heycar editorial team
- Massive, beautifully made cabin
- Arguably the best infotainment system in the business
- Wonderfully sophisticated driving experience
Not so great
- Not cheap, either to buy or to run
- Looks will divide opinion
- Takes ages for the rear seats to fold electrically
On the inside
How much does it cost to run
Prices, versions and specification
"Never one to shy away from a challenge, the X7 is BMW’s rival to the legion of prestige luxury SUVs out there, taking on big names like Audi, Mercedes-Benz and, of course, the all-conquering Range Rover. "
Complete with seven-seats, a luxurious interior and cutting edge technology, the BMW makes a strong case for itself as the best big SUV on the market. And we do mean big. Even next to its massive competitors, the X7 looks like a complete beast thanks to its epic proportions and that gigantic, grille at the front. This car is no wallflower, that’s for sure.
The X7’s size brings more benefits than just on-road presence, too. All of the seven seats are surrounded by absolutely loads of space, making this one of the roomiest people-movers you’ll ever encounter. All the seats fold down and flip back up electrically, but while this makes the process very easy, it also makes it painfully slow. There's a split tailgate (both parts electrically operated, naturally) and a huge boot along with a standard-fit electrically-operated panoramic glass roof.
Trademark BMW quality is evident throughout, but the cabin has an even more luxurious feel than the smaller BMW X5, with sumptuous materials everywhere you look. There's plenty of cutting edge technology, too, including a fully-digital instrument cluster. That said, we don't think it feels quite as special as a Range Rover.
The engine line up comprises two petrols and two diesels. They’re all superb, with a brilliant mix of power and refinement, but it’s the entry-level diesel, the 30d, that's the one to go for. And despite its size and bulk, the X7 handles very well for such a big car, making it more agile than most of the competition.
Its real forte is ride comfort, though, especially on the motorway. That said, wherever you drive it, it's smooth, quiet and effortless.
If you're after a mammoth SUV, there are some brilliant choices, with very fine margins between them. However, the X7 makes a really strong case for itself, not least thanks to its sophisticated road manners and the spacious, high-quality cabin.
Comfort and design
"In terms of dashboard design, the X7 is more-or-less identical to the smaller X5. That means there aren’t too many buttons, with most functions being operated through the excellent infotainment system that we’ll talk about in a moment, but those that remain are logically placed, well marked and big enough to hit at a glance."
All versions have front seats that move electrically, so it’s easy to dial in your favoured driving position. The huge chairs are wonderfully supportive, too. You sit high up, just how SUV drivers like it, and your view in all directions is also pretty clear.
Despite that, trying to manoeuvre a car as enormous as the X7 isn’t easy, so the standard kit list includes sensors and camera all over the place, plus a self-parking function. Handy.
Handling and ride quality
"Despite BMW’s ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’ tagline, you’re never going to get an SUV the size of the X7 to handle like a sports car, so the engineers (rightly) decided to focus on comfort. And they’ve done a cracking job, too."
The X7 pretty much pummels most bumps into submission, and the standard air suspension does a brilliant job of isolating you from the effects of bigger ones. If you’re being really picky, it’s not quite as effortlessly cosseting as the Q7, because it shudders ever so slightly over bad potholes in a way that the Audi doesn’t, but it’s still a very close-run thing
Considering the size and weight of this car, it does a pretty decent job in the corners, too. Sure, it never shakes off its bulk, but there’s not as much body lean as you might expect so it feels stable and secure when changing direction. Again, it’s not as athletic as the Q7 on that score, but it’s certainly a lot less wallowy and cumbersome than a Range Rover.
The steering is quick enough and nicely weighted, and if you regularly use your X7 in town, you might want to find an example with the optional four-wheel steering fitted. This turns the rear wheels in the same direction as the fronts at high speed to aid stability, and in the opposite direction at low speeds to aid manoeuvrability, and it’s really effective.
MPG and fuel costs
"You’d expect a car of the X7’s proportions to be a bit on the thirsty side, and you’d be right, although to be fair, it actually performs a little better than most rivals on this score. "
The most (but still not particularly) frugal version is the 30d with an official WLTP figure of around 33mpg, while the more powerful 50d diesel places second with a figure of about 31mpg. Unsurprisingly, the 40i is the best of the petrols on 25mpg, while the 50i has a combined figure of just 21mpg. And you’ll do very well to get anywhere near that in the real world, even with a very well-behaved right foot.
How much should you be paying for a used BMW X7?
"Like all massive luxury SUVs, the BMW X7 is a fantastically expensive machine. At the time of writing, prices from brand new X7s began at just over £74,000 for the basic xDrive 30d, while the range-topping M50i cost around £93,000."
Fantastically expensive for most of us, perhaps, but not all that fantastically expensive when compared with rivals. Those prices were on a par with what you’d pay for an Audi Q7 or Mercedes GLS, and quite a bit cheaper than you’d pay for a Range Rover or Bentley Bentayga.
The X7’s resale values are among the strongest in the class, meaning prices for used examples won’t fall as quickly as those for some rivals will. And, having only been released in 2019, prices haven’t had a chance to fall all that far yet. Still, finding a nice, tidy pre-reg version will be just like having a brand new X7, just with a very tempting discount.
