Caraganza First Drive Review BMW X7 xDrive 50i: The big luxury SUV you didn’t know you needed

(BMW)

(BMW)

I resigned myself long ago that the roads are becoming full of SUVs. Sedans and coupes will soon be gone. Okay, now that I have accepted that fate, I know the kind of SUV I would like to have. No, not those small crossover types that barely hold four persons, I want the biggest most luxurious SUV I can find. One that holds seven football sized players; where your kids get lost and only found when they become adults, or where you can fold down the seats and hold epic dance parties complete with mirror balls hanging from the roof.

Well, anyway you get the idea.

Yes, I want my SUV to be big. Big enough that those vegans driving tiny electric powered vehicles get frightened at the sight of them. I want to take up an entire lane, fill up rear view mirrors, not be questioned when I need to move over into your lane or merge into traffic.

The problem is that some of the big SUVs already have a bias against them; particularly those made in Europe. Especially luxury vehicles.

You see, people who don’t own German luxury vehicles tend to think of those that do as snobs, which is  of course wrong.  Owning a German luxury vehicle does not make a person more snobbish then they already were.

Yet, that illusion still persists.

I’m not a snob, yet I like big luxurious SUVs, especially those built by Germans. Just like the one BMW sent me for a recent week.

BMW is a little late coming to the big SUV party.  For 2019 they introduced the X7, an all-new 7 passenger three row SUV.  It’s bigger than the X5, which only had an optional third row seat, and is everything one who loves big SUVs could hope for.

The nice folks at BMW sent me a 2019 X7 for a recent week. And if it weren’t already nice enough, they sent the V8-powered xDrive50i with an M-Sport package. This means that you can not only tow big things, you could do so very fast (Not that I’d recommend that of course).

There is a somewhat tamer xDrive40i with a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six cylinder which I suspect will do just as nicely. Me, I like power and speed.

As mentioned, the new X7 has two trims: The xDrive40i is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six cylinder (335 horsepower, 330 lb-ft of torque). It’s paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission that sends power to all four wheels. The xDrive50i upgrades to a 4.4-liter turbocharged V8 (456 hp, 479 lb-ft).

(BMW)

(BMW)

As the name suggests, the X7 is the flagship of the 7-Series, which is pretty much top of the line when it comes to BMW.  As such this X7 is loaded with all the goodies one would come to expect in a 7-Series.  There’s standard 16-way power-adjustable and heated front sport seats, or you can option in (as BMW did for my tester) 20-way power-adjustable, multi-contour, ventilated, and massaging front seats. Trust me when I tell you that you may not want to get out when you are snuggled in all that goodness.

Other standard features include 21-inch wheels, air suspension, adaptive LED headlights, automatic high beams, heated power-folding mirrors, automatic wipers, front and rear parking sensors, a powered dual-section tailgate, a panoramic sunroof, a pre-wired trailer hitch receiver, a self-leveling air-ride suspension, selectable drive modes, and keyless entry and ignition.

But wait there’s more.

Inside you get our-zone automatic climate control, emergency telematics, remote vehicle monitoring and control via a smartphone app, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, simulated leather upholstery, 40/20/40-split folding second-row seats, and 50/50-split folding third-row seats.  Tech includes a digital gauge cluster display, a 12.3-inch central touchscreen, a navigation system, Apple CarPlay (subscription-based), two USB ports, a wireless charging pad, and a 10-speaker sound system. Forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, a blind-spot monitor and lane departure warning are also included.

On the xDrive 50i you are upgraded to leather upholstery, multicontour front seats, a surround-view camera, and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound system.

BMW is famous for a bunch of add-on packages so on the X7 you can get things such as the Premium package (soft-close doors, remote ignition, power rear window shades, a head-up display, heated and cooled cupholders, and gesture control which is nice but I frankly find a bit annoying.  There’s also the Cold Weather package (five-zone climate control, heated rear seats, heated front armrests and a heated steering wheel); and the Luxury Seating package (ventilated multicontour front seats with massage functions) and, exclusive to the xDrive50i, the Executive package (adaptive LED laser headlights, a panoramic sunroof with LED lighting, and a glass gear selector and buttons).

Finally you can also option in 22-inch wheels, running boards, an upgraded trailer hitch (7,500-pound limit), a display key, additional leather interior coverings, second-row captain’s chairs, a 20-speaker Bowers & Wilkins surround-sound system, and a dual-screen rear entertainment system.

The M-Sport package adds an upgraded electronically controlled rear differential, upgraded brakes, and some exterior paint touches.

My tester for the week was loaded and included the M-Sport package. I can personally attest to the fact that the interior of this new X7 is a very nice place to be indeed. And dialing up the SPORT mode turns this large SUV into a rocket ship (the mode automatically engages at 85 mph for the record) and the body will lower by .8 inches; should you want to go off road (the X7 is AWD remember) you can raise the body 1.6 inches above normal.  A large SUV like this shouldn’t be so fast, but it is, and that is a very good thing.

So yes, I spent a great week with the X7. But here’s how you have to think about it.  The MSRP on the pretty loaded 50i I had was $117, 945. That’s a bit more than say an Audi Q7, a Mercedes-Benz GLS or a Volvo XC90. But you could also argue it’s a cheaper alternative to premium luxury SUVs from say Land Rover or Bentley.

The point is if I had that kind of money to put down on a large luxury SUV, this new BMW X7 would be in the mix.  I’d have my big SUV, and if I wasn’t looking down on you at a stoplight, I could raise it up 1.6 inches and do so. But I wouldn’t because I’m not a snob.

The 2019 BMW X7 XDrive 50i

MSRP: $ 92,600
MSRP (as tested): $117, 945.
Engine: 4.4 liter turbocharged V8 456 hp @5250 rpm, 479 lb-ft torque @1500 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed shiftable automatic
Fuel Mileage (EPA): 15city, 21 highway, 17 combined
Fuel Mileage (as tested mixed conditions): 18 mpg
Curb Weight: 5,617 pounds

Interior Dimensions
Passenger Capacity:     7
Front Head Room: in     41.9
Front Leg Room: in     39.8
Front Shoulder Room: in     60
Second Head Room: in     39.9
Second Leg Room: in     37.6
Second Shoulder Room: in     58.1
Third Head Room: in     36.6
Third Leg Room: in     33.3
Third Shoulder Room: in     47.9

Cargo Area Dimensions
Cargo Volume to Seat 1: ft³     90.4
Cargo Volume to Seat 2: ft³     48.6
Cargo Volume to Seat 3: ft³     12.8

Exterior Dimensions
Wheelbase: in     122.2
Length, Overall: in     203.3
Width, Max w/o mirrors: in     78.7
Height, Overall: in     71.1
Track Width, Front: in     66.3
Track Width, Rear: in     67.1

Warranty
Corrosion Warranty Miles:  Unlimited
Maintenance Warranty Months: 36
Corrosion Warranty Months: 144
Powertrain Warranty Miles: 50000
Full Warranty Miles: 50000
Powertrain Warranty Months: 48
Full Warranty Months: 48
Roadside Assistance Miles: Unlimited
Maintenance Warranty Miles: 36000
Roadside Assistance Months:  48

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Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.

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