Entry price: $73,900
Price as tested: $96,895
This week we’re driving the 2020 BMW X7 xDrive40i, a top line full-size SUV that comes standard with AWD underpinnings and three rows of seating. Currently, it’s the largest SUV style BMW available and 5-inches longer in wheelbase than the X6 Coupe AWD we tested five months ago.
BMW officially calls the 2020 X7 a “Sports Activity Vehicle” (SAV) with a boxier, conventional looking SUV roofline. Once you get past the impressive exterior design, be prepared to experience what BMW says is “an atmosphere of elegance in a luxury SAV that exceeds every definition of excellence.”
The X line of BMW starts with the X1 at just $35,400, and then progresses numerically up to X7. These expensive X7 models feature three trims including our tester that starts at $74,900, followed by the X7 M50i with a 523-horse twin power turbo V8 starts at $99,800 to top line X7 series Alpina XB7, a twin-turbo V8 that packs 612 horsepower under the hood and arrives with every amenity one can wish for. It starts at $141,300 and serves the uppermost consumer segment. However, be it X1 to X7, all deliver the great BMW quality craftsmanship.
Along with its new exterior and interior motifs, our X7 xDrive40i model is just one of many new BMWs available at dealer showrooms and one thing they all have in common is the legendary sports car handling and distinctive opulence one expects from the BMW nameplate.
Our X7 40i’s standard engine is the powerful 3.0-liter inline-6 that delivers a stout 335 horses and 331 lb. ft. of torque. All X drive models feature all-wheel drive and Dynamic Driving controls including Eco, Pro, Comfort and Sport with a special launch control for those who want to sprint away from a situation as fast as possible. The transmission is either fully automatic or you can utilize the paddle shifters for manual shifting. Notable on our tester is an enhanced illuminated active kidney grille that opens and closes to allow or constrict air flow based on engine temperature.
Our tester’s inline-6 may not be in the same acceleration class as the V8 powered 523 horse or 612 horse X7’s but it will impress. Expect zero to 60 in 5.3 seconds thanks to torque that is delivered to an eight-speed sport automatic while 22-inch Pirelli P-Zero run flats provide the necessary road adhesion.
Lightweight spoke alloy wheels ($1,300 more) assist in both the overall looks and in reducing weight and, as they say, if it’s lighter, it’s faster. Blue brake calipers help the aesthetics of the wheel combination.
Unlike the twin-turbo V8 setup in the X7 Alpina, the XDrive40i and M50i V8 both utilize a single turbocharger called a “Twin Power Turbo.” BMW utilizes a special twin-scroll turbo direct induction and exhaust system to eliminate even a trace of turbo lag when accelerating. Its “Twin Power Turbo” delivers a seamless, no hesitation turbo acceleration from a direct common rail fuel injection system that quickens the fuel/air mix to the intake valves and then through a special exhaust manifold when combustion is complete. This turbo setup results in BMW’s wording “Twin Powered Turbo,” and it’s a proven system although over the years, because of the wording, many think these BMW’s have two turbos instead of one.
On the road, X7 is a true pleasure. When it’s wintertime it will get you through poor climate conditions thanks to its AWD underpinnings and then, when spring arrives, X7 takes on the best of them when it comes to its superb larger vehicle handling and road worthiness. Built in Spartanburg, South Carolina, the 7-series engine comes from Austria while the transmission is from Germany all put together here in America. Overall, this 7-series BMW is a special vehicle aimed at pleasing even the most particular of upper-class consumers. Passenger room is excellent, and in addition to our tester’s seven-passenger seating that includes a second row bench seat, a six-passenger model is available with two Captain Chairs instead of the bench seat.
All X7 models feature self leveling suspension, stability and traction controls, safety rear monitoring and infotainment delivered on a large 12.3-inch color screen and driver assist notables like rear cross traffic, emergency brake assist, lane departure, park assist with distance control, automatic lock/unlock, panoramic sunroof, and much more. Your BMW dealer will explain all of the countless high tech BMW items when you visit, including the navigation and enhanced driver assist systems.
Included inside are multi-zone climate ducts, heads-up windshield display with speed limit alert, SiriusXM with one year free, wireless charging, Wi-Fi, gesture (signal) control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and enhanced USB and Bluetooth.
X7’s standard 10-speaker 205-watt stereo system with CD player prep came upgraded to a spectacular $3,400 Bowers & Wilkins entertainment system. Add another $13,000-plus in options that include Merino leather interior $2,450; Cold Weather Package $1,200; Dynamic Handling Package $3,850; 7,500 lb. Trailer Hitch Package $550; Active Driver Assistance Pro $1,700; Luxury Seating with Massaging Front Seats $1,600; Executive Package (even heated and cooled cup holders) $4,100 and you end up at $96,895 with $995 delivery included.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 122.2.1 inches, 5,397 lb. curb weight, 21.9 gallon fuel tank and up to 48.6 cu. ft. of cargo space with rear seats down. Notable is a three year or 36,000-mile free maintenance schedule and EPA numbers of 20 city and 25 highway, the latter great for a 2.5-ton plus vehicle.
BMW’s X7 generation rates high on my list of large SUVs. If you’re one of the fortunate ones who can afford this beauty and are looking for a 4x4 that delivers both family needs with loads of performance and luxury DNA, this one covers all bases.
Likes: Heritage, spectacular interior, opulence, driver assist.
Dislikes: All X7s should be V8 powered, some options should be standard.
Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and Gannett Co. Inc. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840.
Test Drive column: 2020 BMW X7 xDrive40i
Entry price: $73,900