Ready to get your top quality BMW X7?
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Xdrive30D M Sport 5Dr Step Auto
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Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £994.24, Customer Deposit: £9,750.00, Total Deposit: £9,750.00, Optional Final Payment: £30,323.45, Total Charge For Credit: £9,871.85, Total Amount Payable: £74,871.85, Representative APR: 7.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 7.9%, Excess Mileage Charge: 16.75ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000
Is the BMW X7 right for you?
Do you have lots and lots of cash? Do you have an absolutely enormous garage? Do you have a considerable number of children or friends? Do you like the finer things in life? If the answer to all of these questions is a resounding yes, then the BMW X7 could well be the car for you.
The sheer size of this car is one of its main attractions. Firstly, it gives the car massive visual impact, ensuring that you never go unnoticed, and it also gives a level of interior space that has the beating of most rivals. Yes, it’s expensive, but no more so than many rivals, and the unbelievable quality on display, and the vast amount of luxury kit you get, mean that it feels like money well spent. If you need a single car that can do everything a well-heeled family can throw at it, the X7 is definitely worth a look.
What's the best BMW X7 model/engine to choose?
Of the four engines on offer, our pick would be the entry-level 30d diesel. Despite having the least power of the quartet, it’s still more than muscular enough to shift the enormous X7 around with a fair bit of intent. The 0-62mph dash takes just 7.0 seconds, and in a car the size that’s plenty. Yes, the rest are quicker, but they’re also pricier, thirstier and barely any more refined, less so in some cases.
Similarly, there’s no reason to upgrade from the basic trim, although we fully expect most buyers to pay the extra for the M Sport car. This brings some visual upgrades inside and out (mainly out), and some beefier brakes, but pretty much nowt in the way of extra kit. It’s the same story with the range-topping M50i and M50d models. Each might get a fire-breathing engine and some extra bits of visual sparkle, but that’s it.
What other cars are similar to the BMW X7?
As a luxury seven-seat SUV, and an enormous one at that, the X7’s rivals come in the form of the Audi Q7, Mercedes-Benz GLS and Volvo XC90. However, arguably the car that the big BMW is gunning for most isn’t even a direct rival, and that’s the five-seat Range Rover.
The thing is, at this end of the market, the important thing isn’t how many seats a car has or how versatile it is, although those things are admittedly important. No, it’s about how special the car makes you feel, and what message it conveys to others about your success. That’s why these cars are so desirable, that’s why people pay so much for them, and that’s why the imperious X7 is aimed right down the Range Rover’s throat. Game on.
Quality and finish
One peek inside the X7 is enough to tell you that this is one seriously posh environment. Everywhere you look, you’ll find materials, surfaces and finishes that simply ooze quality and class, and no matter how hard you hunt, you’ll fail to find a single part that falls below this incredibly high standard.
The design isn’t perhaps as showy as in some rivals, with simple features designed with ergonomics in mind, but it’ll match anything else in the class on sheer quality. The same goes for the standard of the assembly, which feels faultless from start to finish.
Stepping up from the basic models to MSport or 50i/50d trims bring a few interior differences like darker headlinings and different kick plates, but overall, all versions of the X7 feel as opulent as each other.
Effectively, all versions of the X7 get the same infotainment system, and the good news is that it’s one of the best in the business. Importantly, it’s got the majority of important functionality covered. There’s navigation, Bluetooth, DAB radio, a wifi hotspot, wireless phone charging and a whole bunch of clever connected services. Apple Carplay is also supported, but Android Auto isn’t. It will be in time, but only on a handful of Android devices.
What’s great about BMW's infotainment system, though, is that it’s so easy to use. Like every other system under the sun, it has touchscreen functionality, but what marks out the BMW is that it can also be operated using shortcut buttons and a scrolling wheel on the centre console, which is much simpler and much less distracting on the road. Despite the complexity of the system, it’s hugely intuitive to use, with logically arranged menus and easy-to-find features. The graphics are sharp and fast, so it’s nice to look at and slick to use. This really is as good as it gets.
The voice control functionality is also better than most, and if you so choose, you can also operate the system using gesture control; you basically wave your hand in front of the dashboard in a certain way to control certain functions. To use a popular phrase, gesture control is where BMW ‘jumped the shark’ with its infotainment, because it’s a completely pointless gimmick. The rest of the system, though, is wonderful.
Space and practicality
You’d rightfully expect a seven-seater on the scale of the X7 to be hugely practical and versatile, and you won’t be disappointed by the X7. There’s a huge amount of space up front, and again in the middle row of seats, there’s a massive amount of headroom and legroom, allowing even tall passengers to stretch out luxuriously. The enormous width of the cabin, plus the flat rear floor, allows you to seat three across the rear bench in relative comfort, too, not something that all cars of even this size can achieve.
The third row of seats is also very roomy indeed, roomy enough for even tall adults to travel comfortably. In fact, the rearmost seats are some of the roomiest in the class, so if you need a posh team bus for your five-a-side team plus substitutes, this is it. Access is also good thanks to huge rear doors and a large gap between the seats to clamber through.
