By on October 17, 2018

Image: BMW X7

It’s finally here and it’s, um, polarizing. BMW’s largest utility vehicle, the X7, uses the brand’s versatile CLAR platform as a starting point for the most controversially styled Bimmer since Chris Bangle left the building.

Arriving at dealers in March, the X7’s derrière is not, nor ever will be, the main source of viewer displeasure. This large vehicle has a big face and BMW knows it. It’s proud of it. Poised to tackle the likes of Mercedes-Benz’s GLS and other capacious, three-row premium utilities, the X7 makes sure it will never go unnoticed.

“The largest kidney grill ever designed for a BMW model features very prominently at the front of the new BMW X7,” states BMW in a phrase no one could argue with. “Together with the slim twin headlights extending up to the grill, it emphasizes the width of the car and creates presence.”

Image: BMW AG

Spanning 203.3 inches from stem to stern, the Spartanburg, S.C.-built vehicle is 1.3 inches longer than a GLS. Ground clearance is 8.7 inches — a number Subaru owners will recognize immediately. Beneath the model’s panoramic sunroof, seating for seven occupants comes standard, though there’s an option of upgrading to a more executive-feeling six-person layout. For either layout, second-row seat travel is 5.7 inches.

Behind those monster kidneys lurk two familiar engines. At the bottom end, xDrive40i buyers receive a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six producing 335 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque. Moving up to the xDrive50i brings a 4.4-liter V8 endowed with new thermal efficiency measures and an ignition system designed to make the standard auto stop/start less annoying. Power is 465 hp and 479 lb-ft. Like the straight-six, the V8 is only available with an eight-speed automatic.

All-wheel drive, as you’ve probably surmised, comes standard, as does 21-inch wheels on the lowliest trim and air suspension fore and aft (coupled with double wishbones up front, multi-links in the rear). Those air reservoirs allow owners to auto-lower the vehicle for easier cargo loading, but it also helps when on- and off-road. At high speeds (85+ mph), the vehicle, in Sport mode, lowers by 0.8 inches. If an off-road foray is on the itinerary (and which large, premium SUV owner doesn’t hit the trails?), a button in the cockpit offers an extra 1.7 inches of clearance.

Image: BMW

If sportier driving is your bag, why the hell did you just buy an X7? Regardless, there’s standard two-mode Dynamic Damper Control for drivers to switch between, as well as a Dynamic Handling Package that adds an M Sport rear differential. You’ll find the same differential on vehicles outfitted with the Off-Road Package, as its locking function allows grip to flow to a single rear wheel.

Inside the X7, a cabin whose aesthetics will remain unmentioned contains a 12.3-inch screen in place of a gauge cluster, with a second screen of similar width riding atop the center stack. If found lacking, the roof can be swapped for BMW’s Panorama Sky Lounge ceiling, with outfits the glass with tiny LEDs meant to mimic the night sky. Romance blossoms in the X7. If possible, avoid allowing your teenager to take one on a date.

Image: BMW

As expected, there’s tech aplenty. Opting for the Connected Package Professional bring aboard a slew of remote services, concierge services, and real-time information about traffic and parking. The Driving Assistant Professional package, which comes standard on the uplevel model (optional on xDrive40i), allows drivers to enjoy hands-off semi-autonomous driving on limited access highways, with a camera scrutinizing their moves (a la Cadillac’s Super Cruise) to ensure their attention remains fixed on the road ahead. In this mode, the vehicle demands a steering wheel touch once or twice a minute. A stop-and-go traffic jam function (Extended Traffic Jam Assist) operates at speeds up to 37 mph.

For buyers of the entry-level model, driver assist functions are not lacking. Standard features include Blind Spot Detection, Lane Departure Warning, Rear Collision Warning, Frontal Collision Warning and Pedestrian Warning with City Collision Mitigation, Cross Traffic Alert Rear, and Speed Limit Information.

