2020 BMW X7

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The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Aaron Cole Aaron Cole Managing Editor
June 15, 2020

Buying tip

Go all-in for V-8 power in the X7. Then go brag to the neighbors down the street.

features & specs

M50i Sports Activity Vehicle
xDrive40i Sports Activity Vehicle
xDrive50i Sports Activity Vehicle
15 city / 21 hwy
20 city / 25 hwy
15 city / 21 hwy

The 2020 BMW X7 is the upper-crust seven-seat SUV that finally answers the question: What if I want to spend more for a BMW?

Long time coming but worth the wait, the 2020 BMW X7 is the German automaker’s three-row SUV that’s based on the X5. 

Its staggering ride and power is matched by its equally impressive price: the 2020 X7 costs more than $80,000 in base versions, top trims command more than $115,000. 

It’s at the top of the BMW stratosphere where we think X7 buyers should aim. We give the SUV a TCC Rating of 7.4 before safety is factored in. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

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Its looks are borrowed from the X5, but the X7 is longer by several inches and wears a bigger snout. We like the look best from inside, where most owners will see the car anyway, decked out in leather, open-pore wood, and layered on glass accents that punch up to ultra-luxury SUV class that cost a quarter-million or more. 

BMW fits its best engines into the X7, one turbo-6 or two versions of its twin-turbo V-8. The base X7 xDrive40i uses a 335-horsepower inline-6 that’s silken. The spend-up xDrive50i gets a 4.4-liter V-8 that makes more than 450 hp, and the top-of-the-line M50i pumps more than 500 hp. 

Every engine gets an 8-speed automatic with an answer for everything we can throw at it, and all X7s get an all-wheel-drive system that answers every condition owners are likely to throw at it, too. Standard air suspension smothers the bumps and keeps the 2.5-ton SUV together on the road well. 

The X7 gets three rows of seats as standard, and 6-footers can sit behind other 6-footers sitting behind other 6-footers. Cargo space is predictably good behind the second row for such a long SUV. With three rows in place, consider buying new clothes when you arrive at your final destination. 

BMW fits every X7 with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, active lane control, and parking sensors. Spend more and get more: BMW’s active driver-assistance features can make stop-and-go traffic a breeze. 

Well-heeled buyers would do well with base versions, but in top trims the X7 is magnificent. We like the M50i for its superlative power and luxury and features that rival the Rolls-Royce Cullinan. 

Fuel economy isn’t the X7’s first priority, but it’s not bad. Base versions manage combined fuel economy in the low-20s, V-8 versions are in the high-teens provided the turbos aren’t always tapped for extra grunt.


2020 BMW X7


Standard BMW on the outside, the X7’s best look is inside with a calm, stately interior.

The X7 draws heavily from the X5 that it’s based on, but plants an even bigger snout up front for added impact when it rolls up to the valet lots. 

We like the X7, from the inside out. Our rating of 7 gives two points above average for the X7’s interior—same as the X5. 

Although BMW doesn’t stray far from its playbook the X7 looks same without becoming boring. The kink at the back is classic BMW, but the front is new. 

The grille wear’s BMW’s latest bling to match the 7-Series sedan. The kidney grilles are ribbed, tall, and fall from the front in a very long grille. The effect is more pronounced with the X7’s slim LED headlights. The rear end’s slim taillights are better and more reserved—it’s better going than coming. 

The interior is more balanced and borrows a balanced calm from the X5. The 12.3-inch displays are impressive but not overbearing in the super-sized cabin, and BMW wraps the dash around them with uptown materials that’s serene. 

Synthetic leather is standard and only available in black, but a small upcharge adds real hides in various shades. Even more throws in softer leather seats in more colors that complement the X7’s jewelry. 

An available crystal-tipped shifter borrows from Volvo’s game, and it works well in the BMW. It doesn’t scream “hard-wearing family vehicle” but that’s not really BMW’s aim here. Decked in open-pore wood, Merino leather, and glass, the BMW is a rival for more expensive ultra-luxury SUVs that only pay lip-service to family detail. 

