The letter X is very important to the BMW brand, especially in Australia. X precedes any of its SUV range which until recently stood at six models. But now the mother ship of all BMW SUV’s has arrived, the X7. Think of it as a 7 series on stilts, I recently spent a week in the ‘entry’ level X7 xDrive30d.
What is it?
Depending on your wallet, family size or just pure ego you can find a BMW X car to suit you. From the X1 right through to the X7, the brand is sure to have your needs covered.
The X7 is simply a glorious, if not a tad pretentious way to whisk you away each day. It sees you elevated far away from the rest of the general public. The front end features the most gaping kidney grille interpretation yet. Some love it, others think it’s an atrocity. I think you need to see one fill your rear-view mirror to truly appreciate the sheer dominance it imparts.
It literally says, “hey you I’m a f#$ing big BMW”.
Under the one-acre sized bonnet is a 3.0-litre turbo diesel with 620Nm of torque. This sees the Goliath of the BMW range bolt to 100km/h in just seven seconds. There’s a M50d variant that I drove in the Flinders Ranges that will do it in 5.4-seconds, which is crazy.
The space inside is massive, it’s very much a true seven-seater. While not as wide as say a Lexus LX 570 or even Nissan Patrol V8, it’s a far more sublime experience. It’s like flying business class minus the mini bar.
The seats are bolstered and smothered in beautiful leather, there are vents everywhere for four-zone air-conditioning, outer armrests for every seat aside from the 2nd row middle human.
Cargo space is plentiful when the third row is electrically folded away. If you get the typical litres measurement scale it equates to 750-litres or 326-litres with the rear row upright.
There are few better ways on earth to transport seven.
Behind the wheel
I have lived with the Lexus 570 LX for just on three months now, you know, the blinged up Toyota Land Cruiser. Now while that and the X7 are structurally very different they still weigh about the 2.5-tonne mark, so around 3-tonne when loaded to the hilt. The adaptive air suspension on the Lexus does an admirable job, but the X7 is in another class. In fact, it nears driving like a hot hatch, not that I’d ever encourage that.
Most people would be flat out picking that there’s an oil burner up front. The TwinPower turbo delivers enough thrust to push you back firmly into the work of several cows.
I could not believe how well tied down the X7 is, especially on my route home that features about 400 corners.
Depending what drive mode you’re in, at times it does feel like you’re riding a flying mattress. Comfort mode results in not a whole load of steering feel but does soak up just about everything thrown at the 20-inch rims. Sport mode really plants the X7 and was my default drive mode. It comes close to obliterating any sign of body roll or pitching. It’s very, very impressive indeed.
The xDrive30d is catapulted forward via a 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder turbo diesel. It produces 195kW/620Nm, that substantial torque figure arrives at 2000rpm. All four-wheels are driven on demand via slick eight-speed transmission.
The X7 M50d is a quad-turbo upgrade and delivers 294kW/760Nm. Although I have driven this car hundreds of kilometres it was mostly on dirt. I’ll have one on the road in a couple of weeks.
When it comes to just about every car these days it’s almost a copy and paste job when it comes to explaining the safety systems on board. The X7 has it all via a vast array of cameras and sensors. Basically, if you hit something, including a person or cyclist you were driving like a moron. But if someone does hit you at least there are eight airbags.
The 12.3-inch screen is not a touchscreen, but there are multiple ways to control it. Including via the centre rotary dial, voice recognition, buttons on the steering wheel and even gesture control.
Wireless Apple CarPlay comes as standard, but you’ll pay. But up to $639.00 if you want it for life.
The big Beemer starts at $119,900 but like our test car once you start adding options expect something closer to $145,000 and beyond. The M50d starts at $169,900. The claimed fuel economy is 7.3L/100km, which is a tad ambitious although I did manage to stay near 10.0L/100km. It’s covered by a three year/unlimited kilometre warranty.
Why would you want one?
Because you have money to burn, a lucky family and you hate the neighbours Range Rover.
Although the bloated kidney grille may be a turn off, it won’t stop me raving about the US built X7. It’s bigger than an Audi Q7 and the Mercedes-Benz GLS. So, if big is better it must be the best right? It’s an 8.9 out of 10 from me.