There is a new kid on the block! The BMW X7 is BMW’s new space ship. A car for people that need the space of a MPV but want the looks and luxury of a SUV.

The BMW X7 comes standard with three seating rows and a range of high-end features like a panoramic sunroof, all electric seats and high-end infotainment. As an adult the third seat row is not really usable – I did not even dare to try climbing over the folded down second row seat to get myself stuck in the last row. But there is a six seater option with two separate seats on the second row which gives better access to the third row and it looks and feels a lot more luxurious too.

The X7 is as much about luxury as it is about versatility. If you tick some boxes on the list of optional extras you can equip the new XXL SUV pretty much as luxurious as you like. Massage seats? No problem. Rear seat entertainment? Done. Bowers & Wilkins high-end audio? You got it! The available luxury makes the X7 a very pleasant travel companion as we experienced on our journey from Los Angeles to Palm Springs.

The new BMW X7 will be available with four different engines from launch. Two diesel engines and two petrol engines. All come with an eight-speed Steptronic transmission.

2020 BMW X7 xDrive50i

The entry-level diesel X7 is the BMW X7 xDrive30d. It comes with a 3 liter six-cylinder in-line diesel engine producing 265 hp and 620 Nm. Acceleration from 0 – 100 km/h takes 7.0 seconds and the X7 30d has a top speed of 227 km/h. The BMW X7 M50d is the top of the range diesel variant with a 3 liter six-cylinder in-line diesel engine producing 400 hp and 760 Nm of torque. Acceleration from 0 – 100 km/h is done in 5.4 seconds and the top speed is limited to 250 km/h.

The BMW X7 xDrive40i comes with a 3 liter six-cylinder in-line petrol engine which produces 340 hp and 450 Nm of torque. Acceleration from 0 – 100 km/h is done in 6.1 seconds and the X7 xDrive40i tops out at 245 km/h. The BMW X7 xDrive50i is sadly not available in Europe although sources hint at another V8 variant to celebrate its European debut later this year. The xDrive50i we drove in the United States comes with a 4.4 liter V8 petrol engine pushing out 462 hp and 650 Nm of torque. The sprint from 0 – 100 km/h is done in a very respectable 5.4 seconds and the X7 50i will keep going until an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h.

During our test drive in California we had the opportunity to drive the two petrol variants. About the engines I can be very short; they provide sufficient power, torque and smooth gear changes. Paddles behind the wheel allow you to override the automatic gear changes although there is very little need to do that. The six-cylinder variant has a nice soundtrack already but for more emotion and power opt for the turbocharged V8.

Handling wise it is the typical direct BMW steering and stiffer ride that defines the X7. The limits of what it can do on twisty mountain roads are rather constraint by the brakes and lack of side support from the seats rather than it’s acceleration or cornering capabilities. But in the end hardly any customer will move this 2.4 tonnes+ luxury people carrier like the way we did on the press launch. For it’s purpose as a family daily driver and long haul machine it is pretty close to perfect.

The design of the new X7 is a hot debate topic and especially the new grill polarizes like no other design in recent years. I for one like the new more bold design. It is less subtle as BMW designs from the last decade but fits to a growing group of confident (young) buyers from the US and China in particular.

2020 BMW X7 xDrive 40i

The infotainment system is packed with options but can take some getting used to. The iDrive system was perfect when cars had infotainment systems with 100 functions but now that the available functions go into the thousands it is operating beyond it’s limits. It is time BMW creates a new OS from scratch that brings usability and logic on par with that of a smart phone – or Daimler’s MBUX for that matter.

The X7 also includes the latest driving assistance systems including adaptive cruise control and the latest version of the BMW traffic jam assistant which allows the car to accelerate, brake and steer without driver input up to a certain speed. Due to a recent UNECE regulation which put the EU and other countries back to the 20th century this system is only available in the US and China which did not sign the rule.

The BMW X7 is an interesting addition to the BMW portfolio and caters to a group of customers were not yet served with other products in the BMW line-up. The direct competitor is the Mercedes-Benz GLS but a comparison would be unfair at this point as the current GLS is at the end of its life-cycle. But the new one will be unveiled at the New York Auto Show in just a few weeks. So time will tell if the BMW X7 has what it takes to take the crown in this niche segment of XXL luxury SUVs.


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