2020 BMW X7 M50d review: Luxury that’s bigger than Texas
IN A NUTSHELL: SUVs are so popular these days they’ve even replaced the classic limousine as the transport of choice for many. Which is why BMW has added the X7, an upper-large SUV to sit above the X5 and alongside the 7-Series limo as its new luxury flagship.
BMW X7 M50d review
It’s hard to get past the grille. BMW has been experimenting with the size and shape of its iconic kidney grille on several models in recent years, but the X7 takes the prize for the biggest yet.
It’s so huge it attracts all the attention when anyone looks at this new luxury limo on stilts, but once you do look beyond the grille you find a very impressive new addition to the Bavarian brand’s fleet. Plush, spacious and with prodigious performance.
What does the BMW X7 M50d cost and what do you get?
Pricing for this range-topping SUV starts at $169,900 (plus on-road costs) which is highly competitive amongst its rivals, such as the Range Rover, Audi Q7/Q8 and Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class. It’s pretty appealing against BMW’s own 7-Series range too, with the cheapest sedan (the less-powerful 730d) starting at $199,900.
Standard equipment includes massive 22-inch M Sport alloy wheels, M Aerodynamics package, laser headlights, panoramic glass sunroof, soft-close doors, keyless entry and ignition, BMW Individual extended leather trim and Alcantara headlining as well as five-zone climate control.
You can also use the new BMW Digital Key technology on the X7, which allows you to lock and unlock the SUV using a code tied to your smartphone.
What’s the BMW X7 M50d interior like?
While it’s obviously a BMW from the moment you climb inside, what sets the X7 apart from its smaller siblings are the details. The gear selector, for example, has been designed to look like cut crystal – adding a suitably premium touch.
And while the overall design is familiar BMW, the materials used throughout lift it above what you experience in, say, an X3 or X5. Good quality leather lines the seats, steering wheel, and even large parts of the dashboard. All the key touchpoints are finished in soft materials, both up front and in the back. It’s all class inside.
How much space is there in the BMW X7 M50d?
It’s not just the grille that is large on the X7, the cabin is cavernous and features one major advantage the 7-Series sedan can’t compete with – seven-seats. Due to its sheer size, measuring more than 5m long and nearly 2m tall, the X7 has a very roomy cabin for all seven occupants.
The front occupants get comfortable and supportive seats, while those in the second row get just as well looked after. The seats have a 40:20:40 split and individual reclining functions to make sure those who travel in the back feel like a king or queen.
The seats can slide forward to trade-off space for the third row, but even in the forward position there’s still plenty of kneeroom and in the most rearward setting even tall adults are able to stretch out.
The third row is impressively spacious too, with decent room even for smaller adults as well as coming with air-con vents and cupholders. Access is via power tilt and sliding second-row which makes the process relatively easy.
What’s the BMW X7 M50d infotainment like?
A Harman/Kardon Surround Sound system comes as standard and provides good clarity and power. It’s part of a wider system that includes a 12.3-inch digital instrument display in front of the driver, 12.3-inch infotainment screen control via the iDrive dial, as well as Apple CarPlay (but not Android Auto) and a wireless smartphone charging pad.
It’s all suitably hi-tech for a flagship model and presents with sharp, punchy graphics.
What’s the BMW X7 M50d engine like?
It’s an impressively complicated piece of engineering and works brilliantly in this application. Measuring 3.0-litres in capacity the inline six-cylinder engine has a pair of variable-vane turbines and a pair of conventional turbos to ensure not only a lot of torque but an even spread of it across the rev range.
It works too because while peak torque of 760Nm kicks in at 4400rpm, the X7 M50d feels punchy whenever you put your foot down. It may be a huge SUV but with so much torque (and 294kW of power) it feels genuinely fleet-footed at times.
It’s nicely paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission that’s able to extract the best from the engine, without ever really feeling stressed. Most of the time it will slip into the tallest gear possible and just lean on the available torque to keep you cruising along while saving fuel.
BMW X7 M50d fuel consumption
A claimed combined cycle of 7.5-litres per 100km may not be particularly frugal, but it’s a solid return for such a potent engine in an enormous SUV.
It also sounds nice too, for a diesel SUV, thanks to an M Sport exhaust system that’s fitted as standard on the M50d.
What’s the BMW X7 M50d like to drive?
It’s a lot like driving around in your lounge room – there’s comfortable seating for the whole family and a big screen in front of you for entertainment.
But seriously, the X7 drives like you’d expect given its role as an SUV alternative to the 7-Series. It’s very quiet and refined inside the cabin and by BMW standards the ride is relatively comfortable thanks to air suspension and adaptive dampers. And particularly so given it’s riding on 22-inch alloys and runflat tyres. That means it can thump at times and you’ll notice the odd bump in the road, but it’s certainly more compliant than many of its stablemates.
The handling is predictable, with nicely weighted and direct steering, making it easy to navigate around town, despite its size. It comes equipped with an M Sport differential that, combined with the all-wheel drive system, helps transfer its immense torque to the road with a minimum of fuss.
Parking is also surprisingly easy for such a monster thanks to the clever multi-angle cameras that can give you various augmented views of how the X7 is positioned.
How safe is the BMW X7 M50d?
Naturally, it comes loaded with safety gear packaged up as Driving Assistant Professional, in BMW speak. The suite includes front collision warning with autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane departure assist, rear cross-traffic alert and speed limit recognition.
Plus there’s the previously mentioned parking system that includes 3D view, surround view and top view.
What are the BMW X7 M50d alternatives?
Putting aside the 7-Series and the X5 if you want an SUV or seven-seats the X7 M50d’s most obvious rival is the Range Rover Vogue with either its 3.0-litre diesel (from $196,102) or 4.4-litre V8 turbo diesel (from $212,195).
The Mercedes-Benz GLS 500 is petrol-powered but offers a similar blend of space and style (from $164,770) or there’s the Toyota LandCruiser-based Lexus LX570 (from $142,431).
BMW X7 M50d pricing and spec in Australia
Price From $169,900 plus ORCs Warranty 3 years/unlimited km Engine 3.0L quad-turbo diesel six-cylinder Power 294kW at 4000rpm Torque 760Nm at 4400rpm Transmission 8-speed automatic Drive all-wheel-drive Body 5151mm (l); 2000mm (w); 1805mm (h) Kerb weight 2535kg Seats 7 Thirst 7.5L/100km Fuel tank litres Spare Space saver