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2019 BMW X7 xDrive50i Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Automotive, BMW, SUV, Test Drives

After my first endeavor with the all-new BMW X7 earlier this year, I was intrigued and nearly convinced that BMW had conjured up something that’s been lacking in today’s crossover-craved world in America. Having already had some time with the BMW X7, it was exciting to get one to drive for a full week and finish the experiences that I started some time ago. After my time with the X7, I’m almost ready to buy one considering it is essentially the larger version of the X5 that’s been wanted to comfortably seat more than five people in the lap of luxury with the expected performance from BMW.

>> Get the best price on the new BMW X7 from a network of local dealers now. <<

The new BMW X7 comes to us as a 7-Series in crossover form but mostly builds upon what the X5 has to offer – abet larger and more accommodating in a true three-row crossover form. The new X7 gets two engine choices initially, either a turbocharged 6-cylinder with 335 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque in the X7 xDrive40i or a potent twin-turbo V8 with 456 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque in my X7 xDrive50i test vehicle. Both engine choices get mated to a direct-feeling 8-speed automatic transmission. Power is delivered to all four wheels and my loaded up X7 xDrive50i benefits from rear-wheel integral steering that virtually shortens the wheelbase to give better maneuverability and steering response at all speeds.

The new X7 has a unique character. The X7, fundamentally, is very different from the X5 but in a good way considering it has an extra heft to carry around and does so gracefully, especially with the turbocharged V8 power. The control of the body is kept in check from its adaptive dampers and air suspension system but feels to loft around a bit more for my tastes in the default Comfort drive mode. I found myself utilizing a customized Sport Individual drive mode most of the time to put the suspension into its sport mode that lowers the vehicle for a lower center of gravity and more of stable feel all without diminishing the ride quality. Surprisingly, the ride quality was still smooth in the sport suspension mode. The full-on Sport mode was a bit too much for the drive management where the transmission mapping was too aggressive for everyday driving.

The BMW X7’s demeanor is plush as is most of its driving character until you push the vehicle hard. The BMW X7 reacts well to being flogged – but not too much – for such a big crossover utility vehicle. At times, it seems to tackle tasks that you wouldn’t think it could, such as launching to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds or carve up twisty roads with confidence. While the X7 is undoubtedly big and heavy at 5,617 pounds, it hides some of that weight with a graceful driving attitude to keep it nicely planted on the road, where you want it to be. For those who like to go exploring, if they dare, the X7 has a few tricks to literally rise to the occasion with its air suspension system and crawl through rough terrain. Though, the X7 has its limitations considering trims like my test vehicle are shod with large 22-inch rollers wrapped in beefy run-flat performance tires with a 315-width out back and 275s up front.

Adding to what I experienced a few months ago with a quick spin of the new X7, it is apparent that BMW wanted to make a statement and they have done such in many ways with its largest vehicle yet. The new X7 exhibits an almost comically-large front kidney grille with active shutters. The grille demands attention visually as it acts to capture additional air to feed the thirsty twin-turbo V8 engine. The power surges strong without any apparent turbo lag. The only drama experienced from the drivetrain is utilizing the almost-useless launch mode, which brings about unwanted bucking and lumpy shifts, which don’t do much to improve upon its already-great acceleration.

Inside of the new BMW X7 is a plush interior adorned with plentiful luxury amenities, all that you would want up front with seat heating, ventilation, and massaging functions. The latest climate controls with a dedicated color display has several zones for passengers while the latest iDrive infotainment unit and wireless Apple CarPlay are welcomed changes. The recent change noticed was the wireless Apple CarPlay appears to have been updated to utilize only Bluetooth instead of Wi-Fi, which now allows your iPhone to access the Internet through your cell service without interruption. Before, in previous iterations of iDrive, the wireless Apple CarPlay would take up the Wi-Fi signal of your iPhone and interfere with apps having Internet access making apps like Waze nearly useless.

The new iDrive system, with a short learning curve, becomes a good companion in your journeys in the X7. There are many hidden features, such as the “Hey BMW” voice command that somewhat mimics the one found in new Mercedes vehicles. Other aspects of the iDrive system remain to be remarkably responsive and redundant in their control from either iDrive controller and physical buttons or the high-resolution touchscreen that is within easy reach.

Seating areas in the X7 are smartly designed with plentiful space for tall passengers and offer power adjustments in the second row to accommodate most. One disappointing fact is the second-row captain’s chairs do not offer seat ventilation, a feature that is now available on three-row crossovers half the price of the new X7. The third-row is decent for space, and you could get away sitting back there for a few hours without issue.

BMW’s new X7 is a good answer to Mercedes and their GLS. The two are close competitors in a landscape that closely critiques SUVs. Though, with new luxury three-row crossovers, you must pay to play and in the realm of Z-Germans, the BMW X7 isn’t cheap with a starting price of $92,600 and my nearly loaded test vehicle having a price of $117,945. However, you would be hard-pressed to find a better three-row crossover at such a price without moving to body-on-frame SUVs.

Get the best price on the new BMW X7 from a network of local dealers now. <<


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