2023 BMW X7 Review - Go With The Flow

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn

Fast Facts

2023 BMW X7 M60i xDrive

4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (523 horsepower @ 5,500 RPM, 553 lb-ft @ 1,800 RPM)
Transmission/Drive-Wheel Layout
Eight-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive
Fuel Economy, MPG
16 city / 21 highway / 18 combined (EPA Rating)
Fuel Economy, L/100km
14.3 city / 11.1 highway / 12.9 combined. (NRCan Rating)
Base Price
$104,095 US / $131,606 CAN
As-Tested Price
$122,545 US / $158,056 CAN
Prices include $995 destination charge in the United States and $2,606 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

Maybe I need to reconsider these newfangled “Sports Utility Vehicles” and their “crossover” brethren. They have, seemingly overnight, become surprisingly popular - in one unscientific study, I’m estimating that these two related subgenres of tall wagons work out to roughly 74 out of every 20 cars on the road.

If you’re wondering why I’m a writer today and not the mechanical engineer I aspired to be when I was 15, you can look at the above statement as well as my failure in high-school AP Calculus for an answer. 

Anyhow, it seems these things aren’t going anywhere. They keep growing larger and taller, Tower of Babel-ing their way upward so drivers can see the traffic signal ahead as they sit, ever idling in traffic surrounded by their ilk. So we must acknowledge their presence and even admit their suitability for certain drivers and their needs. The 2023 BMW X7 M60i xDrive you see before you is one of those which, by function of cost and size, must only fit a relatively few - but who is that driver? 

A gander at the data panel above answers that question in brief. For the price of a starter home in rural parts of the country - or a month’s rent on a Chelsea studio - you can have a six-seat chariot capable of hurtling across vast swaths of tarmac at frightening velocity. Indeed, my time with the X7 coincided with a drive across a few states, and the mind-numbing sameness of Indiana pushed my right foot downward on the right pedal a bit more forcefully than allowed by law. 

A Taco Bell drive-through employee, in conversation as I waited for a Baja Blast and a quesadilla, inquired about the speeds achievable as he glanced across the matte blue hood toward what had to be his clapped-out third-gen F-body in the adjacent parking lot. I demurred at the implied challenge, only hinting at the triple-digit speeds that had flashed upon the dash panel only minutes before in a moment of Hoosier-state-induced ennui.

Sanity and a license preservation instinct, fortunately, prevailed for most of my remaining drive, made difficult by the ease at which the Big Blue Bimmer Behemoth covered ground. The X7, despite the steamroller 22” wheels and accompanying 275/40 (front) and 315/35/22 (rear) tires, glides across pavement effortlessly. The suspension, while firm and certainly unyielding when encountering massive potholes, otherwise handles the pavement jungle both urban and interstate with aplomb. Five hundred and twenty-three willing horses make throttle restraint the biggest challenge one might encounter outside finding suitable parking for a 203.6-inch three-row vehicle. 

No, it’s not pretty. It’s damned near impossible for anyone not on a Bavarian payroll to honestly say that a current BMW has been styled with the beauty and restraint the company was once known for. It’s almost enough to make one pine for the heady days of Chris Bangle. But the ever-expanding grille and brutal lines throughout the X7 clearly are not going away any time soon. Judicious use of black trim where chrome might otherwise sparkle does tame things a bit.

The interior, conversely, looks rather good. Yeah, the black leather paired with black carbon fiber (simulated?) throughout does seem a bit dour, but it’s a comfortable place to while away the miles, front or rear. The third row is actually usable, though knee room is a bit tight. BMW’s latest infotainment remains frustrating, however, as it takes far too many twiddles and twists of the selector knob to access all the functions that were once a singular button push away. The big screen is bright and clear, thankfully, because God knows you’ll be looking at that screen plenty.

You’ll be looking at the nav screen for fuel stops rather frequently on those cross-country jaunts, too. I suppose that considering both the mass of this thing and the serious power on tap an 18mpg combined rating is actually impressive, but it’s vehicles like these that are giving the pearl-clutchers ammunition to take away our cars. A light foot kept well away from the boost is needed to refrain from excessive premium-octane-only dead dinosaur consumption.

This is, I’m afraid, the buyer for the 2023 BMW X7 M60i. One who can not sweat when faced with a petroleum crisis, pending or current. Those who can manage to be liquid when faced with a shortage of fluids. It’s big money to buy, and big money to feed. But for those who have the means, it’s an undeniable presence.

[Images: © 2023 Chris Tonn/TTAC.com]

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Chris Tonn
Chris Tonn

Some enthusiasts say they were born with gasoline in their veins. Chris Tonn, on the other hand, had rust flakes in his eyes nearly since birth. Living in salty Ohio and being hopelessly addicted to vintage British and Japanese steel will do that to you. His work has appeared in eBay Motors, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars, Reader's Digest, AutoGuide, Family Handyman, and Jalopnik. He is a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, and he's currently looking for the safety glasses he just set down somewhere.

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2 of 33 comments
  • Master Baiter Master Baiter on Aug 24, 2023

    Save 20 large and get the inline 6. It has more than enough power.

    Our 2019 is a fantastic road trip car for a family of 5.

    (And yes, I know maintenance costs are high. You don't need to remind me.)

  • Hreardon Hreardon on Aug 24, 2023
    1. The fascia looks much better in person than in photos. It definitely stands out and is bold. Traditionally handsome? No. Ugly - well, that's subjective, but I find that the face works on the X7 and the new i7/7-series.
    2. Nothing beats knobs and buttons. That said, iDrive 8 / 8.5 are really good. I have it in my '23 M340i and I like it much more than I thought I would. It's nowhere the disaster movie that every publication makes it out to be. There's a volume knob, where I spend most of my input, anyhow.
  • Carson D I hadn't seen a second-generation Courier with a Mazda engine before. I've seen a few with Ford engines. There was one at the Cox Driving Range that they used to collect golf balls. Golf would definitely be more entertaining to watch if they used moving targets.
  • Tassos ooops, Tim, you missed this one. Would make a lovely "Tim's used car of the day". It satisfies all the prerequisites except the wildly overpriced bit.
  • Tassos ASTON AND BOND BY A MILE. While Aston Martin sells a TINY FRACTION of what even the rarified Ferrari and Lambo sell, it is unbelievably well known. Credit the idiotic, but hugely successful and sometimes entertaining James Bond Movies.
  • Tassos 1988? Too young for me. It's all yours, Tim... BAHAHAHAHA!
  • Gray Awesome. Love these. But, if I had the money for a Fox-body, there is a clean '84 GT 350 here for little more than half the price.