If the X7’s kit and kidneys is something you desire in your driveway, Bimmer’s asking $73,900 for the xDrive40i, plus a $995 destination charge. Moving up to the eight-cylinder xDrive50i requires an outlay of $92,600 plus destination.

[Images: BMW]

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44 Comments on “2019 BMW X7: Put Your Best Face Forward...”


  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Anyone remember that early episode of South Park where they made a clone of Stan Marsh, and he was huge, hideous and evil? This looks like what would happen if someone gave a first gen X3 that same treatment.

    It’s amazing that this is the same company that gave us so many beautiful designs. Chris Bangle and Adrian van Hooydonk get a lot of hate, but I think their designs have aged very well in the context of BMW’s current lurch into the boring (see: 5/7 series) and hideous (THIS!). Then again I don’t know that any vehicles of this size and shape are beautiful, though I’d say the 1st gen Navigator came very close.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    That new made-in-China Bogward is looking good!

  • avatar

    Well, it’s hecking ghastly. They made the front end with its pursed hare lip gigantic, while the back attempts to be dainty with thin lamps.

    There’s too much chrome everywhere, but particularly around the rear edge of the side window, and the fin along the fender.

    I’d choose a straight six over the 4.4L V8, because hasn’t that engine been problematic in many a Range Rover and X5?

    Do approve of the gauche blue and white Bill Blass interior. That’s just how I want it. Except with brown wood trim instead of graphite colored.

  • avatar
    xtoyota

    Front clip looks like Hiter’s mustache

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    The boys and girls over at Lexus are laughing their asses off, “Look, we made them copy us and make their cars and trucks hideous, hahahah!”

  • avatar
    gasser

    Replace the wood trim with marble and change the grille to solid silver and have the instant Versailles model.

  • avatar
    EX35

    Has there ever been a reliable v8 made by BMW?

  • avatar
    A Scientist

    Ugly, ill-proportioned, overwrought, ungainly, gauche, and pretentious.

    And I have no doubt they won’t be able to build them fast enough to keep up with the sales.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    Controversial? How? Just another blingtastic SUV, a two-box horror like all of them. Got nothing on a F150 grille for bad taste and plastichrome chunk, while the rest is bland. And compared to a real ‘Murican truck, it’s just a midget. The interior is updated Buick Park Avenue 225 theme from decades ago, which somehow featured palm trees in ads. Lexus still has them beat for W T F styling by a country mile – look at the anteater XUV.

    Now, for bad styling with unnecessary fillips, creases and general cack-handedness at the door-bottoms, yes, door bottoms, I highly recommend study of the new 3 series. BMW has lost its way completely, which is why their design staff have been fleeing to the four corners of the world; VinFast in Vietnam are merely the latest recipients of Munich talent.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Every time bmw releases a new vehicle the last few years I have the same reaction…meh. And I used to love my bmws. And oh look 2 turbo engine option mated to an 8 speed

    Toss this one in as well. At least it isn’t instantly forgettable like the new 5.

    I think it’s also safe to say that Cadillac, Lincoln, and Land Rover set the tone here. Bigger / huge, with more bling and in your face attitude clearly what bmw going for as well.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I get your point, but nowhere does it say that a 2.0-liter turbo is an option. The X7 either gets the 3.0-liter turbo (xDrive40i) or the 4.4-liter twin-turbo (xDrive50i). Even the smaller X5 doesn’t have the 2.0-liter turbo except in PHEV guise, and they haven’t said anything about bringing the PHEV back on the also-new-for-2019 X5.

  • avatar
    WallMeerkat

    To paraphrase George Best’s hotel porter:

    “BMW, where did it all go wrong?”

  • avatar
    threeer

    Great…the legendary BMW “kidney grill” has now turned into the BMW “gopher teeth.”

    And my love for the marque continues to slide every downward…

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    VW called. It wants the greenhouse treatment for the Tiguan back.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    CANYONERO!

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Except for Bangle-butt, at least BMW styling is consistent throughout the family. That said, are they still doing red IP lighting at night? That’s so…Pontiac. Who copied it from BMW.

