2019 BMW X7

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2019
The Car Connection
2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director
March 19, 2019

Buying tip

The X7 gets better as you spend more; a $120,000 X7 with blue-on-white leather and a shimmering LED-lit panoramic roof looks like it costs twice as much

The 2019 BMW X7 finally gives the German automaker a proper three-row crossover SUV, one with a dazzling interior and suitably swell seating.

The 2019 BMW X7 is the German automaker's late entry into the three-row luxury crossover SUV arena—but it proves itself worth the wait with excellent interior space, fine road manners, and a cabin worthy of comparison to its prettiest rivals.

We give the 2019 X7 a 7.2 out of 10, before we even have crash-test data in hand. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

With the X7, BMW sticks to a conventional SUV shape, with the usual subtle filigrees and fillips of BMW taste. That means thin strips of LED headlights and taillights, an upward kink at the rear roof pillar, and on some trims, flashes of bright metal along the door sills and air intakes. We’re mixed on the massive new grille: it’s in proportion to the X7’s high front end, but it’s a bad influence on the 7-Series sedan and other vehicles sure to wear it soon. The X7’s cabin is a delight, nearly identical to that in the X5, with asymmetrical pods of controls gifted with lots of linear inches of high-resolution displays—and in the most expensive versions, icy-hot gray wood trim and glass-tipped controls.

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The X7 comes in two versions: xDrive40i with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-6 and xDrive50i with a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8. Both engines use an 8-speed automatic transmission to put power to all four wheels. The xDrive40i will likely be the more popular of the two and its 335-horsepower engine should be up to the task of moving about 5,400 pounds of SUV. Still, we’d pick the rorty xDrive50i for its loud and proud V-8, which puts out 456 hp and 479 pound-feet of torque and posts a 0-60 mph time of 5.2 seconds. Both X7s are rated to tow up to 7,500 pounds with the optional trailer hitch.

Underneath, the X7 rides on a full air suspension that can lower the vehicle for easier passenger and cargo loading. The X7's double-wishbone front suspension and five-link rear setup are largely cribbed from the X5. Dynamic dampers allow the driver to dial in either a softer or firmer ride at the tap of a button. The X7 can be ordered with a system that ties the air suspension into forward-looking cameras that watch the road ahead and adjust suspension parameters before the SUV hits road imperfections. The system is paired with a package that also includes active rear-wheel steering and brakes massaged by BMW's M division. On V-8 models, the package also includes a sport rear differential. There’s an off-road package available, too. Regardless of configuration, the X7’s commanding presence on the road matches up with its measured, carefully controlled ride. It’s not the vehicle we’d choose for Malibu pursuits, but our sprint through South Carolina’s Low Country—and some hairy parking in Savannah—proved the value of its available rear-wheel steering.

Inside, the X7 draws heavily from the X5, though it comes standard with three rows of seats and seating for seven. A package with dual captain's chairs swaps out the second row bench for a two-seat affair. Space and use of space is excellent, with adult-sized room in the third row and bucket seats with up to 20 ways of adjustment that do all but set passengers up with a cushy trust fund.

On the infotainment front, a pair of 12.3-inch screens rule the dash. One in the instrument cluster is configurable and handles basic driving data, while the other is a touchscreen for infotainment. BMW will include navigation and Apple CarPlay as standard, but the latter requires a $80 per year subscription after the first year. The X7's infotainment system can respond to voice commands following the prompt, "Hey BMW"—or whatever name you program it to understand.

The 2019 X7 xDrive40i costs $74,895 and comes with a panoramic roof, a middle-row bench seat, power everything, touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay as well as automatic emergency braking. V-8-powered X7s are pricier—about $93,595—but gain massaging and cooled front seats with marvelous leather, pretty wood trim, and a surround-view camera system. Make ours that, but add in 20 speakers’ worth of Bowers & Wilkins audio, while you’re at it.

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2019 BMW X7

Styling

The BMW X7 drapes its cabin in finery, and spares nothing when it comes to grillewor

Not much about the X7’s shape defies the SUV norm—and for its maiden three-row vehicle, that suits BMW just fine. We’re not sold yet on the front end, but the cabin’s done its high-end homework.

