BMW X7 2019 REVIEW – There's a lot to like if you can look past this one thing

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BMW X7 2019

BMW X7 2019 (Image: BMW)

BMW has made smaller SUVs, or coupe-like versions of existing SUVs since, but this new X7 is its first foray into full-size Range Rover territory.

The goal is to improve on the plush comfort of the 7-series limousine to which the X7 is related, while repeating the X5 trick of best-in-class dynamics. Off-roading? It’s capable of doing so, but BMW barely mentions it.

Prices for the X7 start from £72,155 and stretch to £87,240, with even dearer versions later. Buyers might cross-shop the biggest BMW against a Land Rover Discovery or Range Rover, but also the Mercedes GLS.

The BMW X7 is a very large SUV too. At more than 5.1-metres long, it sits between the regular Range Rover and rarely spotted long-wheelbase version.

BMW X7 2019

BMW X7 2019 (Image: BMW)

BMW X7 2019

BMW X7 2019 (Image: BMW)

BMW X7 2019

BMW X7 2019 (Image: BMW)

It also weighs over 2.3 tonnes – a good amount over the already chunky X5. Underlining that, the monstrous front end makes no attempt to shrink this girth either, with glitzy over-sized kidney grilles.

It’ll loom in rear-view mirrors like a puffer fish on a rampage. Thankfully the sportily raked side view is both more conservative and appealing, so too the muscular, more familiar-looking rear end.

To begin with, the 3.0-litre turbo-petrol (badged as the 40i) is the only petrol engine. Despite having to lug all that mass around, it still offers good performance with 335bhp – it’s smooth even at higher revs, flexible enough to feel relaxed and easy-going when you’re wafting about, and perfectly quick enough when you gun the throttle – the 0 to 60mph spring is covered in just 6.1 seconds with a 152mph top speed.

The purposeful if muffled exhaust note fits the bill too. A muscly V8 will eventually find its way under that snout to create an M50i with over 500bhp. It’s sure to be an incongruously quick brick.

BMW X7 2019

BMW X7 2019 (Image: BMW)

BMW X7 2019

BMW X7 2019 (Image: BMW)

BMW X7 2019

BMW X7 2019 (Image: BMW)

There are also a pair of 3.0-litre diesels – a 30d with 261bhp that’ll return a 43.5mpg average fuel economy, and the 50d, which ups the power to 394bhp, scorches from 0 to 60mph in just 5.1 seconds and yet still tops 40mpg. Wow.

The drive complements the tone of luxurious well-being set by the interior. The X7 rides on air springs, even has fluid-filled suspension bushings to snuff out vibrations from the road surface, and is stuffed with more sound deadening than a recording studio to isolate you from wind- and road noise. It’s a serene environment in which to effortlessly lull away miles.

Like the smaller X5, though, it can still do the business when you crack on – it’s even been tuned at the Nürburgring race circuit for goodness’ sake.

The steering is fast-paced and meatily weighted, and you can firm up the suspension at the press of a button for more energetic drives – it certainly clings on heroically with its four-wheel drive, and feels impressively dynamic for such a heavy, tall car, partly thanks to rear-wheel steering to improve agility. Even so, the X7’s priorities definitely lie with comfort.

BMW X7 2019

BMW X7 2019 (Image: BMW)

BMW X7 2019

BMW X7 2019 (Image: BMW)

BMW X7 2019

BMW X7 2019 (Image: BMW)

It’s a similar story inside too. You sit high in electrically adjustable seats, with adaptive bolsters that can grip you casually and comfortably or progressively tighten round your middle, the better for sporting support.

The quality is excellent, the design enticingly slick and modern, and the Bowers & Wilkins stereo system has a tight, clean punch that transforms the entire interior into a pair of very expensive noise-cancelling headphones.

There’s BMW’s latest iDrive infotainment system too, with a 12.3-inch central screen complemented by a glossy digital instrument binnacle the same size.

Graphics are crisp, response times super-quick and it’s intuitive to use, even though a mix of touchscreen, rotary control, voice commands and even gesture control suggests otherwise.

BMW X7 2019

BMW X7 2019 (Image: BMW)

BMW X7 2019

BMW X7 2019 (Image: BMW)

BMW X7 2019

BMW X7 2019 (Image: BMW)

All models get three rows of seating. Row two passengers can electrically motor the middle seats back and forth by up to 14.5cm, and there’s even surprisingly acceptable space for large adults in the third row.

Climbing back there requires dexterity and folding of limbs, but adults can get relatively comfortable, with cupholders, arm rests and heated seats, and there are even optional vents and a control panel for the climate-control zone.

That might prove useful seeing as they’re actually in a different time zone back there.

Buyers can also option a six-seat layout, with a pair of captains’ chairs in row two.

It brings more space, comfort and opulence for the middle row, at the expense of losing a seat.

BMW X7 2019

BMW X7 2019 (Image: BMW)

BMW X7 2019

BMW X7 2019 (Image: BMW)

BMW X7 2019

BMW X7 2019 (Image: BMW)

BMW thinks 40 per cent of people will tick that box, but that might be pessimistic: the six-seat layout suits an SUV this luxurious very well, and it still gives parents, grandparents and a default two kids a trip out.

Just don’t expect to take all of them and their things skiing, because even at this length, with three rows of seating deployed, you’re left with a pretty small boot – 326 litres is only 115 litres more than BMW’s smallest car, the Mini.

You’ll only just fit a typical school rucksack in lengthways. This is typical of seven-seat SUVs, though and if you press the easily accessed buttons in the tailgate the third-row seats fold away to open up a far more generous loadbay. Folding the second row flat liberates even more space

For a car that’s easy to dislike on principle, there’s actually a lot to enjoy once you’re onboard the BMW X7. Thanks to its polarising design and more rarefied market segment, it’ll be no game-changer in the mould of the X5, but there’s no doubt its mix of luxury, versatility and dynamic ability is unmatched by anything else for comparable money.

BMW X7 2019

BMW X7 2019 (Image: BMW)

BMW X7 2019

BMW X7 2019 (Image: BMW)

BMW X7 2019

BMW X7 2019 (Image: BMW)

BMW X7 2019

BMW X7 2019 (Image: BMW)

Logbook Lowdown

Model: BMW X7

Price range: £72,155 to £87,240

Engine range: Turbo-petrol – 3.0-litre; Turbo-diesel – 3.0, 3.0-litre turbo 394bhp

Power: 0 to 60mph in 5.2 seconds, 155mph top speed (3.0TD 394bhp)

Average fuel economy: 43.5mpg (3.0TD)

CO2 emissions range: 171-205g/km

Rivals: Land Rover Discovery, Mercedes-Benz GLS, Range Rover

Rating: 8/10

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