The older brother of the BMW SUV family has just arrived in the market this March. We are talking about the BMW X7, whose details we met at the end of the year, and which we have already conducted. We tell you our impressions after having put ourselves at the controls of what is the first SUV with seven seats of series conceived by the Bavarian brand.
Like its brothers, X3, X4, X5 and X6, the BMW X7 is manufactured on American soil, specifically in the plant that BMW has in Spartanburg (South Carolina). And although it is marketed worldwide, which includes Europe, has been designed primarily for the US and Chinese market.
In other words, it is a great SUV to the American taste, which is reflected not only in its large size and delivery, but also in details of its equipment and aspects of its dynamics.
The BMW X7 is available in three engines: two diesel (265 hp and 400 hp) and a single petrol variant, customized in the 40i of 340 hp. All these versions are associated with the eight-speed automatic transmission and the xDrive all-wheel drive.
Seven are not a crowd
As expected, one of the aspects in which the BMW X7 stands out is its livability. Of remarkable external dimensions, with more than 5 meters long, 2 meters wide, 1.8 meters high and a battle of 3.1 meters, on paper it is proud to have seven real squares. And we have been able to verify that this is the case, especially as regards the last row of seats.
While the BMW X7 is offered as standard in 2 + 3 + 2 configuration, optionally you can choose a six-seater, replacing the second row of seats run by one formed by two individual seats, which is precisely the option we have driven.
And although in our opinion it makes more sense to opt for the option of seven seats in terms of usability for its size, it should be noted that this arrangement offers more space and comfort for the occupants of the second row.
But what interested us most was to check if, as promised, the seats in the third row have enough space to accommodate two adult occupants. And so it is. A person of 1.80 fits perfectly in them without knees give the backing of the second row, although being a few inches, yes.
And to this is added a generous distance to the ceiling for the heads (1,013 mm from the seat to the roof), which is identical to that of the second bench, minimizing that usual feeling of ‘boxing’ that usually goes hand in hand with the third row. It also helps the fact that it has a sunroof divided into two parts, placing the second precisely on this third line of seats.
However, the accessibility to this last row, due to the height of the BMW X7, is one of its weaknesses, which adds that if we had it down, we can only lift it electrically from some controls located in the trunk, not having the option to do it manually from the passenger compartment.
To access it, we manually knocked down the back of the second row which, in the case of the six-seat variant, moves the seat electrically forward, which is very comfortable and leaves a remarkable space to reach the last seats.
Finally, in terms of load capacity, with the three rows of operating seats, the trunk is reduced to 326 liters, with a depth of around 60 cm, so that only fit, for example, two hand luggage standing up and forcing us to remove the curtain type tray which, of course, is removable.
However, whenever we are not making use of the last bench, we will enjoy a generous boot of 750 liters, leaving the backs perfectly aligned with the bottom of the boot when falling. In addition, they can be retracted individually. In the case of having only the two front seats, the capacity increases to 2,120 liters, and can accommodate objects around two meters in length.
In short, comfort and modularity are the protagonists in the BMW X7, offering several configuration options depending on the load or the number of occupants.
Technology at the service of comfort
The technology and comfort are also the protagonists in the BMW X7: both the driving position and the co-driver’s seat are excellent and enjoy practical solutions that bring comfort to the flag. Not forgetting the high quality materials that line the cabin, where we find leather and Alcantara, as well as metal or plastic moldings imitating wood.
When you sit at your controls you have the feeling of having everything at hand, whether in the multifunction steering wheel (from where the multimedia system or cruise control is controlled between other systems), in the central tunnel, where we find the change or the electric hand brake the different driving modes, or under the multimedia display, where the air conditioning controls are located.
The BMW X7 has efficient solutions focused on comfort, such as the central armrest divided into 1/3 or 2/3, which allows us to place, for example, a bottle and support the arm simultaneously. And it is that this hollow portables is of remarkable size and depth.
And this is completed with its technological arsenal focused on comfort and make your life on board as pleasant as possible. For example, the older brother of the SUV family has, optionally, two heated or refrigerated coasters: with the push of a button we can keep the drinks cold (3º C) or hot (55º C).
Of series yes that counts nevertheless with heated and ventilated seats with up to three different positions (that can activate from the central console or from a control located in the door), as well as steering wheel. In the same way, as it happens in other models of premium cut, it allows to save the configuration of the seats (height, distance, heating, ventilation), with up to two options: to activate it, we will only have to operate the buttons placed on the door.
This German American SUV also has up to four levels of ambient configuration(Executive, Expressive, Private and Wellbeing), which operates on air conditioning, activates different fragrances or types of music, and even starts up the massage function that we select.
The BMW X7 comes standard with four climate zones, which can be optionally extended to five (Ambient Air package), with a roof module in the third row for handling it.