We’re not so fond of the digital display that’s replaced BMW’s analog gauges but we admit that it’s a sign of the times.

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2020 BMW X7


Competent engines help the big X7 shoot and scoot far better than the 5,000-pound SUV should.

Two of BMW’s best engines live their best lives in the X7’s hulking shoulders, behind its massive snout. 

There’s not a bad pick in the bunch, but the V-8 adds a gulping $20,000 to the bottom line (along with a few other features). Starting from an average score, we give the X7 points above average for its base engine and the ride that’s standard on all cars. If we rated the V-8 alone, it’d get another point. 

Base X7 xDrive40i SUVs get a turbo inline-6 that makes 335 hp and 330 pound-feet of torque mated to an 8-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. It sweetly scoots the X7 up to 60 mph in less than six seconds—if that matters in a three-row SUV—and shuttles it up a mountain without strain. The turbo-6 is refined, smooth, and mostly effortless. 

The X7 xDrive50i and M50i get a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 shared with BMW’s hottest cars that keep more power in reserve, compared to the inline-6. In the X7 xDrive50i the V-8 makes 456 hp and 479 lb-ft, shuttled through the same 8-speed and all-wheel drive. BMW pegs the V-8’s performance at 5.2 seconds up to 60 mph and a top speed of 130 mph. It’s the top-shelf engine and we recommend it; buyers interested in an SUV that costs $80,000 may not be fazed by the 25% upcharge for the engine. 

In that vein, the turbos get screwed in tighter in the M50i that costs more than $100,000 to start and ends around $115,000 with everything else thrown in. In the M50i, the V-8 makes 523 hp and 553 lb-ft and rockets the X7 up to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. It gets bigger brakes to arrest its prolific mass and a sport-tuned suspension that helps the X7 corner even flatter. A sport-tuned exhaust scatters the sonorous V-8 into the neighborhood with a satisfying burble. 

Every X7 gets a great 8-speed that quickly and cleanly shifts between cogs and an all-wheel-drive system with a rear bias that shoves the SUV forward with authority. The M50i gets a sport differential (optional on xDrive50i versions) and rear-wheel steering that carves a tighter line on the way home. The rear wheels can countersteer up to 3 degrees from the fronts to make the X7 feel smaller behind the wheel, although steering feel isn’t the big SUV’s first priority. 

An off-road package adds electronic systems that help it tackle most terrain that owners will throw at it, although we’re unsure if it’ll ever find much more than a snowy road. 

The X7’s four-wheel independent suspension complemented by an air springs that give it a compliant comfortable ride. Base X7s ride on 21-inch wheels that fill out the wheel arches, V-8 models use staggered 22-inch wheels that are wider in the back that grip the road well. 

An optional system ties the dampers to the X7’s camera system that read the road ahead and predict fussy pavement before it arrives to mitigate impact. 

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2020 BMW X7

Comfort & Quality

The 2020 BMW X7 is more comfortable and spacious than nearly any other car on the road.

The 2020 X7 is the largest vehicle sold by BMW and it happily fills that role. We’re happy it does too. 

It seats up to seven in great comfort or supreme comfort, swaddled by leather, entertained by crystal-clear sound, even entertained by crystal-clear glass fixtures too. 

It nails our requisite points for comfort: seats, space, fit, and finish. It’s a 10 for comfort. (At its price, it better be.)

The X7 is based on the X5, but stretches its legs for more space. The X5’s wheelbase is 5.1 inches longer in the X7 and the overall length grows by 9.1 inches, too. The X7 is longer than the Audi Q7 by a few inches, and longer than the Benz GLS-Class by just a hair. 

Driver and front passenger get a good view of the road ahead and standard heated and adjustable in 16 directions. Softer leather upholstery, 20-way adjustment, heated armrests, cooled seats, and massagers are all available for more money. Small-item storage is great up front, with plenty of bottle holders and nooks for devices. A deep center console can hold tablets and purses, and the cupholders can heat or cool drinks for more money, of course. 

