2019 BMW X7 xDrive50i Review

Ample BMW DNA in its biggest vehicle


Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief



Positives: Power and agility belie its size and weight, excellent build quality, iDrive works better than ever, huge tech and safety suites, great rear cargo room.
Negatives: Third row is tight, huge kidney grilles are almost too much, very expensive when outfitted, goes through gas like it's going out of style.
Bottom Line: The X7 xDrive50i is a masterpiece. It might not be BMW's best-looking vehicle, but it moves and handles so well, it makes us want to go out and buy one right now. Too bad it's very, very pricey, putting it out of reach for normal humans.
BMW comes to the premium 3-row SUV game quite late since the Mercedes GLS-Class, Audi Q7, Infiniti QX80, and the Lexus LX 570 have all been around for years. Although it's taken BMW a long time to bring a member to the three-row segment, the X7 arrives with looks, features, power, and technology that's class-leading, and in two formats xDrive40i and xDrive50i (the X7 M has yet to arrive). We drove the pricier xDrive50i with its big twin-turbo V8 engine and upgraded amenities for a week to see how truly big BMW has gone in its creation. Read on for our full review.
 

Driving Experience

9.3

 

You'd never guess the X7 weighs an alarming 5,661 pounds because it feels lighter and drives smaller than it actually is. The powerful twin-turbo engine helps propel it at rapid speeds, and it manages turns better than vehicles weighing far less.

Ride Quality: BMW wanted this to be sporty, and the result is a firmer ride, but it's still composed and comfortable over bumps.

Acceleration: The X7 is powerful thanks to 523 horsepower worth of turbocharged V8, launching the X7 to 60 in a shocking 4.5 seconds, almost as fast as a Porsche 718 Cayman GT4. There's hardly palpable turbo lag, and the transmission fires off shifts very quickly.

Braking: The X7's brakes are strong and have light but excellent pedal feel that matches the rest of the vehicle's performance.

Steering: The steering has some good effort to it, but it's not exactly progressive with the effort. At least it's a precise setup that also provide good on-centeredness.

Handling: The X7's optional M Sport Package that comes at no extra cost in the xDrive50i really helps thanks to the firm suspension. It keeps the body roll in check and does a great job at managing weight. We tossed the X7 into an off-ramp S-durve, and it handled it a 57 mph. It remained composed throughout. Very impressive for something this big.

Technology

9.1

 

The X7 xDrive50i has one of the best in-car tech setups in the entire BMW lineup. Everything's big, crisp, easy to use, and beautiful to look at. iDrive 7.0 is the best version yet.

Infotainment System: The huge 12.3" inch touchscreen and iDrive 7.0 are excellent. Crisp graphics, easy operation, and excellent menus make it a pleasure to use.

Controls: BMW controls have come a long way, and the buttons and switches are great. Even the big crystalline-shifter is wonderful in the hand. We just wish the climate controls weren't so fussy.

Styling

8.6

 

The X7 is large, and it predominant feature is the huge twin-kidney grille in front. The rest of the X7 is conventionally but handsomely styled in the BMW design language, and it fits nicely in the lineup at the top of their SUV heap (until the more aggressive X7 M shows up).

Front: It's hard to ignore that massive grille that's the biggest one on a BMW to date. The thin headlights are a weird contrast, but overall the front end is attractive.

Rear: There's nothing distinct about the back end, except for the fact that there are a lot of horizontal lines going on, likely to decrease the X7's visual height.

Profile: The view from the X7's side is its best angle. Well-proportioned, well-distributed chrome elements, and nice body sculpting give it an upscale and still muscular look.

Cabin: There's ample use of high-end materials like real black wood, aluminum, and fine and uniquely stitched leather. It looks handsome but can be a bit busy in some locations like the multiple surfaces of the center stack.

Comfort

8.8

 

The X7 is a comfortable ride but not escpecially huge inside, in contrast with its exterior appearance. It is, however, very quiet, airy, and exhibits a great ride. All of this comes together for a premium level of comfort.

Front Seats: 20-way adjustability, good bolstering, and solid levels of cushioning make for great long haul comfort for the front row.

Rear Seats: The third row is cramped, but the Captain's chairs in row 2 are very good.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): Like most BMWs, the X7 is supremely quiet, even at highway speeds under hard acceleration. The engine is very refined, as well.

Visibility: The X7 has really big glass all around, and the pillar size is manageable. Great cameras make for easy viewing in tight spaces, as well.

Climate: Though climate adjustability could use some help because it's too fussy in auto mode, the system works well enough in both warm and cold weather. We had no problem with the airflow or heated/ventilated seats.

Safety

7

 

Although the X7 hasn't been tested yet by either entity, it comes with a slew of standard and optional safety features. BMWs also do well in crash tests overall, so our marks were above average.

IIHS Rating: Not tested.

NHTSA Rating: Not tested.

Standard Tech: The xDrive50i trim comes standard with Parking Assistant Plus with Surround View Camera with 3D view, Active Driving Assistant with Frontal Colllision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, and Active Blind Spot Monitoring.

Optional Tech: Our tester came with Active Blind Spot Detection, Front Collision Warning with City Collision Mitigation, Lane Departure Warning, and Park Distance Control.

Storage/Cargo

9.2

 

The X7 has quite a bit of cargo room in back, especially when you fold all the seats. This is surprising given the tight back seat. The cabin storage is very good, and the X7 provides easy access points.

Storage Space: There's a sizable cubby at the base of the center stack with a big retractable door. The armrest with the split top can hold medium-sized items, and the door pockets are wide and capacious.

Cargo Room: Behind the third row lies only about 16.6 cubic feet, but if you fold all the seats flat you get a huge 90.4 cubic feet, bigger than the Lexus LX 570 but a tad smaller than the behemoth Infiniti QX80 at 95.1 cubic feet.

Fuel Economy

6

 

When you have a potent twin-turbo V8 on tap, you use it. You'd be better off (slightly) with the xDrive40i that does a couple of mpgs better than the bigger xDrive50i. The fact that we drove in Sport+ mode most of the time contributed to our paltry numbers. The Audi Q7 does better with a supercharged V6 and a 21 city EPA rating.

Observed: 13.8 mpg

Distance Driven: 100 miles.

Audio

9.2

 

Though the base xDrive50i comes with an arleady great Harmon Kardon sound system, ours received a $3,400 Bowers & Wilkins premium system that was even better. The booming sound is rich, powerful, and clear. We're not sure we'd pony up that much money to get it when the base system is quite good on its own.



Final Thoughts

We thoroughly enjoyed our time in the X7 xDrive50i. It's powerful, handles like a big sports car, and comes festooned with great tech and premium appointments. But at a hair over $112,000 optioned out, that's a lot of coin to stomach. The X7 is very much a luxury vehicle that provides the premium look and feel affluent buyers want. It eclipses more dated models like the Lexus LX 570 and the Infinti QX80 in just about every way, but the cheaper Audi Q7 is cheaper, lighter, and gets better fuel economy.
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