Like most luxury brands, BMW started their SUV journey in the late 1990’s, with the midsize X5 sports activity vehicle. Since then, they’ve focused their expansion efforts downward with the compact X3 and even smaller X1, not to mention coupe versions of all three. Now, they’re finally expanding upwards, joining the large ute ranks with the all-new X7.
Sure, this large, three-row 2019 BMW X7 utility seems like a no-brainer to you and me, but BMW always seems to go about things their own way; like insisting on calling their SUVs…SAVs for Sports Activity Vehicle.
And while that name probably is more appropriate than we care to admit, words we find even more fitting are Active Comfort Drive. It’s this tech marvel X7’s standard air suspension; and it keeps things controlled and virtually flat in turns; yet even in its firmest setting, is not harsh enough to upset your day. Ride quality is clearly a highlight here, something we’ve rarely ever said about a BMW.
Something else that seems to float on top of the road is BMW’s head-up display; instead of just looking like a windshield reflection as most do.
It’s very quiet inside as well; though you can break the serenity, with a “just right” amount of exhaust note should you slip it over into Sport mode.
The sounds befit either the 3.0-liter straight-6 turbo, or a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8. And while we fully appreciate the 456-horsepower and 479 lb-ft. of thrust from this revised V8, the 335-horsepower 6 is more than adequate for most.
The same 8-speed automatic transmission works with both, and xDrive is standard.
Long distance seat comfort doesn’t quite live up to Comfort Drive suspension standards, but we’d call it cozy enough.
Other available tech includes Driving Assistant Professional. It’s for hands off driving at speeds up to 37 miles-per-hour, and it will even change lanes; though it’s not the best system we’ve tried by any means. But we did find it quite helpful in stop and go, where Extended Traffic Jam Assist will keep your spot in line for you.
BMW’s personal assistant is along for the ride of course, and it even seems to know whether the driver or passenger is talking to it.
It is also quite luxurious inside, with wood trim, nicely finished leather dash, and a crystal-like shifter. iDrive is in its 7th generation believe it not, and now comes with a 12-inch touchscreen, as well as gesture control.
The gauge panel is a Live Cockpit Professional high-res display, which pushes the virtual tach and speedometer to the edges, allowing for more central info.
2nd row travelers will find lots of space, with a standard bench making for 7-passenger capacity. Captain’s chairs are also available. Wide door openings, and power seat operation allows for easy, if a bit slow, access to the 3rd row.
Headroom there is plentiful for anyone 6-foot and under, and there’s decent enough comfort; but getting adequate leg room requires 2nd row passengers sacrificing some of theirs.
No need to worry about leaving anything behind, 48.6 cubic-ft. of space behind the 2nd row, maxing out at 90.4 with all the seats folded.
For a non-traditional SUV brand, the X7 looks fairly traditional. Big with sharp angles; stopping just short of full-boxy.
Assembled in Spartanburg, South Carolina, right alongside the X5, the X7 is about 10-inches longer, but only outweighs it by about 500-lbs.
It would take much more weight than that to slow down our V8 tester. A Costco-sized package of torque pushes this thing off the line in a hurry. No slip, all grip. xDrive and consistently-working launch control, had us hitting 60 in just 4.8-seconds.
Tires chirp as you hit 2nd gear, with the 8-speed delivering shifts that are equally fast and smooth. It’s a quick 13.3-second trip through the ¼-mile; completed at 105 miles-per-hour.
Like a 1st round D-line draft pick, the big X7 was sneaky fast through our cone drill. We’d stop short of calling the experience sporty, as you’re dealing with so much mass here; but it clearly exudes BMW composure throughout, regardless of speed, with the ability to find hints of both oversteer and understeer.
M Sport brakes are a “no joke” option; consistently bringing this beast to a halt in just 110-feet.
V8 Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 15-City, 21-Highway, and 17-Combined; we averaged 18.4 miles-per-gallon with Premium fuel.
The biggest BMW utility yet, comes with a fairly sizable price tag as well; $74,895 if you can make do with the 6-cylinder xDrive40i. If you need V8 power, the xDrive50i will cost you at least $93,595.
With the arrival of the 2019 X7, BMW now has a full utility lineup that stacks up very well against any Global rival; and there’s no telling where they’ll go next, but at least now, more people can comfortably go along for the ride.
Engine: 4.4 liter
Torque: 479 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 4.8 seconds
1/4 mile: 13.3 seconds @ 105 mph
EPA: 15 mpg city / 21 mpg highway