The BMW X7 offers raised luxury for seven people and is also great to drive, but not everybody will be fond of its styling and it looks expensive next to its alternatives.
Let’s address the elephant in the room – oh, and this elephant also has a set of comedy gnashers on. Yes, the way the BMW X7 looks will not be to everybody’s taste, but if you like your large luxurious SUVs to be imposing, it doesn’t get much more so than the X7’s whopping great grille filling somebody’s rearview mirror.
In fact, the BMW X7 is arguably more imposing than the upmarket SUVs it competes with, the Land Rover Discovery, Audi Q7 and Mercedes GLS. Even a full-fat Range Rover.
Inside, things are more restrained, but suitably high quality. You’ll find plenty of piano black, leather and metal surfaces, while adding a (pricey) full merino leather option brings leather lower down and a two-tone shade. Ultimately, you’ll struggle to find any scratchy plastics here and the X7 gives all its alternatives a run for their money inside.
Infotainment systems don’t get better than BMW’s iDrive, though. The X7 comes with the most advanced version, but continues to be a doddle to navigate. It comprises a rotary controller with menu shortcut buttons between the front seats and a 12-inch screen, which can be controlled using the controller, via touch or by voice.
Also standard is another 12-inch screen behind the steering wheel acting at the driver’s instruments. It’s clear, crisp and configurable, so you can have the information displayed that you want, including things like speed, fuel consumption, navigation info and your radio or media selection. Bluetooth, DAB radio and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring is all included, although not Android Auto. All-in-all, it’s better than anything from Audi, Mercedes or Land Rover.
The BMW X7 is a proper seven-seater as standard, which is to say, two adults will be able to sit in comfort in its rearmost seats on a long journey. An X5’s optional third row is much tighter, for example.
For not much extra you can swap the X7’s middle row from a three-seat bench to two more luxurious pews. If you can live with six seats rather than seven, I’d go for it.
The X7’s front two rows are even more spacious and the driver is treated to a wide range of electric seat and wheel adjustment. In fact, the middle row can be adjusted and folded electrically, while the third row folds into the boot floor electrically too. And, handy buttons in the boot allow you to fold the rear two rows all at the same time for ease.
Even with all seven seats up, the X7 still offers 320 litres of boot space, which is about the same as a VW Polo. Fold the rearmost seats down and that grows to a huge 750 litres – that’ll handle pretty much anything a family can throw at it. And you get a fancy split tailgate.
You have a choice between two diesels and a petrol engine when buying a BMW X7. The pick of the bunch is the X7 30d diesel, because, with 265hp and an official fuel economy of 33.6mpg, it has all the power you’ll need, but will keep the bills sensible. The M50d diesel is much quicker, but also much more expensive in every way, while the 40i petrol is the smoothest engine here, but also the thirstiest by some margin.
The BMW X7 is vast, so driving and parking it in town can be a little daunting. Still, the X7 comes with front and rear sensors, multiple cameras for a 3D view of the car and a system that’ll park and even reverse for you. So, no excuses then.
Out of town and on meandering country roads the X7 is one of the tidiest SUVs of its type to drive despite its size, but you’ll probably be more interested in just how comfortable its air suspension is over bumps and how quiet it is at a cruise on the motorway. There’s very little wind and road noise at all, and adding BMW’s Driving Assistant Professional brings a system that will accelerate, brake and keep you in your lane for an even more relaxing drive.
So, make peace with its looks, don’t get carried away with BMW’s options list and the X7 is a fine luxury seven-seat SUV. Remember, though, that it’s more expensive to buy than a Discovery, Q7 or GLS, and that if you don’t need seven seats, BMW’s cheaper X5 makes much more sense.