• BMW’s first standard 3-row luxury SUV
  • Available with an inline-6 or a V8
  • Full-time all-wheel drive standard
  • Seats 6 or 7
  • Built in South Carolina
  • On sale now
  • xDrive40i starts at $73,900, xDrive50i at $92,600

 

Although BMW’s X5 is available with an optional 3rd-row seat, the new 2019 BMW X7 has a standard third row that’s a much more spacious bench and accommodates two adults (up to about 6-feet tall) in remarkably good comfort. The new X7 is available with a smooth 3.0-liter inline-6 engine in the xDrive40i, or a far throatier 4.4-liter V8 in the xDrive50i. All-wheel drive is standard in both, as is an 8-speed automatic transmission. In overall size, BMW’s new X7 is nearly a match to its main competitor, the Mercedes-Benz GLS, and it’s only 0.7 inches shorter than a Chevrolet Tahoe. Although big, the X7 is a fraction of an inch shorter than the company’s large 7 Series luxury sedan in overall length.

Comfortable long-distance hauler

In one long day, we drove the new 2019 BMW X7 from Tallahassee to Baton Rouge, a 458-mile trip that took us across the panhandle of Florida, along the Gulf Coast and then across Alabama and Mississippi into Louisiana. We drove a V8-powered X7 xDrive50i in the morning and a 6-cylinder X7 xDrive40i in the afternoon. Impressions:

The BMW X7 xDrive50i: When you fire up the xDrive50i, it comes to life with a roar. The 456-horsepower V8, blessed with snappy throttle response and a rip-roaring exhaust note, makes the X7 feel quick. Although the X7 50i has a limited top speed of 130 mph (the same as the 40i’s), BMW says it hits 60 mph in 5.2 seconds. What you notice most of all on the highway is just how stable and quiet this big BMW X7 is. When you’re traveling at 70 mph, it feels like you’re going about 50, and the ride delivered by the standard air suspension felt comfortable without being floaty. When we switched the X7 to Sport mode, the chassis dropped 20 millimeters and the ride got noticeably firmer but not unpleasant. The throttle and transmission also became more responsive; in fact, when we switched to Sport, the X7 immediately dropped down a gear and began accelerating even though we kept the gas pedal in the same exact position. As we pulled in for lunch near Pensacola, Florida, the X7’s onboard computer registered 17.8 mpg. Not great.

The BMW X7 xDrive40i: Although the 6-cylinder X7 has a bit less power and torque than the xDrive50i, it’s about $20,000 less expensive and feels totally acceptable in everyday use. The 335-horsepower inline-6 is smooth, and the twin-scroll turbocharger provides plenty of linear power with no hint of lag, which is much appreciated in a vehicle with a substantial curb weight of 5,370 pounds. BMW says the xDrive40i hits 60 mph in 5.8 seconds. Like the X7 xDrive50i, the X7 xDrive40i gobbles up miles with ease, but with the refined 6-cylinder being more in the background than the raucous V8. The 8-speed automatic shifted smoothly and when we wanted it to, so we rarely if at all used the paddles on the back of the X7’s thick-rimmed steering wheel. When we pulled into a wet Baton Rouge at the end of the day, our trip computer indicated 21.7 mpg: a big improvement over the xDrive50i.

Check out the new and redesigned cars of 2019

Roomy interior

The 2019 BMW X7 can be ordered as a 7-seater with a center bench or a 6-seater with second-row captain’s chairs. Either way, this large and opulent new BMW SUV is handsome inside, with lots of attractive leather and wood trim. The 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is modern and highly configurable, and BMW’s seventh-generation iDrive controller has its usual spot on the center console, backed by a few redundant (but appreciated) buttons. Overall space inside this big BMW SUV is excellent; there’s enough headroom and legroom in both of the X7’s rear rows for 6-foot-tall passengers to sit comfortably. Moreover, the second-row seats tip forward to aid ingress and egress, further aided by rear side doors that have been lengthened to improve interior access. Also handy: The X7’s middle- and back-row seatbacks can be automatically lowered (or returned to their upright position) via a handy button in the cargo area.

High level of standard equipment

All 2019 BMW X7s are fitted with 21-inch wheels, run-flat tires, heated front seats, air suspension, a panoramic moonroof, onboard Wi-Fi, wireless smartphone charging, tinted rear privacy glass and power-adjustable seats in all three rows. Also standard: 4-zone climate control, wireless Apple CarPlay and Active Driving Assistant, a safety suite of technologies that includes blind-spot detection, lane-departure warning, rear-collision warning, frontal-collision warning (with pedestrian protection), rear cross-traffic alert and speed-limit information. The xDrive50i adds to that with a 360-degree top-view camera system that aids parking, plus a head-up display and Active Driving Professional, which adds lane-keeping assist and traffic-jam assistant.

This last system, which works only on limited-access highways at speeds up to 37 mph, is a step toward autonomous driving. An interior optical/infrared camera monitors the driver’s face to determine if he’s watching the road ahead. If he’s deemed attentive, he doesn’t have to keep his hands on the steering wheel of the X7, which continues down the road autonomously. Also, when lane-keeping assist is active, the X7’s automatic lane-change feature can be used. By moving the directional stalk in the direction of the desired lane change, the X7 determines if there’s enough space in the adjacent lane and then steers into the spot if one’s available.

2019 Car Reviews: First takes on new models

Fuel economy: a mixed bag

EPA fuel economy for the new BMW X7 xDrive40i is a respectable 20-mpg city/25-mpg highway. The 4.4-liter V8 in the xDrive50i, with twin turbochargers nestled in its vee, drinks a bit more premium unleaded, returning EPA figures of 15 mpg city and 21 mpg highway. With either engine, max tow capacity of the 2019 BMW X7 is 7,500 pounds.

3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 (xDrive40i)
335 horsepower @ 5,500-6,500 rpm
330 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-5,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/25 mpg

4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (xDrive50i)
456 horsepower @ 5,250-6,000 rpm
479 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 mpg

How much does the BMW X7 cost?

The 2019 BMW X7 xDrive40i, fitted with the turbo 3.0-liter inline-6, starts at $73,900. The 2019 BMW X7 xDrive50i, powered by the twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8, begins at $92,600. A fully loaded xDrive40i can reach $100,000, while the xDrive50i can hit around $121,000. Destination charge for both vehicles is $995.

For the record, the 2019 BMW X5 starts at $60,700, a Mercedes-Benz GLS450 at $70,150, and a V6-powered 2019 Audi Q7 at $59,950.

Final thoughts

Although the BMW X7 is a big new SUV designed for America, it’s a bit shorter than a BMW 740i sedan and is being sold around the world, in many places with a diesel engine. With a 2-2-2 seating configuration, the X7 is a luxury executive transport, a substitute for a 740i. With 2-3-2 seating, the X7 is more of a family hauler, but with the same stellar suspension tuning and engine choices. Both are comfortable layouts, and unless you have a super strong hankering for a rumbly V8 engine, the 6-cylinder X7 xDrive40i should have no trouble meeting your needs.

 

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