Still think BMW is a company that builds saloons and coupes? With the introduction of the X7, there are now as many SUV model lines in the range as anything else. It might not be the first choice of an enthusiast, but in truth people want to buy SUVs, and satisfying that demand makes good financial sense as well as swelling the kitty for more niche products.
The X7 is designed to take on large, high-luxury SUVs like the Range Rover and Mercedes-Benz GLE, mixing practicality and the ability to carry seven adults with upgraded materials and comfort features. The tape measure provides some clarity; the X7 has the greatest overall length and the longest wheelbase in the class bar the Range Rover LWB, and is wider than all sizes of the JLR offering, the Audi Q7 and the Mercedes-Benz GLE.
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BMW X7: in detail
- > Performance and 0-60mph time - Performance is better than you'd ever need with six other people on board. The Quad-turbo M50d has incredible shove
- > Engine and gearbox - All X7s have a 3-litre straight-six unit made up of two diesels and a single, turbocharged petrol
- > Ride and handling - Highly competent, but you never get away from the X7's considerable mass
- > MPG and running costs - the diesels actually hit some extremely impressive numbers considering the X7's size and weight
- > Interior and tech - Identical to the X5, bar its extra space - it's beautifully made, if slightly generic
- > Design - The X7 is, ahem, distinctive. Brash, bold and unapologetic
Prices, specs and rivals
In standard specification the X7 starts at £72,195, rising to £74,195 for the xDrive40i and £87,280 for the M50d, with the xDrive30d M Sport likely to be the biggest seller at £74,655. Standard equipment is undoubtedly generous, with 21-inch alloy wheels, air suspension, electric heated seats all round and the high-specification infotainment system. Add the M Sport pack and you get different alloy wheels, the M Sport brake package, plus the exterior and interior flashes including the fatter steering wheel and token trim elements.
The Range Rover may be the key rival but it takes a different tack, focusing solely on luxury and comfort rather than any pretense at sportiness. It is arguably more discreet, relatively speaking, and has a better image as a result, but isn’t anything like as practical whether long-wheelbase or not.
The Mercedes-Benz GLE is about to be updated and is the closest rival in terms of features and functions, but the outgoing car is not as nice to drive as the X7, although practically speaking it is just as capable.