Finally, the BMW X7 also equips the BMW Live Cockpit Professional digital instrumentation without surcharge, which is embodied in a generous 12.3-inch screen and which accompanies the aforementioned entertainment display of identical dimensions.
Its remarkable size and arrangement, allows it to be always visible regardless of the layout of the steering wheel. Being configurable, it has two digital clocks that show both revolutions and speed, having in the center of the navigation function when it is active.
In this way, with a quick glance, we can go checking the route without just looking away from the road, which also helps the head-up display , also configurable and that looks perfectly, which not only shows us the speed on the windshield, but navigation indications, such as the next detour, or the maximum speed of the road.
At the wheel of the BMW X7
If we have to define the driving of the BMW X7 in a single word this would be comfortable. Mainly on expressways, highway or highway, where its pneumatic damping and active suspension, standard on both axes, absorbs the regularities of the terrain efficiently.
We only had the possibility of driving the less powerful mechanical variant, the xDrive 30d diesel, which has a six-cylinder engine in line and four valves per cylinder, of 3.0 liters and 265 HP, with a maximum torque of 620 Nm available between the 2,000 and 2,500 laps.
We drive mainly by motorway, where its behavior is excellent, and to a lesser extent on conventional roads. In the latter, if the layout is very twisted, it tends to wobble a lot, although in those units that equip the Active Executive Pro roll stabilization this is minimized.
Added to this is the Integral Active Steering system, also optional and which was equipped in the version we have driven, which allows for more pronounced turns. This technology can be configured so that the rear wheels turn in the same or opposite direction to the front, to offer either more agility or more stability.
Despite its remarkable weight, the torque and power offered by this mechanical variant is more than enough to move it without any complex, although in terms of braking, due to its more than two tons of weight (its empty weight according to version oscillates between 2,370 and 2,445 kilos), we will need to do them with some advance, especially if the firm was wet, as was the case.
If what is sought is passion and fun at the wheel, there are two aspects in which the BMW X7 stands out. In fact, even at high speeds, due to its considerable weight and size, does not give the feeling of going fast, which can be a problem as we tend to overcome the speed marked by the road without realizing it. Although it has an easy solution: either activating the cruise control or the speed limiter.
In short, the great BMW SUV has been designed for driving on fast roads, where straight lines prevail, thinking precisely of the American public, where this type of road predominates.
We have been left with the desire to check out the asphalt, thanks to the Off-Road package, also optional, which has up to four modes depending on the firm: xSand, xGravel, xRocks and xSnow.
Virtual co-pilot and Extra security and Sportsmanship
Of course, in the BMW X7, there is no shortage of technology at the service of connectivity and active safety, which adds to the aforementioned comfort systems.
As standard, this premium SUV has the BMW Operating System 7.0 multimedia system, with multiple functions focused on connectivity and which is updated remotely, saving us having to go to the dealer for it.
It has an intelligent virtual assistant, the Intelligent Personal Assistant : an artificial intelligence that responds to advanced voice commands, being able to activate the different environment options (if we say “Hi BMW, I’m tired”, it will activate the Wellbeing function), start the navigation to common destinations (“Take me home”), adjust the air conditioning (“Hello BMW, I’m cold”) or inform us about the status of the vehicle (“Is the oil level correct?”).
While a high-fidelity audio system with ten speakers is standard, you can optionally select two more advanced sound systems: the 16-speaker Harman Kardon or the spectacular Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System, with 20 speakers and a 1,500-watt amplifier with up to seven channels.
Optionally, two 10.2-inch touch screens, equipped with a DVD and Blu-ray player, as well as two USB ports, an HDMI socket and two headphone connections can also be fitted in the rear seats. Similarly, we find several USB ports unicados between the three rows of seats, which includes the connection type USB C, and also has wireless charging for mobile devices.
The BMW X7 also has a digital key, which works from the BMW Connected app and can be shared with up to five profiles. In this way, to open and start it, we can dispense with the key using only the smartphone, although this technology is only compatible with phones with Android 8.0 system or higher. If we do not have a smartphone with these features, we can also control it from the BMW KeyCard.
In the section on driving assistance, we find a remarkable set of series systems: active cruise control with Stop & Go function (which can configure several braking distances), frontal collision warning with automatic emergency braking (with emergency detector). pedestrians and cyclists included), notice for involuntary lane change, lane maintenance system, blind spot detector, rear and side cross traffic alert, dodge maneuver assistant or counter-direction alert.
On the other hand, it mounts as standard an autonomous parking attendant (it looks for an available space and operates on brake and steering to park in line) and reversing assistant, which not only throws an image on the display through the rear camera, but also that is able to memorize the space to leave the square where it is parked operating on the address in an autonomous way.
As of April, in the case of our market, it will also incorporate fatigue detector and attention to driving, through a camera located in the passenger compartment that monitors the driver’s position and head movements.