All of the seats behind the front ones can be raised or lowered - and in the case of the middle ones, slid and reclined - electrically. This has both positives and negatives. On the plus side, it’s very easy, but on the negative side, it’s very slow. If you’re trying to get lots of people into the car when it’s raining, you won’t want to be waiting around for the seat mechanisms to finish doing their thing.
With all seven seats in place, the boot is big enough for a few shopping bags or a couple of carry-on cases, but in five-seat mode, the load area is immense. The split tailgate arrangement also provides a handy shelf to make loading heavy items easier, or to act as a bench while removing muddy boots. Turn your X7 into a two-seater, and there’s enough room to carry a moderately sized sofa. All the chairs fold flat into the floor, leaving you with a flush load area, too.
BMW also offered the option of replacing the three middle seats with two individual chairs offering their own armrests and a huge range of electrical adjustment for extra luxury. Bear in mind, though, that if your car has these fitted, you won’t be able to fold these chairs down flat.
Engines and gearboxes
You have the choice of four engines in the X7, two diesel and two petrol. The starting point is the 30d diesel, which is a 3.0-litre six-cylinder unit with 265PS. It has enough low- and mid-range muscle to get the huge X7 up to speed impressively quickly, and for a car of this size, it even has a surprisingly strong turn of speed on the move. It’s all you need in the X7, and that’s what makes it our favourite.
If you’re after even more pace, however, the M50d uses the same basic unit, but with four (yes, four) turbochargers to hike the power up to 400PS. It’s absolutely savage in the way it gets away from the mark cutting the 0-62mph dash from 7.0 seconds in the 30d to just 5.4 seconds. Fun, yes, but expensive and rather needless for most X7 buyers.
The entry-point for petrol buyers is the 40i, a 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo with 340PS. It’s a bit too thirsty to be our recommended engine, but it’s a very pleasant thing nonetheless. It’s really responsive, even at the bottom of the rev range, and as the revs rise, it punches properly hard. At the top of the range is the 50i, with its 4.4-litre V8. We haven’t had the chance to try it yet, but with a snarling 530PS, it’s doubtless going to be bonkers fast.
All cars come with a cracking eight-speed gearbox that swaps cogs pretty quickly and smoothly. There is a slight delay when you really put your foot down, but it’s nowhere near as ponderous on that score as rivals such as the Audi Q7 and Range Rover.
Refinement and noise levels
All of the engines in the X7 do a great job of keeping your life civilised. Even the 30d engine goes about its business smoothly and quietly, and is even less intrusive than the equivalent units in the Audi Q7 and Range Rover. The 50d, meanwhile, is actually a bit noisier than its less powerful counterpart, but it’s still far from raucous.
The 40i petrol is even sweeter; whisper quiet at a steady cruise, but with a satisfying snarl if you choose to pick up the pace. Refinement is also top-drawer in other areas. Very little wind or road noise make it into the cabin, even at high speed, and you barely hear a peep from the suspension, even on relatively rough roads.
All X7s get the same basic suite of safety equipment, which we reckon is a good thing. It means that buyers of cheaper (in the very loosest sense of the word) versions aren’t penalised in this important area.
As well as a comprehensive suite of airbags and stability aids, the X7 comes with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, run-flat tyres, speed limit information, front and rear parking sensors with cameras, a self-parking function and cruise control with a braking function. More was available from the options list in the form of the Driving Assistant Professional pack. This added a vast suite of added semi-autonomous functionality that would effectively allow the car to drive itself under certain circumstances.
Insurance groups and costs
Easy one, this. All versions of the X7 sit in group 50 for insurance. Which is the most expensive one there is. Which is a shame. But come on, are you really surprised? Yes, insurance costs will be high, but so will all other costs where the X7 is concerned. If you can afford to buy a car like this, then your annual insurance premium will probably be a drop in the well.
VED car tax
When you buy a car as expensive as the X7, you’d expect the Exchequer to take its cut, and it most certainly does. The good news is that used buyers will dodge the ‘showroom tax’ that buyers of new X7’s will pay. This will be either £1850 or £2175 depending on the version, and will be rolled up in the car’s on-the-road price. From then on, VED bills on all X7s will be £475 for the next five years of the car’s life, and then down to £150 per year after that.
Trim levels and standard equipment
There’s very little that’s basic about the X7 in its basic form. Aside from all the safety and infotainment kit we’ve already talked about, all X7s come with four-zone climate control, a panoramic roof, heated front and rear seats, soft-close doors, leather upholstery, ambient lighting and automatic lights and wipers.
Aside from upgraded brakes, the step up to M Sport trim (which cost around £2500 on brand new examples) only really earns you aesthetic upgrades inside and out. Despite that, this will still probably be the best-selling trim.
It’s a similar story with the range-topping 50i and 50d models. Most of the difference are aesthetic ones, although you do get a performance differential and uprated Harman Kardon speakers.
On the inside
How much does it cost to run
Prices, versions and specification
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