Test drive BMW X7September 10, 2019
The Bavarians saw the format of mid-size crossovers for a long time, but they clearly overslept the class of large SUVs. The eternal rival Mercedes-Benz has been releasing the huge GLS (formerly GL) since 2006, it has already changed its generation once and is preparing to do it again. BMW has created a large crossover just now, and it looks suspiciously like a Mercedes.
X7 project manager Jörg Wunder explained that the engineers had virtually no way to avoid resembling a “classmate”. All because of the straight roof – it was made to provide a margin of space above the heads of third-row passengers. A vertical fifth door, like Mercedes, allowed to increase the amount of luggage.
In profile, Hofmeister’s signature bend was almost the only hallmark. Another thing is full face. The front of the X7 is generally difficult to confuse with anyone, and not least due to the most controversial part – hypertrophied nostrils, which swelled by 40%. They are simply gigantic: 70 cm in width and 38 cm in height. By European standards, this is similar to gigantomania, but when compared with the “Americans”, for example Cadillac Escalade or Lincoln Navigator, then the X7 is modesty itself.
A colleague rightly noted that such an image was intended to evoke emotions, but not necessarily immediately positive. Cars that you like at first sight tend to get bored quickly. So we with X7 made friends one day later. There was no question about the stern and profile before, and the provocative front simply lifted the bar of aggression, for which the Bavarian design is famous.
By the way, the stern has inherited a double-wing rear door, like the X5, and so that the models can be easily distinguished, the X7 has a reverse curved lights and a chrome jumper. In this, by the way, there are similarities with the flagship sedan – 7-Series.
But back to Mercedes. Judging by the characteristics, the goal was to outperform competitors in all respects. In length from bumper to bumper, the new BMW X7 (5151 mm) is superior to the Mercedes-Benz GLS (5130 mm). On a wheelbase (3105 mm), the X7 favor is also a point, because Mercedes has 3075 mm. If you compare the X7 with the 7 Series, the crossover is located exactly between the versions with the usual (3070 mm) and long (3210 mm) wheelbase.
Technical stuffing is a completely different story. Here, the X7 is highly unified with the younger X5. There is a double-lever in front and a five-lever scheme in the back. The chassis can be fully steered when the rear wheels rotate up to three degrees. Transmission – all-wheel drive only: with a multi-plate clutch in the front axle drive and an optional rear differential with a controlled degree of lock. However, a more status crossover relies on air suspension already in the “base” and a lot of useful electronics.
Base wheels are 20 inches in size, and 21- or 22-inch wheels are available for an extra charge. Adaptive LED headlights are installed as standard, and a laser-phosphor high beam is offered as an option, as a special sign on the inner wall of the headlight warns: “Do not look, or you will become blind.”
By the way, if the X5 and X7 really have a lot in common in the platform, then in the exterior of the younger brother the new crossover got only four details: front doors and lining on the mirrors.
Inside, at least to the central pillar, there are no revelations. The affinity with the X5 is expressed in an identical front panel and seats. The equipment is richer: seats trimmed with Vernasca leather, four-zone climate control, electric front seats and a panoramic roof. All this is already in the basic version.
A wide central tunnel is crowned with three levels of functional blocks. At the top is multimedia with a 12.3-inch screen with the new BMW OS7.0 operating system, which allows you to save the driver profile and transfer it from car to car. A lower level is the climate unit, and even lower is the transmission control unit.
Unfortunately, there are no more traditional switches. The design of the virtual dashboard to a degree of confusion suddenly resembles Chery Tiggo 2. However, this is easily treated by adding three to four new “skins”. But for some reason there are none.
Regarding the transformation of the cabin, the X7 is focused on the main market – the North American. Here, the drivers will be mainly women, and the passengers will be children.
As standard, the full-size rear sofa is fully electrified. Buttons are located on the sides of the trunk, which, with a single click, allow you to turn the second and third row into either fully cargo or passenger. It takes about 26 seconds to fold five seats, and about 30 to fold out. The third row forms an absolutely flat floor, and the second with a slight slope.
For those who want to use the X7 as an off-road “seven”, a six-seater saloon with two captain’s seats in the second row is possible. However, in this case, you will have to sacrifice practicality and, oddly enough, comfort.
Firstly, to fold such seats, you must manually tilt the back, and the pillow will move forward independently. Secondly, in this case, the second row will have less space in the knees. At the same time, individual armrests cannot be called royal. On a full sofa with a large central armrest it will be even more convenient. It is assumed that the presence of two separate seats facilitates access to the third row while driving, but there it was. You can squeeze between them only if you intentionally push one as far forward as possible, and the second back all the way.