We give it a couple extra points for interior style for a 7 here. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The stance and shape of the 2019 X7 won’t cause any alarm bells to ring if it’s conventional SUV silhouettes you seek. From the side, the X7 has a sameness that’s not dull; the angled kink at its rear matches old-school BMW details with sport-ute rigor. The rear end’s slim lights provide a perfect platform for all the badgework that comes with the X7; horizontal tiers stack atop a subtle diffuser on X7s with the off-road package.

It’s at the front where the X7 wears its clunkiest jewelry. The twin grilles of BMWs since time immemorial have morphed into tall, ribbed radiators that waterfall over from the hoodline. Their size gets amplified by the thin strips of LED headlights that point inward to them, giving the X7 an almost Alfa Romeo visage.

While BMW hunts for balance outside the X7, it’s found it on the inside, where it counts. The X7 (and the near-identical X5) cabin has finally squared itself to touchscreens in the dash and digital displays where the gauges might otherwise live. BMW wraps the rest of the dash around those, and groups controls in horizontal bands framed with metallic trim for a concept-car look that translates very well into an efficiently beautiful cockpit.

Base trim levels wear synthetic leather in a singular shade of black, but spend a little more and the X7 goes through the designer wardrobe and tries on natty shades of red leather—or, a stunning blue-and-white combination with quilted stitching that’s the equal of a Navigator for major-chord dazzle. Layer on glass-tipped iDrive controllers and shift levers, open-pore gray wood, and a leather-capped dash, and the X7 looks in step with Volvo’s gorgeous interiors, but with less restraint. A quibble or two aside—we can’t get used to BMW’s new non-circular gauge displays—the X7 cabin hits some of the same high notes of a GLE or an XC90.

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2019 BMW X7

Performance

The BMW X7 can loaf and lumber—but it can limbo, too.

BMW’s spread its turbocharger love across its SUV lineup, and the new 2019 X7 adopts two of those best-life powertrains. With that kind of power on tap, the big bruiser can loaf along at a triple-digit clip, but it’s not without some winding-road charms, too.

We give it a 7, with points for its powertrain and its ride. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Base X7 xDrive40i SUVs (remember Alpha-Bits?) pockets a 3.0-liter inline-6 with a single turbocharger for net output of 335 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque, which it punches out at a low 1,500 rpm. It purrs somewhere off in the distance, behind a thick wall of acoustic glass, while it drops a 0-60 mph time of 5.8 seconds, according to BMW estimates and despite a curb weight of at least 5,370 pounds. The perception of speed isn’t nearly that quick since the X7 blankets the road with its mass and blankets a lot of its road noise with a muffled exhaust. Top speed’s capped at 130 mph.

Before batteries take over the world, you need to experience a rippling V-8 like the one in the X7 xDrive50i. The twin-turbocharged, 4.4-liter V-8 pumps out 456 hp and twists out peak torque of 479 lb-ft at the same, low 1,500 rpm. BMW pegs its 0-60 mph time at 5.2 seconds, and its top speed at 130 mph. It’s a glorious engine with a throaty V-8 chuckle as you try to rein it in, a gleeful wide-open roar at full throttle. It’s the prestige powertrain in BMW’s top-range SUV, the badge that gets noticed in the valet lane; we’re unsure why anyone that can afford the base vehicle wouldn’t stretch into the V-8 X7’s lap of luxury.

With either engine, power spools out to all four wheels, with a bias toward the rear set, through an 8-speed automatic that seems only to know quick and clean shifts. The all-wheel-drive system can be fitted with a sport differential that uses an electric motor to vary power across the rear axle, which can lend more traction while it also can help the X7 carve a tighter line through corners.  

It may never make it so far off pavement, but BMW makes an off-road package available with the X7. With its dedicated off-road drive modes (for snow, gravel, mud, and the like), it can raise itself for a maximum of 8.7 inches of ground clearance, or lift wheels to make tire changes easier. With BMW’s hitch the X7 can tow up to 7,500 pounds.

BMW X7 ride and handling

All those functions matter more to newly minted X7 drivers, we’d be willing to bet. But like the slightly smaller X5, the X7’s more agile than any of its specs indicate, and that comes from the well-knit set of mechanical and electronic systems that control its steering and suspension.

