REVIEW | The 2019 BMW X7 M50d is large and very much in charge
The first thing that struck me when recently having the BMW X7 on test, and this is before even entering the vehicle, was its sheer size.
Parked in our office basement it could easily swallow up a few parking bays, and if you get a kick out of the “mine-is-bigger-than-yours” mentality, you should be pretty happy.
Sitting at a striking 5.1m long and weighing a hefty 2.3 tons, this vehicle is certainly no shrinking violet with its distinctive BMW design language, and if you could judge its visual impact on a scale of 0 to 10, it probably sits at a comfortable 11.
Combine those rather large dimensions with an imposing front grille - in the traditional kidney shape, of course - whopping 21-inch rims, two powerful rear diffusers, and it is no wonder the vehicle received so much attention during our evaluation period, both favourably and perhaps otherwise.
Where BMW have done an excellent job is with the interior. The materials used are top-notch, from the plush white leather seats (there are seven) to the interior trim strips, from the black leather sport steering wheel to the overall touch and feel of the dashboard and technology supplied. Summed up in two words: first class.
Getting into the third row of seats in a vehicle often requires the suppleness of an Olympic gymnast, but with the X7 there are enough buttons and switches to make it a fairly simple exercise.
Fold that second and third row flat and there is enough room (2,120 litres) to throw in a sleeping bag and grab a nap. Or perhaps transport a few 2m-long doors, which is exactly what I did.
A feature that adds to the class of the vehicle are the two individual seats in the middle row. I didn’t get to spend much time in them but they definitely look like they are out of the cockpit of a Boeing A380.
We had the M50d on test and what a potent powerplant – it's the perfect match for the vehicle.
Acceleration from the 4l engine is frighteningly quick. Select Sport mode, slam down the right pedal and there isn’t the slightest hint of turbo lag as one slices through the eight speed automatic gearbox to reach 100km/h in a shade over five seconds. Talk about a rampaging bull.
But if you think you need forearms the size of a wrestler to manoeuvre this beast, thankfully that is not the case. The steering is light yet provides just the right amount of feedback.
There are also enough cameras and sensors to help with parking bays that suddenly appear a lot smaller than usual.
I never did get the opportunity to test the off-road capability of the X7, but am confident it would live up to the toughest of scrutiny, helped along by ground clearance of 221mm and air suspension that can raise the vehicle by an additional 40mm, all-wheel drive plus mechanical diff lock. After all, the X3 and X5 are tried and tested when it comes to a spot of bundu-bashing.
The X7 is quite a unique vehicle and it definitely won’t sell in the numbers anywhere close to other vehicles that make up the X range. But what it does do is offer an alternative to direct competitors, like the Range Rover and Mercedes-Benz GLS.
For the Munich-based company, maybe that is enough.
Pricing: BMW X7 M50d R1,853,200