01 Nov 2019 | 12.54 pm
Roadtest: BMW X7
Massive SUV, for those not woke at all
01 Nov 2019 | 12.54 pm
BMW believes its X7 will resonate with ‘fresh thinkers, the frontrunners, the intellectual elite, the avant garde’. Mark Gallivan takes it for a spin
BMW is making no bones about the company’s intentions with its new BMW X7. The X7 is now the seven-seat 4×4 flagship of the X range and is targeting the Range Rover in its own pink-gravelled backyard. Indeed, BMW is boldly calling the new X7 the 7 Series of the SUV segment.
Borrowing much of the underpinnings, cabin displays and engine from the X5, X7 pricing starts at €114,750 (ordinary 7 Series starts from €96,160). The X7 is available from launch in Ireland in two 3.0-litre diesels in standard or M-Sport, and one petrol engine.
The X7 is the largest car that BMW has ever launched and is manufactured in South Carolina, with the primary target market for the vehicle being the US and China. With its imposing double kidney grille, yummy mummies ferrying their daughters to Mount Anville will make an impression in the X7, though whether the car’s massive size and gas guzzling ostentation resonates with teenage wokers is another matter.
The most impressive feature of the X7 is the interior. In a personal seven-seater first, I carried seven adults on a short trip and nobody complained about interior legroom or space. Even the third row of passengers has its very own cup-holders, USB charging ports and controls for climate control with heated seats. With all the rear seats folded electrically, a massive 750 litres of luggage space is available.
Room On Wheels
As Adrian van Hooydonk, chief designer at the BMW Group helpfully explains: “The perception of luxury is very different worldwide. But a central aspect that becomes visible everywhere is the increasing significance of personal time. It is becoming the most valuable asset in a globalised world. Cars are now like personal rooms on wheels and one wants to feel completely comfortable in them. The interior of a vehicle is seen as a living space. It is about being surrounded by the highest possible sensuous quality.”
His colleague Hadi Teherani, another BMW designer, adds: “Just as a philosopher expresses himself through words and writing, we can do this through spaces. Quite an extreme example: when you enter a cathedral, the height and size of the room suggest something. The individual should feel small and be impressed by the omnipotence. In architecture, we say space is luxury. The larger the room, the more luxury is possible. You might get by with less space, but generosity is a beautiful feeling that we can create with our work. It’s a desirable form of luxury.”
I had concerns how the 3.0-litre diesel with just 265bhp might cope with the X7’s 2,320kg. The 620Nm of torque helped the BMW feel adept and did an excellent impression of an overly-laden X5 in the corners. The engine and 8-speed gearbox are standouts, with smooth upshifts and virtually no shunting jolts. As you might expect, the X7 is exceptionally quiet and an outstanding partner for long distance trips.
Standard features on the X7 are soft-close doors, ambient lighting, high beam assist, gesture control and 21-inch alloy wheels. The cost of X7 extras mounts up rapidly. The Premium package at €4,640 gets you front massage seats, ambient air and five-zone air conditioning. The Visibility package that incorporates laser lights is priced at €2,280. The Technology package that offers head-up display and a Harmon Kardon sound system adds €5,320 to your outlay. Want your X7 to ride on 22-inch wheels with run-flat tyres like on the test X7? That will be another €3,280.
After a ten-year bull market in the US, these extras won’t bother the one percenters that BMW has in its sights. In fact, think of the X7 as a 1% badge that screams ‘I’m not woke at all’.