In the 20 years since BMW launched the X5, one of the original European luxury SUVs, it has filled in most of the remaining white space with products ranging from the X1 to X6. The one gap—a full-size, three-row “ute” that could serve as a counter-point to BMW’s traditional flagship, the 7-Series—has just been plugged by the X7. While at first glance you notice the imposing presence, it would be a mistake to think of the X7 as little more than a stretched version of the familiar X5.
Yes, It’s nine inches longer—nearly the size of a Cadillac Escalade or Lincoln Navigator—and boasts the largest-ever application of the familiar BMW double-kidney grille. But the X7 is also loaded with the sort of ultra-premium features you’d expect on a 7-Series—or the also-new 8-Series.
Among other things, there’s the new BMW “user experience” which transforms the traditional iDrive-controlled infotainment system into something akin to Amazon’s Alexa. Simply say, “Hey, BMW,” and it will change radio stations, adjust the climate control, program navigation and a lot more by plain English, rather than hard-to-remember commands. The X7 also features an array of advanced driver assistance systems, and can even run for extended periods on limited-access highways in hands-free mode.
Like the latest-generation X5, the flagship ute is surprisingly capable on-road or off, with a standard two-axle air suspension that can be raised or lowered manually or automatically. At peak, it boasts nearly nine inches of ground clearance. The Driving Experience Control system allows a motorist to switch between a variety of on- and off-road modes. Select the sand mode on an unpaved seashore byway and you’ll never know you left the pavement.
Starting at $73,900, the “base” model features a 3.0-liter inline-six making 335 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque, enough to pull this massive mule from 0 to 60 in 5.8 seconds. The upgrade is a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 making 456 hp and 479 pound-feet – shaving the 0 to 60 down to 5.2 seconds.