2019 BMW X7 SUV front

BMW has unveiled an all-new model to top its X Series line of SUVs: the all-new X7. This three-row SUV is considerably larger than the X5, with a luxurious cabin that's chock full of BMW's latest high-tech features and driver-assist systems. The upright, elegant exterior shape is highlighted by a huge BMW "kidney" grille and tall side windows, the latter hinting at an airy cabin with good outward visibility.

The German automaker says the X7 will arrive at dealerships in March 2019, starting at $73,900 for the X7 xDrive40i and $92,600 for the xDrive50i. In a first for BMW, customers can pre-order the X7 online. BMW says customers will be able to complete their refundable pre-order deposit transaction on a mobile device or computer. Pre-ordered X7s will receive production priority. 

2019 BMW X7
Starting price:
$73,900
What it competes with: Audi Q7, Cadillac Escalade, Infiniti QX80, Land Rover Range Rover, Lincoln Navigator, Mercedes-Benz GLS
What it looks like: The X7 bucks the trend of lower-slung, sporty-looking SUVs. Instead, it has a rather upright profile, with plenty of glass area that speaks to good outward views. And it has the largest kidney grille ever to adorn a BMW.
Powertrains: 335-hp, 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine and 456-hp, 4.4-liter turbocharged V8 engine. Each is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.
On-sale date: March 2019  

Outside

The Spartanburg, S.C.-built X7 measures 203 inches long. That makes it more than 9 inches longer than the X5 and about the same size as a Cadillac Escalade. Width is similar between the two SUVs, but the X7 is about 2 inches taller. The X7's size gives it considerably more luggage capacity than the X5. The 48.6 cubic feet available behind the third row is 12.8 cu. ft. more than the X5, while the X7's 90.4-cu.-ft. max capacity (with the second and third rows folded) yields 13.7 cu. ft. more space than the X5.

The company says the grille on the X7 is the largest ever fitted to a BMW. In contrast, the X7's headlights are very thin. The overall upright shape features large side windows, hinting at advantageous outward visibility, while the long rear doors should ease passengers getting in and out of the second and third rows.

The X7 is not a light car: BMW claims the curb weight ranges from 5,370 pounds for the base model to 5,617 pounds for the V8 version. 

2019 BMW X7 SUV dash

Inside

The X7 will come standard with seating for seven people. BMW promises that the two third-row seats are roomy enough to comfortably accommodate adults even on longer trips. Second-row captain's chairs are optional, and regardless of configuration, the second row can be electrically slid fore and aft a total of 5.7 inches.

The base xDrive40i comes standard with black faux-leather upholstery, but numerous color choices are available for the optional leather upholstery. The xDrive50i comes standard with leather, and either model is available with a very swanky-looking full leather interior.

A four-zone climate control system comes standard, with a five-zone system (giving third-row occupants the ability to adjust their own climate) available as an option. The Cold Weather package brings front and rear heated seats, a heated steering wheel, and even heated front-seat armrests. Both X7 versions come with a three-panel panoramic sunroof.

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Cabin ambience can be termed elegant high-tech, and nothing speaks more to this than the X7's high-resolution, driver-configurable instrument panel. This 12.3-inch instrument panel along with the 12.3-inch dash-mounted infotainment touch screen comprise the BMW Live Cockpit Professional—the combination of large screens and infotainment system. The infotainment system can be controlled using the iDrive controller knob, the touch screen, voice control, or through gesture control, where hand movements can change the volume settings and more.

As in other BMW models, a head-up display is optional on the xDrive40i and standard on the xDrive50i. It projects information such as the car's speed, speed limits, status indicators, and safety warnings from the driver-assistance systems, route guidance, and telephone and entertainment lists onto the windshield in front of the driver.

The BMW Connected app, combined with the Open Mobility Cloud digital platform, allows the car to connect with the customer's digital devices, including Apple iPhone and Watch, smartphones and smartwatches running the Android operating system, Alexa-compatible smart devices, and Google Home.

Drivers can also use certain smartphones to replace the key for unlocking or starting the X7. It works by using near field communication (NFC) technology. Holding the phone up to the door handle unlocks the SUV, and once inside, the engine can be started as soon as the phone has been placed in the wireless charging or smartphone tray. We'll have to experience it to see how well it works in practice.

The base X7 comes with a 10-speaker, 205-watt audio system; a Harman Kardon stereo comes on the xDrive50i. A Bowers & Wilkins audio system with 20 speakers and 1,500 watts of power is available for both X7 versions. An optional rear-seat entertainment system includes two 10.2-inch HD touch-screen displays, a Blu-ray-compatible DVD player, an HDMI socket, and two headphone jacks.

The X7 will be available with high-end luxury touches such as glass controls for the starter button, gear shift lever, iDrive controller, and radio volume knob, as well as LEDs for the panoramic roof, capable of generating a display that looks like a starlit sky.  

2019 BMW X7 SUV third-row seat

What Drives It

The base X7 xDrive40i has a 335-hp, 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine. The xDrive50i has an upgraded version of BMW's 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 that puts out 456 hp. Both engines come mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission that BMW says has been improved to increase efficiency. This transmission has the ability to work with the navigation system and the optional adaptive cruise control to react to upcoming road conditions, including downshifting early when approaching a downhill or a car ahead to use engine braking to maintain current speed or decelerate.

BMW claims the xDrive40i can go from 0-60 mph in 5.8 seconds, with the more powerful xDrive50i hitting the same mark in just 5.2 seconds, numbers which would make the X7 considerably quicker than most of its competitors.

The X7 comes standard with an electronically controlled adjustable air suspension. The driver can alter the suspension settings from comfort to sporty. The system also uses cameras to preview the road ahead, for instance to stiffen up the suspension for an upcoming turn or soften the suspension when it senses road imperfections. The driver can also raise the car's ride height by up to 1.6 inches for off-road travel or lower it to make loading passengers and cargo easier.

Safety and Driver-Assist Systems

The X7 will come standard with forward-collision warning, city-speed automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic warning, and lane-departure warning.

The xDrive50i also includes a 360-degree camera, a parking assistance system, and Extended Traffic Jam Assist. That last item helps the driver during stop-and-go highway travel up to 37 mph by taking care of the car's speed, braking, and steering, provided the driver continues to stay attentive to the road. This attentiveness is monitored by a driver-facing optical/infrared camera located in the instrument panel to monitor the driver's eye and nose position to make sure they are watching the road.

CR's Take

The larger X7 is likely to deliver roominess and a high-quality interior chock-full of technology, much like the smaller X5. We'll know more after we drive one for ourselves.  

2019 BMW X7 SUV rear