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2019 BMW 1026 X7 32103 404504
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Introduction

The 2019 BMW X7 is a full-size, three-row SUV that’s new to the German automaker’s lineup. Built in South Carolina, with a long line of British SUVs clearly in its targets, the 2019 X7 has lavish technology and interior trim to justify its place at the top of its family tree.

The new X7 is 9.1 inches longer than the BMW X5 (203.3 inches), on a wheelbase that’s 5.1 inches longer (122.2 inches). It’s styled with a more upright character than the X5, and the interior is beyond sumptuous.

The xDrive40i uses a 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-6 making 335 horsepower, while the xDrive50i uses a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 making 456 horsepower. Both engines pair with an 8-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. The X7 weighs 5,400 pounds, but BMW says the V-8 can push it to 60 mph in just 5.2 seconds. Both engines can tow up to 7,500 pounds with the available tow package.

The X7 rides on a full air suspension that can lower the vehicle for easier passenger and cargo loading. The double-wishbone front suspension and five-link rear are borrowed from the X5. Dynamic dampers allow the driver to choose a soft or firmer ride.

An available system uses cameras to watch the road and almost instantaneously prepare the suspension for the bump or dip ahead. That system talks to another available system that has rear-wheel steering and upgraded M brakes. There’s also an off-road package.

The cabin comes mostly from the X5, adding a third row suitable for grownups, seating seven. Captain’s chairs are available.

Fuel economy is rated by the EPA for the xDrive40i at 20 mpg city, 25 highway, 22 combined. The V-8-powered x50i gets 15/21/17 mpg.

It hasn’t been crash tested yet, but the 2019 X7 has standard automatic emergency braking, parking sensors, LED headlights, blind-spot monitors, run-flat tires, and active lane control. Options include a surround-view camera system, a head-up display, night vision, and automatic park assist, which can guide the X7 into parallel or perpendicular parking spots.

Model Lineup

The 2019 X7 xDrive40i costs $74,895 and comes with power everything, LED headlights, 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 xDrive50i with a V-8 costs $93,595 and adds leather upholstery, adaptive headlights, a surround-view camera system, 20-way power front seats with heating and cooling, a head-up display, an Alcantara headliner, black wood trim, and active lane change control.

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.

Walkaround

The X7 is noteworthy for its size and its square-rigged roof, but it’s the massive grille most passers-by will remember. It’s framed by slim LED headlights that sweep like wings from the top corners of the grille; it’s composed of 14 vertical chrome strips.

The rest of the car looks like a big SUV, traditional from nose to tail. The sheetmetal on the sides is tasteful, the rear end is fairly trim, and the taillights look sleek. There is a subtle diffuser on X7s with the off-road package, but otherwise the different editions look virtually the same.

Interior

The X7 cabin is a delight, efficient and beautiful, nearly identical to that in the X5, with an instrument panel that almost has the look of a concept car.

Two 12.3-inch high-resolution touchscreens hover over asymmetrical pods and horizontal bands of controls, some with glass tips in the expensive trims. One of the screens is the instrument cluster, which is configurable, and the other is for infotainment.

The xDrive40i comes with black synthetic leather, but Merino leather in other shades, including a natty red, is available. There’s also blue-and-white stitched and quilted upholstery that’s the most extroverted look we’ve ever seen from BMW.

Standard xDrive40i front seats are heated and 16-way power adjustable, with the usual indulgent cooling and massage available. The deep console can be heated along with the steering wheel. The smartphone charging pad accepts bigger devices.

The second row can power-slide on a 5.7-inch track for more leg room, and it tilts forward to improve access to the third row. Second-row captain’s chairs are available.

The third row is big enough for adults if they’re not too tall. Passengers back there get their own armrests, cupholders and charge ports.

The X7 has 11.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row. Behind the second row there’s 48.6 cubic feet of room, and behind the first row 90.4 cubic feet. Loading is made easier thanks to the air suspension that lowers the X7 by 1.6 inches, and the power-split tailgate that raises its top three-quarters and drops its lower quarter panel for tailgate parties.

Driving Impressions

At 100 miles per hour the X7 is only loafing, and it’s charming on winding roads as well. Its top speed is electronically limited to 130 mph, mostly for the sake of passengers.

The 3.0-liter inline-6 uses one turbocharger to make its 335 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque. All the torque comes at an extremely low 1,500 rpm, which helps the xDrive40i accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds. It doesn’t feel that quick, because it’s so smooth and silent.

The twin-turbocharged, 4.4-liter V-8 makes 456 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque at the same low 1,500 rpm, while doing that 0-60 mph dash in 5.2 seconds. It’s a glorious engine with a throaty rumble in town and a bold roar when you kick it.

The 8-speed automatic transmission shifts quick and clean, all the time, no exceptions.

The all-wheel-drive system is biased toward the rear wheels, with an available differential with an electric motor that varies power between the rear wheels. This not only improves traction in ice and snow, but helps the X7 rotate in corners.

The off-road package has modes for different terrains, and can raise the vehicle for ground clearance of up to 8.7 inches. It can even lift one wheel when you call roadside assistance to come change a flat tire; just in case, it also has21-inch 285/45 run-flat tires.

The suspension combines front control arms and five rear links with electronically controlled dampers and air springs to deliver a compliant ride that is the car’s best dynamic feature. It keeps the car calm and collected on bad roads, even with the optional 22-inch wheels. More credit goes to the camera system that watches the road for bumps or dips ahead, and then sends signals to sensors that prepare the suspension to absorb them.

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.

Summary

The 2019 BMW X7 delivers an ultimate-SUV driving experience. Both powertrains are excellent; the inline-6 is fast enough, while the twin-turbo V-8 is downright rowdy, and better for towing. It catches attention with its massive grille, but the X7 keeps that attention with its excellent usability and performance.

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2019 BMW X7
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