The X7’s suspension marries front control arms, five links in back, electronically controlled dampers and air springs, the latter of which are all but necessary to control the X7’s weight and to give it a compliant ride. That’s its best performance feature, aside from its talkative V-8: The X7 can unruffle roads of the worst order, even when its base 21-inch 285/45 run-flat treads get swapped out for the available 22-inchers, which are staggered at 275/40 front, 315/35 rear.

Credit goes to a new system that ties in the vehicle’s camera systems to its brain; when the cameras see a patch of poor pavement, they firm up and relax to mitigate the impact. There’s some fine jiggling in Sport drive modes that comes from firm damping and those big run-flat tires, but mostly the X7’s calm and collected.

Steering feel isn’t one of the priority items on the X7’s to-do list, but BMW knows a long-wheelbase vehicle with huge wheels needs help. Along with an M Sport package that adds the sport rear differential and more grippy tires, the X7 can be fitted with rear-wheel steering, which turns the rear wheels up to 3 degrees opposite the fronts at lower speeds. It’s a way to make the X7 drive like a smaller vehicle, and it works. Our drive on low country roads in South Carolina didn’t offer much in the way of switchbacks or esses, but in the rare places where the road bent more than a few degrees, the X7 offset its mass and height with some of the lifeforce you’d feel in a 7-Series.

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2019 BMW X7

Comfort & Quality

The X7 coddles passengers in a beautifully supportive environment.

The 2019 X7’s a small, liberal-arts college of an SUV. Its passengers get all the support and coddling they need, in beautiful surroundings, and there’s nary an F to be found on its report card.

It does such a fine job toting up to seven passengers and schlepping all their stuff, we give it a 10 for comfort and utility. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

BMW has tried before with third-row seating in its X5, but it succeeds finally with the X7 thanks to a good stretching regimen. The X7’s wheelbase grows 5.1 inches to 122.2 inches versus the X5, and overall length increases by 9.1 inches to 203.3 inches. That puts the 2019 X7 a hair longer than the ‘19 Mercedes GLS and a few inches bigger than the Audi Q7.

In either X7, BMW fits heated, power-adjustable seats that move in at least 16 directions to please their passengers. Perched high for a good view of the road, the seats get 20-way adjustment and cooling and massage touches as an option on the xDrive40i; the fanciest chairs come standard on the V-8. It’s simple to find an excellent driving position with all the adjustments at hand: cinch the side bolsters, extend the leg support, flick on the air bladders that pulse and soothe over a road trip of hundreds of miles.  

The X7 lets front passengers keep all their small stuff nearby, too. The console, which can be warmed along with the steering wheel, provides a deep well for man-bags and small tablet computers. The doors can hold big plastic bottles. The smartphone charging pad accepts Plus-sized devices.

BMW fits the X7’s second row with a three-person bench, but twin captain’s chairs come with a price tag. Head room abounds, and the middle-row seats can power-slide on a 5.7-inch track to send the X7 into pseudo-limo mode. The driver can even power forward the front passenger seat to ensure easy access for the back-seat passengers.

The second-row seats also tilt forward for better third-row access. The X7 actually has a usable third-row seat that’s snug for 6-footers, but spacious enough, and its passengers get their own armrests and cupholders and charge ports.

Behind the third-row seat the X7 doesn’t have much cargo space—just 11.5 cubic feet, less than a compact sedan. Behind row two, it has 48.6 cubic feet of room, and behind the front seats, some 90.4 cubic feet. It’s no long-wheelbase Navigator, but fold down the seats and the X7 can swallow amazing amounts of cargo easily thanks to an air-suspension mode that lowers the car 1.6 inches, and to a power-split tailgate that raises its top three-quarters and drops its lower quarter panel for impromptu tailgate parties.

BMW builds the X7 with its other SUVs in South Carolina, and the materials and finishes come together tightly. It’s a convincing luxury SUV, especially when it’s swaddled in the available Merino leather, with a leather-upholstered dash, ambient lighting, light gray wood, and a glass-topped shifter. BMW’s clearly taken some cues from Volvo’s cool, serene cabins, and from its own Rolls Cullinan here.

