BMW X7 M60i test drive: Defying the laws of physics

In an era where almost every manufacturer offers a crossover or any vehicle that aspires to have the prowess or allure of an SUV, the true concept of a Sport Utility Vehicle seems to be getting lost in the shadows. In the desire to offer taller, more spacious and more capable cars to the market, it seems that true SUVs are disappearing in the crowd.

But sometimes we are reminded that there are still cars like this, which color between the lines and tick all the necessary boxes to be a true SUV. This is also the case with the BMW X7, the largest SUV in the Bavarian range, a car as imposing as it is comfortable and friendly to its passengers.

The BMW X7 was presented to the public in 2018, becoming the largest SUV available in the German manufacturer’s offer, but also an important competitor in the premium car market, where its main rival is the Mercedes-Benz GLS. Meanwhile, BMW has given the full-size SUV a facelift, bringing in some cosmetic and technical tweaks to keep it fresh.

We had the opportunity to test a BMW X7 M60i, the top of the range of the German SUV, a version that hides under the long hood a new engine that we will talk about, but in turn, a little later.

The face change

On the occasion of this facelift, the BMW X7 received a completely new front end, which aligns with the new 7 Series. Thus, the optical blocks have been divided into two: the daytime running lights and signals are embedded in the upper one, while the of the main lights sits fixedly below it, incorporating the dipped beam and main beam. The new headlights with LED technology are adaptive and provide good lighting at night, and the intelligent high beam will not blind other road users.

There’s also a new front bumper and, being the M60i variant, the M Sport package comes as standard, so the front end is more aggressive. The grille has remained the same, being active, and I can say that the whole design of the front comes together more nicely than the pre-facelift version. It feels like everything comes together better and the bulkiness of the car is broken up, which isn’t a bad thing.

Otherwise, we have rims with a new design, the same imposing, large profile, since we are talking about a car with a length of almost 5.2 meters and a height of 1.82 meters, but also some changes brought to the rear. The optical blocks are new, but not radically different from before, something that can be said about the back of the X7 in general.

Important changes to the interior

The BMW X7 also enjoys some important changes to the interior, especially technological ones. The dashboard has been revised as it now incorporates the two new screens of the eighth-generation iDrive infotainment system. Some like it, some don’t, but I think it just takes a little settling in time. Indeed, it is a very complex system and perhaps not so intuitive, but habit comes into play. The biggest problem, in my opinion, is the lack of physical controls for the climate control. And maybe it wouldn’t be such a big problem in other cars, but in the case of the X7 there are multiple controls, which makes navigation even more complicated, especially while driving. It benefits from the very good resolution of the screens, the high refresh rate and the large, highly configurable head-up display.

The materials are top quality and you can hardly find a plastic that you can say actually bothers you. Most surfaces are upholstered in leather, including the dash and the bottom of the doors, which adds to the perceived quality. Everywhere you put your hand, you will be greeted by good quality materials: leather, wood, aluminum or crystals. Yes, crystals, because in the configuration we tested, the gear selector, engine start/stop button and infotainment wheel were made of crystal, part of the Crafted Clarity package, which gives them a very elegant look, but reflections can be annoying sometimes, especially on a sunny day.

Comfort worthy of a premium car

The BMW X7 M60i is a big, supremely comfortable car despite its sporty name. The air suspension brilliantly filters out all the bumps and asperities of the road and depending on the scenario, the ground clearance of the car can be increased or decreased. Even though the car was equipped with 22-inch rims and wide tires, they did not affect the comfort and quietness of the cabin. A very good thing, as we were able to enjoy the sound of the V8 engine, although at times you can tell there is some sound being pumped through the speakers of the Bowers & Wilkins Diamond audio system, but not in a disturbing way.

The heated, ventilated and massaging seats, which have multiple adjustments, contribute to the comfortable experience, so that everyone can find their ideal position behind the wheel. And the passengers in the second row are treated very well, as the car came with two individual seats, with electric and heated adjustments. In addition, there is double air conditioning on the second row of seats, as well as electric curtains, in case you want to hide from prying eyes.

Even those on the 3rd row of seats do not lack comfort. An adult with a height of up to 1.80 meters will be able to travel without problems on the last row of seats, without being bothered by the space. Those in the last row also benefit from charging ports for phones or tablets, a fifth climate zone and even heated seats. Last but not least, the absolutely huge panoramic sunroof, which will also be enjoyed by passengers in the third row of seats, brings a lot of light into the cabin of the X7, and at night it is illuminated in whatever color you chose for the ambient lighting.

The BMW X7 M60i has a bipolar personality

Why am I saying this? I say that because it can be a supremely comfortable car, but very quick when you ask it to be. It is the first time BMW has combined a V8 engine with an electric one, resulting in a mild-hybrid powertrain. Thus, an electric motor of approximately 12 HP mounted between the engine and the gearbox and engine helps to increase efficiency, but also to reduce taxes.

The new 4.4-liter V8 engine, called the S68, delivers 530 hp and 750 Nm of maximum torque to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The gear changes are very smooth, but if we put the car in Sport mode and the transmission in manual, the gear changes make their presence felt, but in a pleasant, satisfying way I would say.

Despite the mass of almost 2,700 kg, the car can sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.7 seconds, having a maximum speed of 250 km/h. Any overtaking will be accomplished without too much effort, and the abundant torque will mean the transmission won’t have to downshift as often.

Even though it is an SUV that is almost 5.2 meters long and has a mass of around 2,700 kg, the BMW X7 M60i handles the turns as you would not expect from such a car. The mass is kept in check very well by the suspension, but also by the active stabilizer bars. You’d expect it to lean more into corners, but it doesn’t.

It’s never going to be a sports car, but it controls its mass and manages to feel like a smaller car than it actually is. All-wheel steering, which comes standard on the X7 M60i, contributes to this aspect and contributes to the increased maneuverability of this large SUV. You’ll especially feel it at higher speeds, when it steers in the same direction as the wheels on the front axle and makes you feel like you’re behind the wheel of a shorter car. The xDrive all-wheel drive completes the package, being a system that sends most of the power to the rear axle, giving the car good dynamics that you can enjoy on a road with a few turns.

Everything has a price, and it is not a small one

The BMW X7 M60i is an SUV in the true sense of the word. It has a classic, almost square shape, which gives it a vast interior space, but also a massive and imposing appearance. The powerful engine moves the heavy body exemplarily, and for those really interested in consumption, during our test, the car averaged 14.8 liters per hundred kilometers. I obtained this consumption in the conditions in which I used the car through a crowded Bucharest, but also on national roads, and I cannot say that I managed it to extract the best possible consumption: it is a consumption obtained in real conditions of driving.

As for the price of the car, the BMW X7 M60i has a starting price of 126,140 euros in Romania. The car we tested was very well configured, and the final price was 150,632 euros including VAT.


Source: Promotor by

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