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July 18, 2021

Review: 2021 BMW X7 xDrive30d Pure Excellence

It took BMW some time to come up with their very own ultra-large SUV. While the other members of the so-called German “Big Three” have been pampering wealthy tycoons for quite a while now, BMW only joined the Cristal Champagne chug fest in 2019. But what an arrival it is.

At 5.15 meters long, 2 meters wide, and 1.8 meters tall, the X7 is, how ever you look at it, huge. Its sheer scale already gives it presence, but add to that a tightly wrapped angular design and you’ve got a luxury SUV with “gravitas” as its middle name. By far, its most controversial aspect is the ginormous double kidney grille, amplified even more by the designer’s decision to slim down the laser headlights. Admittedly, it takes getting used to, but after starting at it for some time, it seems to work. Again, it’s all about announcing your presence, and in this case, there’s no mistaking it for any other BMW on the road.

Now, for an SUV with such an ostentatious exterior, it’s quite surprising that the X7’s interior is rather low-key. However, where it fails on showiness, the X7 makes up for that on quality. Every surface you look at or touch screams quality and craftsmanship, and this lends its interior a truly upscale ambience.

In terms of layout, the X7’s dashboard doesn’t stray far from the rest of the BMW SAV line-up, particularly, the X5. That said, there are a few special touches to remind you of its status as the flagship of the line-up such as the knurled finish to the infotainment controller and a crystal-glass gear selector.

Cutting-edge technology is something of a BMW specialty, and the X7 doesn’t disappoint in that field. With the BMW Live Cockpit Professional system, it gets two 12.3-inch digital displays, one serving as the instrument cluster, and the other serving as the interface to the infotainment system. The gauges are sharp and easy-to-read, and switches its layout based on the selected driving mode. Meanwhile, the infotainment system itself, powered by the latest iDrive system is extremely responsive and can be accessed via the touchscreen or rotary controller.

On top of those, there’s gesture control to adjust the volume, skip music tracks, or change radio stations. It’s a great way to impress your date probably once, but waving your hand in midair becomes silly after a while. Not to mention, if you tend to be animated during your in-car discussions, this can set the system off. With so many other easier to use interfaces available, it’s best to turn this function off completely.

Befitting a flagship SUV, the X7 comes fully loaded. Not only does it have a myriad of connectivity options from Bluetooth to USB (both Type A and Type C), but it also has wireless Apple CarPlay and even a crystal clear 16-speaker Harman Kardon speaker system. A five-zone climate control system and Sky Lounge—the panoramic sunroof that stretches all the way to the third row seats are standard too. Perhaps the only glaring omission here would be cooled or ventilated seats.

Whether it’s an airline seat, hotel room, or top-shelf SUV, spaciousness equals luxury so it’s good news that the X7 delivers proper, front of the plane, five-star comfort for seven.

With such a massive footprint, the X7 has tons of interior space. Upfront, it’s tall and airy, and so wide that the driver could almost feel like they’re in a different zip code to their front passenger.

There’s also plenty of room for those on the second-row seats to stretch out and, with no shortage of head, leg, or shoulder room; even three adults sitting side-by-side will be comfortable. The seats can be moved forwards and backwards electrically in a 60/40 configuration, and can be folded in a 40/20/40 split.

The third row in the X7 is seriously roomy as well. Even a couple of six footers will fit comfortably enough. Access to the third row is easy not just because of the wide rear doors, but because the second row seats lift up out of the way electronically. All it takes is just one button, and you’ll watch the seats execute an intricate ballet—no need to fumble through multiple levers. On the flipside, some find the entire process to be slow, and this can annoy occupants who just want to get in or out quickly.

As for the cargo space, the X7 retains the X5’s split-folding tailgate layout, whose lower section flips out to serve as a handy perch. The standard air suspension also allows the ride height to drop by 40 mm to help with loading heavy or awkward things.

With all seven seats upright, there’s 326 liters of luggage space available. Fold the third row forward (electrically via buttons in the cargo hold or the side rear door openings), and you’ve liberated 750 liters. Do the same with the second row, and you get 2,120 liters—enough for a makeshift bed. There’s also a handy unfloor storage compartment as well which happens to fit a retractable cargo cover for those who plan to use the X7 regularly as a giant 5-seater.