    I agree it does resemble a grown-up Tiguan. I think the VW is a looker and will be reservedly stylish looking in a decade or two….

    Also – could that center console be any wider?

  • avatar
    ThomasSchiffer

    Dull and ugly.

  • avatar
    bobtheowl

    I actually don’t really have anything against the looks. The only thing that’s odd to me on the outside is that the taller grill makes me think of older BMWs, but the modern thin headlights seem to clash with that.

    I have more issues with the interior. The colored dash just makes me think of 80s cars, and the crystal-looking shifter/start button made me groan. To be fair, I’m not their target customer for this.

  • avatar
    sckid213

    Ghastly and gauche, inside and out. Feels wrong for the brand – just like Cadillac compact models feel wrong, huge honking BMW SUVs feel wrong.

    Also, why the HELL has it taken almost 20 years since the launch of the original X5 to launch the X7? I remember reading about X7 rumors back in (print) auto magazines back in the early 2000s.

    I think this will sell well, but will not be the smash-hit this would have been if released, say, in 2006.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    It’s better looking and less then half the price of the Rolls Royce it shares it’s platform with, so there’s that

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      The Cullinan is on a Rolls-Royce-specific aluminum platform called the Architecture of Luxury. Up to now, its only other use has been on the all-new 2018 Phantom. It is unclear whether the Ghost, Wraith and Dawn will adopt this architecture, or continue to use BMW platforms, like the current models do.

      Meanwhile, the X7 uses the modular CLAR platform, like every RWD-based BMW model since the advent of the current G11 7 Series.

  • avatar
    jfk-usaf

    YAAAWWWnnn ….. what?…

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I quite like this. However, the interior back to the B-pillars appears to be identical to the also-new 2019 X5. And if this is supposed to be the 7 Series of SUVs, I think they could have differentiated it.

    Although, truth be told—with the exception of the 2002-2008 E65—you’d have had to be a big BMW fan to tell the 5 and 7 Series dashboards apart, so it’s not like the 7 Series was usually ever that differentiated versus its smaller sedan counterparts.

    The exterior, meanwhile, is more striking. I’ll be curious to see what Mercedes-Benz fields, because the GLS-Class is due for a redesign in MY2020.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I don’t know for a $100K it’s tough to beat an American full size SUV or a Toyota Land Cruiser

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      The USDM Land Cruiser is such a cynical product. Take something engineered to work in the third world, slap on the leather, and profit.

      I wish we got the versions the rest of the world gets. They are very stout and capable rigs. But as a leather lined conveyance designed to showcase my wealth, there are better options and for all the “Truck owners haul air” comments, when is the last time you have seen a Land Cruiser newer than an 80 series (That would be 1997 at the newest IIRC) on anything other than pavement in the US. Heck I had to spend a week on my 80 series getting the diff locks to work after I got it…they had frozen from never being used.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    Pimptastic!

  • avatar
    EX35

    Will this thing be able to make it past 100k miles without completely blowing up or costing you a ton in after warranty costs per month?

  • avatar

    Lincoln/Cadillac wannabe.

  • avatar

    BMW has clearly lost their way. Just another bloated bling bucket that has no real purpose. Boy, that 1976 BMW 2002 sure had purpose, it was a joy to drive. The 1978 530i had the ultimate aural treat, a sexy smooth 3.0 engine and it still has my favorite instrument cluster of all time. Nowadays, it is all marketing keep-up with fads/trends/whatever, and it just leaves me cold.

  • avatar
    lon888

    My gawd that thing is ugly. For those who buy it, it’ll be all about the Roundel and not the beauty/functionality. If you gotta buy big, at least buy the Volvo XC90 because does have a little bit of style about it.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    It is a big SUV…It has a big grill. Who cares.

    What I do like is that the ratio of window glass to sheet metal looks pretty good compared to most recent designs. I’d drive it.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Blocky and ugly-handsome in a rather British way. Headlights are way too pinched, though. Should be a hit in OPEC land.

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