BMW X7 2022 review

BMW X7 driving three quarters side

BMW updates its biggest and brashest SUV, giving M version an even brawnier V8

The BMW X7 has received possibly the most comprehensive midlife update of any BMW to date, endowing the American-built giant SUV with fresh appeal just over three years after its UK introduction.

With heavily altered front-end styling, including split headlights and, on the flagship M60i xDrive driven here, an illuminated grille, the X7 now has clear visual ties to the recently unveiled new 7 Series limo.

For the first time on any BMW, buyers can now specify 23in wheels, plus the new M Sport and M Sport Pro styling packs bring added dashes of sporting boldness to the exterior by way of unique bumpers, a series of black accents and other touches.

The interior has also been changed signficantly. The restyled dashboard features a curved digital panel, like in the iX, matching a 12.3in instrument display with a 14.9in infotainment touchscreen, all controlled by BMW’s latest iDrive 8 software. The air-con controls, meanwhile, have made way for an unnecessarily complex set of icons on the touchcreen, which are a real chore to use while driving. Roominess continues to be one of the X7’s biggest drawcards.

With the choice of either a six or seven-seat layout, it’s agreeably versatile. With the third-row seats in use, mind you, the boot shrinks to just 300 litres.

Central among the changes to the engine line-up is the introduction of BMW’s latest turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six petrol and diesel engines Each is mildly hybridised by a 48V motor integrated into the eight-speed automatic gearbox, this boosting both performance and efficiency.

The outputs of the xDrive40i have increased by 50bhp and 52lb ft to hit 375bhp and 398lb ft; while the xDrive40d has gained 12bhp and 15lb ft to make 347bhp and 531lb ft.

The M60i xDrive succeeds the X7 M50i xDrive and is the first car to use BMW’s S68 engine. A development of the N63, it’s a turbocharged 4.4-litre V8. Output remains the same, at 523bhp and 553lb ft, but the 48V mild-hybrid system can add 12bhp and up to 148lb ft under acceleration.

The V8 imbues the X7 with truly effortless mile-eating qualities and a very smooth and collected character, striking an appealing balance of allout performance under more extreme loads and refined civility in cruising. The accompanying soundtrack is rich and entertaining, too, although with such outstanding refinement and excellent noise isolation within the cabin, its deep growl in Sport mode is always a distant delight. The 0-62mph time of 4.7sec is the same as that quoted for the old M50i, despite a 120kg gain in kerb weight.

Consumption is claimed to have improved, now at 21.9 to 23.3mpg, although direct comparison is tricky, because the figures for the older car were attained on a different test cycle. The quick and smooth actions of the gearbox add to the driving experience, making the most of the performance added by the electric motor. This is particularly noticeable in urban settings, where the M60i manages smooth and muscular stepoff despite its considerable weight.

BMW’s fast-acting xDrive fourwheel-drive system ensures that there’s loads of traction. Air suspension with variable dampers affords impressive body control in corners. Indeed, the M60i hides its size well, encouraging you with well-weighted, precise steering.

That said, it’s just as happy to waft along the motorway in taller gears in Comfort mode. With plenty of torque and flexibility from the engine, it’s delightfully calm and quiet at speed. The ride on the 23in wheels can get a bit fidgety, owing to its underlying tautness on some surfaces, although the excellent compliance provided by the advanced underpinnings ensures that it’s never uncomfortable or uncompromising, even in Sport.

The changes that BMW has brought to the X7 have made it even more compelling than before. There’s added style and richness to the cabin, while the mild-hybrid tech adds to the driveability and refinement. With new driver-assistance functions, it’s now one of the most advanced cars in its class.

And as far as big luxury SUVs go, it’s quite engaging, with surprisingly sharp actions and well-controlled handling. Yes, there really is a lot to like. We suspect the xDrive40i and xDrive40d will prove wiser buys, but if you want your SUV to have a V8, whether for the performance or the cachet, there’s no reason why it oughtn’t be an M60i.

Source: Autocar

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