Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins
It’s very obvious that Americans love their SUVs no matter the size or mileage. From smaller crossovers with amazing fuel efficiency to full-size, pompous road warriors that can escort seven in comfort, consumer demand for the latest utility continues to increase year after year. BMW is no stranger to the category as they literally offer an X-model for every personality trait and all capabilities starting with the introductory X1. So it wasn’t an afterthought that the technology driven 2019 X7 xDrive50i would be arriving soon to satisfy expectations for a bigger, smarter and more luxurious SUV in the marketplace.
Traditionally, individuals looking for a sizeable, sophisticated, and performance oriented SUV turned their attention towards the attractive Range Rover, Escalade or QX80. Income is typically not an issue as desire takes precedence over financial strategy. Room for friends and family, endless amenities and a powerful V8 are key ingredients to a recipe that showcases the owner’s societal status and core fundamentals.
For example, the 2019 BMW X7 xDrive50i tested for a week in my hometown of Silver Spring, MD came with a $108,195 price tag. MSRP is $92,600 without the additional packages that seemed very fitting. But I’m not sure how you would drive off the dealer lot minus the $1,200 Cold Weather Package unless you live in sunshine 24/7, the $1,550 Premium Package or the $2,100 Executive Package. Now maybe you can do without the $2,950 Off-road Package since a very minute percentage of SUV owners will venture into the wild with their mobile homes. Perhaps the $3,700 Ivory White/Night Blue Merino interior option can also be bypassed unless you feel compelled to treat your X7 as the new limo replacement for proms and weddings. I actually took the German SUV mountain biking using the hitch for the Thule rack but didn’t feel right sitting within the pristine cabin with my sweaty gear. Maybe I’m more suited for the X6 or X5.
“Dad, is this glass?” my daughter asked. Yes, it’s a glass gear shift lever I replied. “How is that possible?” she continued. It’s BMW I stated. Glass Controls is included in the aforementioned Executive Package or available as a $650 stand-alone option on the xDrive50i. In fact, every passenger aboard the X7 express was mesmerized by the luxuriant feature as well as the rest of the posh cabin such as the Fineline Brown wood trim, leather dashboard, wireless charging, Harman Kardon surround sound, WiFi hotspot, heated/cooled cup holders, Anthracite Alcantara headliner, Panorama Sky Lounge LED roof that portrays a starlit sky in the evening, 20-way power multi-contour front seats and the BMW Live Cockpit with the latest version of iDrive 7.0 and its massive 12.3” touchscreen. Though, with all this software overseeing what used to be basic operations I had trouble with the seat adjustments. The third-row seats wouldn’t lay flat using the automatic controls during a time when I had to load a few sizeable items. Then, the driver seat wouldn’t lean back, only forward, so I was stuck riding bent forward a bit for the remainder of my time allocation. Technology is a blessing when it works but a major headache when it stalls. Comfort was provided in the second-row by cozy leather seats with vast legroom and headrest pillow cushions reminiscent of what you receive in a Rolls-Royce, which BMW owns.
What I enjoyed the most about the X7 was the beautiful and roaring sound of the exhaust note once the 4.4-liter TwinPower Turbo V8 was ignited. It’s a special engine for BMW and creates extensive power with efficiency in mind. The 4.4 is paired with an 8-speed Sport Automatic transmission featuring Launch Control and steering wheel mounted shift paddles. To temper its impulses, Driving Dynamics Control allows you to set the SUV in either ECO PRO, COMFORT, SPORT or SPORT+ mode. A 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine is also available. For such a large vehicle the X7 gets out when needed due to 479 lb-ft of torque available from 1,500 rpm and 456-horsepower at your disposal starting at 5,250 rpm. The $650 M Sport Brakes are on point when deceleration is required. To ascertain the X7 was “Ultimate Drive Machine” worthy, BMW enhanced its capabilities with Dynamic Brake Control, Dynamic Stability Control, Dynamic Traction Control, Cornering Brake Control and of course xDrive all-wheel-drive. Basically, everything is dynamic! Oh, I can’t forget about the self-leveling air suspension.
The exterior is set up by the huge double kidney grille, 21” Y-spoke bi-color rims, Satin Aluminum trim, static running boards, adaptive LED twin headlights and fog lights and the split opening tailgate. Aside from those characteristics the X7 resembles a bigger X5. The big body X7’s dimensions are 203.3” length, 78.7” width and 71” height.
The typical safety systems such as Lane Departure Control, Active Driving Assistant Pro, Frontal Collision Warning and Active Blind Spot Detection are in play and can assist in areas where the driver loses site of vehicle positioning or has a delayed reaction time. However, I turn off as many of the automated systems as possible when testing because I prefer to control the vehicle as much as the auto brand will allow me to. Either or, the 2019 X7 impresses and leaves little to the imagination since BMW has already foreshadowed your drive expectations.