BMW’s go-anywhere land yacht

Before the SUV boom, motoring manufacturers would herald a large luxury sedan, or saloon if you prefer, as their flagship offering.

These were usually the largest vehicles in the model range and would offer the latest technology. For BMW, that has always been the 7 Series but times have changed and an SUV seems to have dethroned it, and in the Bavarian automaker’s case, the new flagship model is now the X7.

What is it?

The BMW X7 is the latest X model in the BMW range of off-road-ready SUV offerings. It also happens to be based, somewhat, on the 7 Series. I hogged the keys from my fellow scribes at the Autodealer office because if there is a large, luxurious BMW to test, I’m going to do it. The BMW X7 is indeed large and before you say that the grille is even larger, I know, I’ve heard all the jokes and I do agree, it is big but after experiencing the car for a few days I didn’t notice it. There is more to the X7 than just the grille.

The looks

For starters the car looks the business, it features modern BMW styling with an aggressive front end, large 22-inch wheels and that iconic BMW SUV side profile design. The rear also features the new horizontal taillights which include a large chrome design element that runs the distance between the two lights. The tailgate comes in a split open configuration and down below you will find two large tailpipes at either end of the sculpted rear bumper.

The interior

As one would expect, the X7 offers a luxurious interior full of beautifully stitched leather seats, armrests and door-handles. The facia features the brand’s new look design with the infotainment screen and digital instrument cluster almost blending into one to give the illusion that it is indeed one continuous screen. The facia is cleared of clutter as most of the car’s functions can be operated via the infotainment system. One of the highlights for me though is indeed the crystal-like gear lever, an element considered a bit ostentatious for some.

It sits on the centre console like a chandelier hangs in a fine dining hall. The control panel that surrounds the lever features all the controls that operate the cars various drive modes, off-road settings and the 360-degree camera. The second row comes in the shape of two individual seats that are electronically operated, they even feature pillows fixed to the headrests and each seat gets its own infotainment screen. There is also a third row of foldable seats for when you need them. It is worth noting that the X7 comes standard as a 7 seater but my test unit was optioned as a six.

What’s it like to drive

Driving the X7 does make you feel important because when people look at you they look at you with envy. Well, that’s what I’d like to think, how could they not, I was driving the biggest BMW on sale today. Apart from the imposing road presence, the X7 offers an incredibly comfortable and effortless driving experience further enhanced by the various semi-autonomous safety features and a quad-turbocharged 3.0-litre diesel six-cylinder engine in this, the M50d.

The motor is a work of engineering art, it produces 294 kW and 760 N.m and yet it serves its performance on a silver platter. The motor is there to compliment the overall experience, it is not the experience, well that is when you are tootling about in Comfort or Eco Pro mode. In Sport mode the X7 completely changes its character, it will hit 100km/h in around 5.4 seconds which will leave many performance sedan and hatchback vehicles behind.


The X7, despite its performance credentials, is a luxury limousine based on an SUV. The car offers impressive ride quality, build quality and the latest BMW technology. Over my week and despite its mammoth size I managed a reasonable 8.5l/100km (7.3l/100km claimed). The rear steering makes it easy to park and if you avoid the 6 seat option it could be considered a fantastic family SUV for those who have the R1,904,108 to spend on a standard M50d. For those looking for a luxury SUV with off-road ability and a fantastic engine, one might consider the BMW X5 30d, not as imposing as the X7 but not any less impressive in the real world, in my opinion.

Related Articles

Back to top button