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2019 BMW X7

Safety

The 2019 X7 lacks crash-test data.

No BMW X7 has been crash tested yet. Until the NHTSA and the IIHS check in with their ratings we’ll leave this section unscored. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Each X7 comes with forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, parking sensors, LED headlights, blind-spot monitors, run-flat tires, and active lane control. Outward vision is excellent, and big side mirrors help with backup maneuvers.

The X7 can be fitted with a surround-view camera system, a head-up display, night vision, and a high-speed automatic emergency braking system that bundles traffic-jam assist and lane-change assist. BMW’s automatic park assist can guide the X7 into parallel or perpendicular parking spots, and it can reverse itself over the past 164 feet the vehicle has just traveled, retracing its steps to back itself cleanly out of spaces or down tight streets.

We’ll update this section if the X7 undergoes crash tests.

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2019 BMW X7

Features

The 2019 X7 stretches into ultra-luxury territory with technology and textiles.

With the 2019 X7, BMW finally has the Range Rover it aspired to in the 1990s, when it actually owned the Land Rover brand. The X7 has lavish finishes, exceptional technology, and standard and optional equipment lists that go on for pages.

We think it’s worth an 8 here, with extra points for its excellent warranty and infotainment, and for its standard and available features. We subtract one since, at just under $75,000 for the base model, it’s no bargain. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The $74,895 X7 xDrive40i is the base model, and it comes with a gamut of features that include LED headlights, power features, synthetic leather seats, 16-way power-adjustable heated front seats, twin 12.3-inch displays for the gauges and for the infotainment system, a panoramic moonroof, keyless ignition, 21-inch wheels, four-zone climate control, a power tailgate, parking sensors, blind-spot monitors, wood trim, wireless smartphone charging, and a 4-year/50,000-mile warranty with 3 years or 36,000 miles of free maintenance.

The infotainment system bundles AM/FM/XM/HD radio with Bluetooth audio streaming and Apple CarPlay, which incurs an $80 annual charge for use after the first year. It can accept commands by voice, and does a swell job understanding naturally spoken sentences. Its screen also accepts touch input as an alternative to the clickwheel on the X7’s console.

Our pick of the lineup, the $93,595 X7 xDrive50i, gains adaptive headlights, a surround-view camera system, 20-way power-adjustable heated front seats, a head-up display, an Alcantara headliner, and black wood trim. The V-8 X7 also gains active lane change control and traffic-jam assist, so it can brake and accelerate the vehicle at lower speeds with the driver at the controls.

Options (where not standard) include leather upholstery, a leather-trimmed dash, second-row captain’s chairs, rear-seat entertainment, Bowers & Wilkins surround-sound audio, 22-inch wheels, glass-topped controls, and remote start. Option packages group features such as heated rear seats, five-zone climate control, active rear-wheel steering and M Sport brakes, cooled and massaging front seats, an off-road sport differential and underbody protection, soft-close doors, a head-up display, and Harman Kardon audio.

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2019 BMW X7

Fuel Economy

The 2019 BMW X7 nearly matches the X5’s EPA scores.

A spin-off of the shorter X5, the 2019 BMW X7 earns very similar EPA ratings in 6-cylinder form. Since that’s likely to be the more popular version, we score it at 4 for fuel economy, while the V-8 model would rate a 3. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The EPA pegs the X7 xDrive40i at 20 mpg city, 25 highway, 22 combined. The X5 with the same drivetrain differs only in its 26-mpg highway rating.

V-8-powered X7s check in at 15/21/17 mpg, significantly lower than the V-8 X5’s 17/22/19 mpg.

The X7 has stop/start and active grille shutters to help save fuel, but there’s no diesel in its future, and a plug-in hybrid model hasn’t been confirmed—unlike the upcoming plug-in hybrid X5 xDrive45e.

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$73,900
MSRP based on xDrive40i Sports Activity Vehicle
 
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7.2
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 10
Safety N/A
Features 8
Fuel Economy 4
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2019 BMW X7 Pricing Insights

  • 2019 BMW X7 is available
  • Rebates: No cash incentives
  • Finance: From 4.29% APR for 60 months
  • Lease: From $939 for 36 months
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