The third row is not deprived of comfort as much as possible: five-zone climate control with a separate control unit under the ceiling and air ducts is available as an option. Separate segment of the panoramic roof, heated seats, USB, cup holders and the ability to control the seats. On the third row, a tall adult man will be cramped, although if there is an urgent need to make a trip in a couple of hours it is still possible if the second-row passengers are not too selfish.
The trunk with the seats fully unfolded is small (326 liters), although it is enough for two cabin suitcases. If necessary, you can use the underground, where the curtain of the luggage compartment is stored. When the third row is folded, the volume increases to an impressive 722 liters, and if you remove the second row, the X7 becomes a gigantic station wagon (2120 liters).
Despite the technical resemblance to the X5, work on the project was entrusted to a group of engineers working on the passenger “seven”. It was comfort that was put at the forefront, of course, adjusted for the fact that the BMW logo was on the hood.
The BMW X7 engine set also came from the X5. The base will be the xDrive30d with a three-liter diesel six-cylinfer with a capacity of 249 horsepower. The petrol xDrive40i (3.0 L, 340 HP) is located a little higher in the ranking table, and on the top is the M50d with a 3.0-liter four-supercharged diesel engine (400 HP), a standard M-package and an active rear differential.
In the USA, the choice is completely different. No diesel engines for obvious reasons – only the xDrive40i version, but the xDrive50i is not going to us yet due to certification problems.
The first I got behind the wheel of the xDrive40i version. Inline gasoline “six” with a volume of 3 liters gives 340 liters. with. and gaining a “hundred” in 6.1 seconds. At the same time, at cruising speeds, it pleases with silence in the cabin and very modest fuel consumption (8.4 l / 100 km in suburban mode), and if necessary gives an impressive 450 Nm of torque, starting from 1500 rpm. Sharp accelerations are given to the large crossover without any strain, although it does not strike with supernatural dynamics.
Our car was shod in optional multi-wide tires of 22 diameters, and even despite this, it became noticeable that the behavior of the crossover fully corresponds to the technical task. Light swaying on bumps in a comfortable or adaptive mode, as well as good noise isolation, set them in a calm mood.
Even compared to the X5, which has become noticeably less nervous in the new generation, the X7 sets new comfort parameters. Although in sport mode and on a frankly broken primer, I still managed to find the line beyond which the X7, with all its large body, makes it clear that it was not created for this. The flagship crossover line is designed for long-distance travel with a large family. Aggression is not the best travel companion. Looking ahead, I’ll say that I could not get far from the road. However, we already did this on the X7 pre-production test.
Before the test, the engineers assured that the X7 holds the line perfectly, but during the march on Texas highways from Houston to San Antonio, questions to exchange rate stability nevertheless appeared. The steering wheel makes 2.9 turns from lock to lock, but the sensitivity in the near-zero zone seems to have been deliberately lowered for the sake of peace on the line, which led exactly to the opposite effect. On direct highways, I had to correct the crossover every now and then. Perhaps the windy weather and the high windage of the X7 are to blame.
Otherwise, everything is Bavarian. Nearly. The basic brakes more than confidently stop the car weighing 2395 kg from 100 km / h, the crossover keeps an excellent arc in corners, the rolls even in the version without active stabilizers are quite moderate, but the steering force is still devoid of the proprietary Bavarian feedback crossovers.
The xDrive50i version is from a completely different test. The 4.4-liter V8 produces an impressive 462 liters. S., and the optional M-package adds aggression in appearance and behavior. It is worth pressing the Start / Stop button, as a 50i with an M-package immediately gives a voice with a sports exhaust roar.
Problems with exchange rate stability immediately disappeared. The steering wheel is filled, perhaps even with excessive weight, but this is exactly what was missing in the three-liter version. The version with V8 pleased with accurate responses in sharp turns and literally provoked an attack. The rear steered wheels reduce the turning radius and reduce the side loads on passengers, but this can only be felt with sudden changes.
In general, the xDrive50i is a real BMW. On the other hand, it is good that we still have a choice. If you want more comfort and family peace – choose xDrive40i or xDrive30d, and if you want enthusiasm and sports, then you are for the M50d.
The largest market for the BMW X7, of course, will be the United States. And all the cars from the first batch are already reserved. But there is bad news for BMW: the new Mercedes-Benz GLS will be released very soon.
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