There’s so much going on behind that big grille.
We’re Americans, and as such we love big SUVs. Perennials like the Lincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade have been with us for decades. Now, the 2019 BMW X7 enters the fray to challenge the titanic American SUVs as well as its European rivals like the Audi Q7 and Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class.
To make it in this six-figure segment of the market, the X7 needs to bring its A game. To that end, BMW current offers it in two trims: the six-cylinder xDrive40i and the V8-powered xDrive50i. It packs a lot of technology in a large package tailored for U.S. shoppers, but is it really good enough to challenge the established competition.
In a word — yes. The 2019 BMW X7 has the power, comfort, quality and technology to excel against its peers as the ultimate three-row SUV. BMW came to conquer with their new flagship, and particularly in the xDrive50i, it shows.
BMW currently offers two powertrain options for the X7. On the entry-level end, the xDrive40i model packs a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six with 335 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque. Above that, there’s the model we tested: the 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 xDrive50i. The larger engine doles out 456 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. Both engines come mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
To say power is plentiful in the xDrive50i is an understatement. Despite its 5,617-pound heft, the V8 catapults the X7 to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds, according to BMW. It wasn’t even terribly thirsty for a massive twin-turbo V8 SUV, either, returning 18.7 mpg combined in 500 miles of mixed driving.
Drive modes abound to tune the car’s ride and throttle response to your liking. It’s no sports car, naturally, but the 2019 BMW X7 handles its substantial weight well in most driving conditions. The engine sounds great, especially when you roll the windows down. After all, I want to hear what the engine actually sounds like, without the software fakery at play in modern luxury cars.
The transmission snaps off shifts smoothly and without hesitation. When you need to bring the car to a halt, the M Sport brakes available as part of the $4,750 Dynamic Handling Package are perfectly effective.
Comfort and Convenience
Step into the 2019 BMW X7, and you’re greeted by superbly comfortable leather seats. In fact, all the cars’ upscale surfaces are supple and make the car a pleasant place to sit. What surprised me the most was just how well-honed the X7’s ride is. Even in Sport mode, it was remarkably comfortable. Put it in Comfort mode, and as far as I was concerned the roads just changed color occasionally as I transitioned from smooth asphalt to teeth-shaking, pothole-laden concrete.
Mind you, the buttons to control the drive modes are down on the center console. The four Comfort, Sport, Eco Pro and Adaptive buttons are completely indistinguishable by feel, so you have to take your eyes off the road until you remember where they’re located. It would be nice to have a dial or just have one button cycle through the drive modes.
Apart from the luxurious materials, the 2019 BMW X7’s ambient lighting also provided an upscale feel. Like the 7 Series, you can choose from a range of interior lighting colors. Beyond that, though, the lighting illuminates the cabin from the dashboard, in the doors, as well as through the $750 panoramic Sky Lounge LED roof, should you choose it as an option.
Speaking of options, you may think the “glass controls” — the special gear lever — is a bit gimmicky, and I’d be inclined to agree. However, against the backdrop of the rest of the X7’s interior, it’s a $650 option I would check if I were to buy this three-row SUV myself. The Bowers & Wilkins Diamond surround sound system, a $3,400 option, also offered an excellent musical experience.
The $600 second-row captain’s chairs option does make it a bit easier to get into the third row as well. Helpfully, the chairs move forward and tilt up with the pull of a handle, just to make it easier to get in and out.
The 2019 BMW X7 brings the tech
Then there’s the technology. Just like the 7 Series sedan, the 2019 BMW X7 has every piece of technology you can possibly throw at a car these days. The 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system supports Apple CarPlay, which I preferred nearly my whole time with the car. Unfortunately, BMW’s complicated infotainment system carries over from the 7 Series into the X7 without major changes. It’s not a terrible system, but the sheer number of menus means it is difficult to get used to.
Speaking of all the menus, the safety systems are another point of contention. It’s not that the 2019 BMW X7 is missing anything — far from it. The car has every safety system under the sun. It even has Extended Jam Assistant, to take over most of the mundane driving duties in stop-and-go traffic.
The 360-degree camera system, for example, is insanely useful. Provided you don’t use the Park Assist, which can be a bit finicky, you can chose the most pertinent camera views you need when backing into a parking space. The system even shows an image of the car next to a curb, so you can line up without scraping those massive wheels. See all the camera views below:
However, turning some of these systems off proved to be more difficult than in most other cars. The Lane Keep Assist in the 2019 BMW X7 really shoves you back into your lane if it sees you straying. Most of the time, I prefer to turn these systems off, but it took navigating through several menus to even get there. Once I did, I had to find the one check mark I needed to disengage the steering intervention feature.
For a big American lifestyle, this 203.3-inch long 2019 BMW X7 makes sense on almost every level. Despite the minor annoyances, the biggest BMW ever offers up a world-class ride. After factoring in the xDrive50i’s base price and options however, it’s tough to swallow the car’s $110,195 price tag.
Happily, the 2019 BMW X7 xDrive40i offers up an adequate amount of grunt and $17,000 off the price. Cut some of the options, and the xDrive40i’s $74,895 starting price looks much more appealing. It’s also more efficient, returning up to 22 mpg combined, to the xDrive50i’s EPA-estimated 17 mpg.
Is the 2019 BMW X7 the perfect luxurious family hauler? No, of course not. But it’s damn close. Against its competition, it’s definitely the one I’d most like to drive every day.
2019 BMW X7 xDrive50i Specifications
|MSRP||$93,595 (incl. destination)|
|Price as tested||$110,195|
|Engine||4.4L twin-turbocharged V8|
|0 – 60 mph||5.2 seconds (BMW)|
|Curb weight||4,813 lbs|
|Towing Capacity||5,400 lbs.|
|Fuel Economy (EPA)||15 / 21 / 17 (city/hwy/combined)|
Observed: 18.7 mpg average
|Ground Clearance||8.7 inches|
|Length x Width x Height||203.3 x 78.7 x 71.1 inches|
|Cargo Volume behind 3rd row||12.8 cubic feet|
|Max Cargo Volume||90.4 cubic feet|
|Warranty||4 year/50,000 mile basic & powertrain warranty|