mpg depending on wheel size. The figures are the same for entry-level and M Sport versions with this engine.
BMW X7 xDrive 30d
all X7 models get a vast interior and seven seats, with those in the third row comfortably accommodating adults. Entry-level X7 also has smallest wheels for marginally improved ride - although all models effortlessly soak away bumps.
BMW X7 M50d
the 395bhp M50d comfortably takes the honours here, its mammoth turbo diesel engine helping it to sprint from 0-62mph in just 5.4 seconds
BMW X7 xDrive 40i M Sport
buyers still have question marks over diesel engines, but in big SUVs they still make more sense than petrols, as evidenced by the 40i’s sub 25mpg economy

BMW X7 History 

October 2018 BMW X7 makes its debut at the Los Angeles Motor Show

April 2019 BMW X7 goes on sale in the UK

Understanding BMW X7 car names 

  • X7
  • Trims
    M Sport
  • Transmissions
    xDrive
  • Gearbox
    Sport Auto
  • Trims
    The X7 is available in either standard or M Sport gusies. Both are lavishly equipped, but the M Sport gets a number of aggressive looking visual enhancements.
  • Transmissions
    xDrive is BMW-speak for four-wheel drive. On smaller X SUVs there is also a two-wheel drive sDrive option.
  • Gearbox
    Sport Auto is the BMW’s eight-speed automatic with steering wheel paddle shifters for manual gear changes. It’s the only unit on the X7.

BMW X7 Engines 

Petrol: 40i
Diesel: 30d, M50d

Currently there are three engines (well, technically two, but one is available in two states of tune) you can choose from on the X7.

Expected to be the best seller and arguably the best suited to the refined and comfortable BMW is the 30d. Essentially the same 3.0-litre twin turbo six-cylinder diesel that’s used in everything from the 3 Series saloon through to the X5 and X6, this lusty and refined unit is fine all around performer. With 261bhp it loses out to the 282bhp Audi Q7 and 302bhp Range Rover Sport 3.0 SDV6 in the power stakes, but with a muscular 620Nm of torque and claimed 0-62mph sprint in 7.0 seconds it’s hardly a shabby performer. In fact, in most situations it delivers all the acceleration you’ll need, the slick eight-speed automatic gearbox always finding the right gear at the right time. And while its claimed fuel economy of between 32.8 and 33.6mpg might not look impressive on paper, it’s not half bad for an off-roader weighing the thick end of two and a half tons.

Of course if you need more performance, there’s always the M50d. Using a heavily modified version of the 30d’s 3.0-litre engine it delivers an impressive 395bhp and a thumping 760Nm of torque, which means this 2460kg SUV can accelerate in a sports car humbling 5.4 seconds, and were you to find yourself on a German autobahn it would hit an electronically limited 155mph. Only the 429bhp Audi SQ7 can carry seven people faster. What’s more it’s barely any less efficient than the X7 30d - although we’re not sure the M50d’s performance gains justify its £15,000 price premium over the standard car.

When it comes to big SUV models the diesel engine is still king, but that hasn’t stopped BMW adding a petrol to the X7 line-up. There’s no denying the smooth and near silent turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder powering the X7 40i has the edge on refinement over the diesel versions, but on the road and in real world conditions it feels no faster than the X7 30d yet struggles to return more than 25mpg. Unless you really don’t want a diesel, then this one is best avoided.

Fuel

Fuel economy

Power

Acceleration (0-62mph)

Top speed

30d

Diesel

32.8-33.6mpg

261hp

7.0sec

141mph

M50d

Diesel

31.0-31.4mpg

395hp

5.4sec

155mph

40i

Petrol

24.6-24.8mpg

335hp

6.1sec

152mph

BMW X7 Trims 

X7, X7 M Sport, X7 M50d

Essentially the X7 is available in two trim levels - standard and M Sport. Both come lavishly equipped, with the major differences being visual rather than any material change in equipment. The M50d is based on the M Sport specification, but with some bespoke detail changes.

For most people the standard car has everything you’re ever likely to need fitted as standard. Inside the X7 is wall-to-wall Merino leather trim, while a pair of slick looking 12.3 inch TFT screens take care of the sat-nav and an entertainment system that runs both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There’s a full length panoramic roof, seven electrically heated and powered seats, a four-zone climate control, parking sensors, LED headlamps and keyless entry.

The M Sport gets all of this, but swaps the standard car’s external chrome trim for gloss black inserts, plus gets its own style two tone 21-inch wheels that cover an upgraded M Sport braking system. Inside there are plenty of M Sport touches, including a bespoke steering wheel, pedals and trim. If nothing else the M Sport’s less showy trim materials on the outside take the edge off the X7’s vast and ostentatious front grille.

Step up to the M50d and you’ll find it gets all the same bits as the M Sport, but with the addition of a special twin exit exhaust, even larger 22-inch alloy wheels and, inside, a Harman Kardon sound system.

As with any BMW there’s an options list that’s as long as both your arms and legs combined. However, the best value is found in some of the packs, which bundle together popular options. For instance, the Technology package adds all the autonomous driving and safety kit, plus a head-up display and an upgraded hi-fi. Go for the Premium package and you’ll add heated and cooled cupholders (who knew you needed them?), five zone climate control and seats that have ventilation and a massage function/ Oh, and there’s also heated door armrests. Yes, really.

BMW X7 Reliability and warranty 

The BMW X7 is an all-new model that’s only been in showrooms for a very short while, so it’s difficult to judge it’s reliability just yet. However, it shares lots of its components and engineering with established models such as the X5 and X6, which it’s fair to say haven’t been stellar performers in Auto Express’ Driver Power customer satisfaction survey. That said, this is often more to do with owners’ lofty expectations for a premium brand like BMW rather than any inherent weaknesses with the car.

In terms of warranty, BMW’s three-year cover is pretty standard for the industry, but it goes one better than most by not setting a mileage limit during this period.

Used BMW X7 

The BMW X7 has only just hit new car showrooms, so there are currently no used examples on Buyacar. However, over the next few months more to appear, with most of these being pre-registered or low mileage dealer demonstrators. Given that BMW expects the X7 30d M Sport to be the biggest seller, albeit still in relatively small numbers, then it’ll be this model that’s most popular on used forecourts. And that’s no bad thing, because it’s the best engine and gearbox combo, while the M Sport styling changes reduce the slightly garish look of the chrome-laden standard car.

Given that big premium brand SUVs tend to depreciate heavily early in their life the X7 is likely to represent a decent used buy for those wanting a full seven-seater with a dash of luxury and on road composure.
Whether it’s worth the extra premium over, say, an equally practical and lavishly finished Land Rover Discovery is open to question though.