Car News

BMW Launches X7 Three-Row Luxury SUV

BMW has just revealed the all-new X7 SUV. And the three-row crossover isn't just big for the company, it's just plain big.

The only real surprise about a 7 Series-based SUV is that it has taken this long to get to market. But now that it's here, it has most definitely arrived. The first thing you'll notice is the size. At 5,151 mm long it's only 28 mm shorter than a Cadillac Escalade. At 2,000 mm wide, and 1,805 mm tall, it nearly matches that SUV in those dimensions as well.

That should mean lots of space for passengers, and with 1,013 mm of headroom for both back rows, it looks to deliver.

The big footprint is matched by what BMW calls the largest kidney grille it has ever designed. That big nose and slim headlights give it some serious visual presence. The rear doors are longer than the fronts. An unusual design feature, but one that should make getting in and out of the back easier. It's also a feature that makes it more like the long-wheelbase 7 Series sedan models. The design at the sides and rear is simple but elegant. The chrome trim on the sides and the full-width chrome bar also bridge the styling gap to the sedan.

All X7s come with three rows of seats, and BMW says that the rear row seats are "fully capable of accommodating adult passengers over longer journeys." The extra glass roof panel over their heads will certainly help add to the sense of space. The middle row bench, though, can be swapped for a pair of captain's chairs. Those offer the same level of adjustments as the front seats as well as armrests and cushions. The backrests of all the rear seats can be power-folded and the middle row will move 145 mm forward to equally apportion legroom.

The other benefit of that size is cargo volume. With all the seats in use, the X7 offers 1,376 L of space. That's more than three times what the Escalade offers. Fold all the seats and there is a massive 2,560 L. That all-open figure is slightly smaller than the Cadillac.

The X7 will be available with a wide range of interior colour choices, including the ivory and navy Merino interior of the display car. It comes with a blue Alcantara headliner as well.

BMW is also making a Panorama Sky Lounge LED roof available. It uses LED lighting spread across the glass to display more than 15,000 graphic patterns. BMW says it looks like a starlit sky. Like the fibre-optic roof fitted to Rolls-Royce cars.

The company's Live Cockpit Professional is standard in the new X7. It offers up a pair of 12.3-inch displays. One for the gauge cluster and one for the infotainment system display. The system uses a new haptic control iDrive controller and what BMW calls a tablet-like touch interface. The interface comes with a new "Hey BMW" digital assistant.

Standard audio is a 10-speaker system. Optional is a Harman Kardon surround sound system but the one you'll want is a Bowers and Wilkins Diamond system with 20 speakers and 1,500 watts of power.

Middle row passengers don't miss out on the screens. A rear seat entertainment option adds two 10.2-inch touchscreens and a Blu-Ray DVD player for rear passengers. It will also let those seats access a navigation map.

The X7 will arrive in Canada as the X7 xDrive40i and X7 xDrive50i. The 40i comes with a 3.0L turbocharged inline-six. It generates 335 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque. Enough to move the X7 to 100 km/h in 6.1 seconds. The 50i is a new V8 engine with a pair of turbos in the vee. It produces 456 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque, slashing nearly a second off of the 0-100 times. Behind both engines will be an eight-speed automatic that BMW says offers a wider ratio spread for improved fuel economy. It gets a navigation interface that will adjust shifting to upcoming terrain as well as use radar cruise data to use engine braking.

BMW says that the auto stop-start will use the cameras in the nose to avoid annoying and inefficient brief engine shutdowns. Like if you're stopping briefly at a four-way stop or while you wait at a yield sign. It watches other cars to know when to stop and when to start.

The all-wheel drive system can send all power to the rear wheels when front-drive isn't needed. It also has what BMW calls "a rear-biased set-up for those occasions when the driver adopts a more sporting style of driving." Is that a drift mode? Locking differentials, including an M Sport diff, can be fitted to help aid traction coming out of corners, as well as off-road.

Air suspension and active roll stabilization can reduce roll in corners as well as improving the ride. BMW says the system uses sensors to monitor the pavement looking for curves as well as imperfection. There is rear-wheel steering fitted too.

Driver aids include extended traffic jam assist that lets the driver stay hands-off in a jam. Lane keeping assist adds automatic lane changing and the system can steer into a clear lane to avoid a collision. Emergency stop assistant can automatically bring the car to the side of the road and a stop with a pull of the parking brake switch. It's designed for a suddenly incapacitated driver. Back-up assistant can reverse up to 50m to get the X7 out of a tight road or reverse out of a parking spot.

The BMW X7 will arrive at Canadian dealers in March, with pricing closer to launch.