2019 BMW X7 xDrive40i: Does the 7 represent the tonnage?
Price: $100,395 as tested. $73,900 for the trim level. The options cost more than any car I’ve ever purchased.
Conventional wisdom: Edmunds.com likes the “strong engine performance, smooth ride quality, impeccable interior” but not the “noticeable road noise” or that it’s “expensive for the class.”
Marketer’s pitch: “Make every day legendary.”
Reality: It’s only 2.5 tons, Mr. Smarty Pants.
What’s new: The whole thing. This is a ginormous BMW SUV designed for the U.S. market.
Don’t drive drowsy: Always good advice, but it’s a critical warning in the X7. This big SUV will lull drivers right to sleep — it’s that quiet and smooth. It feels like a jet cruising at altitude. I nominate it for the most serene ride of all time.
Up to speed: You’ll get there pretty quickly for this giant vehicle. The 3.0-liter TwinPower turbo engine makes 335 horsepower. 60 comes at you in 5.4 seconds, according to Motor Trend.
But here lies another drawback for X7 drivers — the smooth ride makes it difficult for newbies to realize just how fast they are going. I reached 90 by accident more than once, and I forever felt as if other cars were going far slower than they really were.
The X7 test unit came with a speed limiter button as part of the cruise control; it keeps the SUV from going beyond a preset speed. It’s a necessity.
Danger around the bend: All this simply would be a minor nuisance if not for the third part in the X7’s trifecta of trouble — it corners like a double-decker bus. I confess Mr. Driver’s Seat hasn’t actually driven a double-decker bus, but I imagine it would be like this. BMW can give it all the Dynamic Stability Control, Brake Fade Compensation, Dynamic Traction Control, and Cornering Brake Control it wants, but it’s still 5,400 pounds, and the laws of physics still apply.
I have piloted plenty of SUVs that can take highway curves at speed in excess of the signs posted; don’t do it with this baby, or you’ll have 100 grand belly-up in the ditch.
Winding roads are, not surprisingly, less than fun. It really sways a lot in comfort mode, but that’s par for the course with these monsters, but even the other modes are only decent.
Driving Assistance Professional: This combination of Lane-Keeping Assistance, Active Lane Changing, and Extended Traffic Jam Assist ($1,700) doesn’t work as well as Cadillac’s SuperCruise or Tesla’s AutoPilot. It seemed to ping-pong a lot, and I felt less aware of what was going on around me.
Shifty: The eight-speed transmission comes with BMW’s high-end joystick control — push forward for Reverse and pull back for Drive, press the button for Park. Shift gears yourself there or with the paddle shifters; either one works fine.
Driver’s Seat: Oooo, aahhh, this is the icing on that velvety-smooth X7 cake of a ride I mentioned. Such a comfy seat, you might want to have it detached so you can use it around the office, around the den, instead of a bed. Sort of like we’ve reached the world of “WALL-E.” (Luxury Seating Package, $1,600.)
The interior is beautiful and controls are thoughtful.
Friends and stuff: Sturgis Kid 1.0 was the only family member to test out the backseat. At 5-foot-3, she had zero complaints about the legroom, headroom, or foot room, and I can confirm that all three are great, and the seat is comfortable. She did mention it’s a long trip down to the ground from on Mount X7.
Giant-size 4.0 looked at the third row and just laughed. The Old Man discovered it’s snug but not terrible, just with knees up high.
Cargo space is sad behind that third row as well. BMW’s websites aren’t sharing a number, though the company touts 48.6 cubic feet behind the second row and 90.4 cubic feet behind the first.
Play some tunes: BMW keeps improving its stereo system but keeps the best part — the dial and buttons — intact. (That they’ll switch to a touchscreen or touchpad keeps me up at night, which is foolish, because I’ll never be able to afford a BMW. But this is the kind of spell the company has me under.)
Sound is awesome from the Bowers & Wilkins sound system ($3,400), with special studio and theater modes, and individual mode as well. Controls are exceedingly thorough yet not distracting. The 12.3-inch screen is beautiful and easy to read.
The volume knob sits away from the rest of the controls except for some preset buttons; it would be really nice to have a tuning knob.
Night shift: Interior lights look big and imposing but cast the perfect glow inside. Headlights work wonderfully.
Fuel consumption: I averaged about 20 mpg in a whole lot of fast-moving road time. That’s actually not so bad considering I’ve gotten the same in some far smaller units recently.
Where it’s built: Spartanburg, S.C.
How it’s built: Consumer Reports predicts the X7 reliability to be 3 out of 5.