Bearing the xDrive30d badge, the Philippine spec X7 is powered by a 3.0-liter inline-6 turbo diesel engine with 265 horsepower and 620 Nm of torque. Despite having to pull 2,445 kilograms of curb weight, it’s crazy fast (0 to 100 km/h in 7 seconds flat). More than that, it’s smooth, quiet, and satisfyingly linear. It’s also surprisingly efficient too achieving 8.77 km/L in the city, and 16.39 km/L on the highway.

The accompanying 8-speed automatic is ultra-slick too. Left to do its own thing, it’s buttery-smooth, but there are paddle shifters too allowing you to take manual control when needed. In any case, there can be sometimes a small delay when you plant your right foot to ask for brisk acceleration. Other than that, it’s reasonably snappy providing an unexpected fun factor.

Adaptive air suspension (with self-leveling) supports a double wishbone front/multi-link rear set-up, and despite big 21-inch rims, ride comfort is like sitting on a cloud. Weirdly enough, there’s no way to customize the ride height (despite the center console toggle) except through the driving modes. Still, it does a great job of soaking up whatever the road can throw at it. Yet, despite being able to effortlessly glide through rough roads, body control is well buttoned down. It’s simply the case that bumps, ruts, and potholes disappear under the front wheels, with barely a ripple making its way into the cabin.

Generally, the X7 is pleasant and relaxing to drive, whether on the highway or negotiating urban traffic. However, there’s only so much electronic trickery can do to make it feel smaller. It feels its size particularly on narrow, winding roads. In common with other BMWs, the steering is accurate, but the nose takes a moment to react, leaving you wondering if you’re going to plough straight on like an ocean liner. Fortunately, it does change course, although there’s lots of body lean when it does so.

If you really want to arrive at a venue, there aren’t many better ways than if the SUV you’re turning up in is bigger than the venue itself. But that’s exactly what the BMW X7 is, and that’s why certain people will find it very appealing. After all, luxury SUVs are all about status, desirability, and opulence, so it’s no surprise that this 7-seater from Munich (built in Spartanburg, South Carolina though) has those in stride.

It’s everything a big luxury SUV should be. Its huge interior is as practical as it is luxurious, and it’s comfortable and quiet on the road. While its style won’t be to everyone’s tastes, it does give it an element of theater that few rivals can successfully match.

2021 BMW X7 xDrive30d Pure Excellence

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Ownership 2021 BMW X7 xDrive30d Pure Excellence
Year Introduced 2019
Vehicle Classification Luxury SUV
Warranty 5 years / 200,000 kilometers
The Basics
Body Type 5-door Luxury SUV
Seating 7
Engine / Drive F/AWD
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 3.0
Aspiration Twin-Scroll Turbo
Fuel Delivery Common Rail
Layout / # of Cylinders I6
BHP @ rpm 265 @ 4,000
Nm @ rpm 620 @ 2,000-2,500
Fuel / Min. Octane Diesel
Transmission 8AT
Cruise Control Yes, w/ Limiter
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 8.77 km/L @ 21 km/h,
16.39 km/L @ 54 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 5,151
Width (mm) 2,000
Height (mm) 1,805
Wheelbase (mm) 3,105
Curb Weight (kg) 2,445
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, Double Wishbone, Adaptive
Rear Suspension Independent, Multi-link, Adaptive
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Vented Disc
Parking Brake Electric, w/ Auto Hold
Tires Pirelli PZero RFT 285/45 R 21 Y (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 8
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Front & Rear
Parking Camera Yes, 360-degree
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR with pre-tensioner x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR x 3 (2nd row),
2-pt ELR x 2 (3rd row)
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Other Safety Features Hill Descent Control
Hill Start Assist
Exterior Features
Headlights Laser
Fog Lamps Yes, Front & Rear (LED)
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers Yes
Tailgate Electric, 2-Piece
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic, Electric
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) Electric, 16-way, w/ Memory
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Electric, 16-way w/ Memory
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 60/40, Sliding, Reclining (2nd row, electric),
50/50, (3rd row, electric)
Sunroof Yes, 2-Piece
Trip Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, w/ Fold
Rear View Mirror Auto Dimming
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Auto, 5-Zone
Audio System Stereo
USB Type A
USB Type C
Smartphone Connectivity Apple CarPlay (Wireless)
# of Speakers 16, Harman Kardon
Steering Controls Yes

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