Beastly BMW: Hitting the road with the luxurious X7
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Meet the newest, and biggest, member of the BMW New Zealand team — the all-new X7. But don’t be intimidated by its imposing large grille.
The X7 concept was revealed at the 2017 Geneva motor show before going into production in October last year.
The X7 is basically a 7 Series in the form of an SUV; it has all the luxury you’d expect (leather seats, high-quality fittings, and the latest technology including “hey BMW”).
It’s on sale in New Zealand with four models available. The xDrive30d sits on 20in alloys, has a 3-litre, six-cylinder diesel producing 195kW of power and 620Nm of torque and is priced from $146,200. Next is the $162,800 X7 xDriven30d M Sport with the same engine as above but on 22in and M Sport additions and packaging.
The $164,900 xDrive40i M Sport is the only petrol in the range with a 3-litre, six-cylinder engine (250kW/450Nm) and also on 22in alloys.
Finishing the line-up is the X7M50d with the 3-litre diesel engine producing 294kW of power and 760Nm of torque.
All models have an eight-speed sport automatic transmission.
The X7 comes standard as a three-row seven-seater or optional six-seater with the second row having just two seats.
The seven-seater has electronic adjustable seats that move with the touch of a button at the rear. And it does take just one touch — not like us who kept pushing the button as the seats took a few seconds to initiate. And no, repeatedly shoving the button doesn’t make it work faster — it just confuses the X7.
It’s not as if we didn’t know. At the handover of our X7 xDriven30d M Sport at BMW NZ’s headquarters, we were told, repeatedly, to push the button just once. But when we were showing the large SUV to a potential buyer, we pushed the rear button to make the two rows of passenger seats lay flat. And it didn’t work immediately so we did it again. Nope. So we locked it by remote, and then tried again. Success.
The electronic seats do work and they are needed. That’s because the X7 is so long and has a split tailgate that if you were to manually lay the third row flat, you’d have to clamber into the boot.
But what makes the X7 so special is that BMW says that this large SUV has the largest kidney grille fitted to one of its vehicles. And it’s dominating in a way that is needed.
This SUV is saying, “I’m big and I know it.” But BMW NZ is also keen to point out that, yes, it’s long (at 5151mm) and high (1805mm) but it is just as wide as the X5 and there’s only 265mm difference in length between the two.
What makes the X7 look longer is that all the side panels are the same size, meaning the third row has genuine adult-sized seats.
The X7 is more imposing than its competitors: Mercedes-Benz’s GLS, the Audi Q7 and the Range Rover.
There is also heaps of interior space with the front cabin resembling a first-class airline suite and, taking a line from BMW NZ, the third row is business class, not economy.
With the three rows in operation, you have 320 litres of boot space. Fold down the last row and you have 750 litres. And if you flip down the second row, the interior is about the size of an inner-city Auckland apartment.
So what is it like to drive? The X7’s vast size took a while to adjust to. Navigating inner city streets and our tiny work carpark was challenging. But it has front and rear sensors, a 3D view camera, and self-parking.
What we needed was to get out of the city so we headed west of Auckland to South Head; a route that combines motorway, 80km/h areas, 50km/h spots and then the crests and falls of the open road drive to the edge of the Kaipara Harbour.
The X7 needed some space to overtake, but it steers with confidence and little body roll around corners plus sureness on bumpy services thanks to the xDrive permanent all-wheel drive system.
There’s also the option to dial in driving experiences: sport, comfort and eco pro modes.
Seriously, you don’t need the last one. We opted for sport on the motorways and open road and comfort for around town.