BMW fits a second-row bench in most X7s, although captain’s chairs are an $850 line item that makes better sense to us anyway. There’s ample leg room, tall adults can sit behind other tall adults, and the X7 can slink into limo mode by sliding the rear seats back. 

The third row is suitable for adults or children, even 6-footers if they’re the flexible types. The cargo area expands to 48.6 cubic feet with the third row folded, just 11.5 cubes with it in place. Maxed out in hauling mode, the X7 holds more than 90 cubic feet of gear but please, watch it with the mulch, will ya? 

The standard air suspension can raise or lower the X7 by several inches, and the split-folding tailgate and lower rear end can make loading easier. 

The X7 is built in the same South Carolina factory as the X5 and both have excellent build quality. The X7 is beautiful, resplendent, and wound tighter than a drum. In top trims, it rivals the Rolls-Royce Cullinan—high praise for a BMW. 

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2020 BMW X7


The 2020 X7 lacks official crash-test data.

Federal and independent testers haven’t yet rated the X7 so we’ll keep our calculators quiet. When data rolls in we’ll assign a score here. 

Absent official crash data, the X7 has worthwhile safety features that we like. 

Every X7 is equipped with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, adaptive headlights, parking sensors, and active lane control. 

A surround-view camera system, head-up display, night vision, and automatic parking system are available. 

An advanced driver assistance system is available too, and worth the $1,700 upcharge. It can help pilot the car at speeds slower than 37 mph, on divided highways, with minimal driver attention for long stretches. It’s perfect for reducing fatigue in stop-and-go traffic, but it’s not a hands-free system. 


2020 BMW X7


Great features make the 2020 X7 a superlative family vehicle—with an impressive price to match.

Few cars on the road are as opulent and as luxurious as the 2020 X7 can be. 

It’s no surprise, the X7 serves as the basis for the Rolls-Royce Cullinan. 

We come back to reality with a 9 for features based on good features, excellent options, a good warranty, and a good touchscreen for infotainment. 

The starter 2020 X7 costs $74,895 and includes all-wheel drive, synthetic leather upholstery, 21-inch wheels, an adjustable air suspension, panoramic moonroof, power-adjustable and heated front seats, four-zone climate control, three rows of seats, LED headlights, a power tailgate, active safety features (covered above), wireless smartphone charger, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 12.3-inch touchscreen for infotainment. 

That’s good equipment, and with just a handful of options the X7 can feel like a good BMW. 

With more options, a bigger engine, and premium everything else, the X7 can feel like a bargain Rolls-Royce—that’s where we go with our recommended version. 

We’d splurge on the X7 M50i that costs more than $100,000, but includes an uprated V-8 engine, sport-tuned exhaust, 22-inch wheels, sport brakes and a sport differential, soft-close doors, laser LED headlights, a head-up display, premium audio, and special leather interior. We’d add a cold weather package, active driving assistant, rear-wheel steering, 20-way adjustable seats with massagers, premium audio, glass controls, heated and cooled cupholders...you can see where we’re going with this. All-in and hold your breath: about $116,000. It’s a rival for vehicles that cost twice as much, trust us. 

Thankfully, it’s the most you can spend for an X7. 

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2020 BMW X7

Fuel Economy

The 2020 X7 is reasonably thrifty with fuel for its size.

Despite its longer body and added heft, the 2020 BMW X7 doesn’t extract a high fuel-economy penalty compared to the related X5. 

The EPA rates the 2020 X7 at 20 mpg city, 25 highway, 22 combined with a turbo-6 and all-wheel drive. That’s a 4 on our scale. 

With a similar powertrain, the X5 gets just 1 mpg more on the highway. 

With a V-8 in either xDrive50i or M50i, the X7 rates 15/21/17 mpg. 

All X7s require premium fuel.

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Styling 7
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 10
Safety N/A
Features 9
Fuel Economy 4
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