Review: BMW X7 (2019)


Huge amounts of space. Luxurious and refined inside. Handles remarkably well for such a big SUV. Seven seats as standard.

Very large for your average parking space and with wide opening doors. Rear seats slow to fold up and down.

BMW X7 (2019): At A Glance

BMW is taking the Range Rover head on with its big X7. Complete with seven-seats, a luxurious interior and cutting edge technology, the BMW makes a strong case for itself as the best big (and we do mean big) SUV on the market.

With rivals like the Audi Q7 and Mercedes-Benz GLS out there, the X7 is not alone of course but its sheer size and road presence make it seem even bigger than the competition. This is no shrinking wallflower and while that gigantic grille at the front won't be to everyone's tastes, it does kind of work when you see the car in the metal as it were.

At more than five metres long, there's the limousine like space you'd expect in a car like this with acres of rear legroom and head space, making this arguably more spacious than a 7 Series.

It also means that the extra seats in the back that make this a seven-seater are two full size seats with space between them. This is where it trumps the five-seat only Range Rover. All the seats fold down and flip back up electrically, although it can be a painfully slow process. There's a split tailgate (both parts electrically operated, naturally) and a huge boot along with a standard fit electrically-operated panoramic glass roof.

The usual BMW quality runs throughout but there's no doubt this is a model with the Range Rover in its sights. The cabin has a more luxury feel than the X5 with soft leather covering every available area. There's plenty of cutting edge technology too including a fully-digital instrument cluster. That said, we don't think it feels quite as special as a Range Rover.

The engine line up is all six-cylinder units with one petrol in the shape of the 40i and either a 30d or the top of the range M50d. While the latter is superb, the 30d is the one to go for. And despite its size and bulk, the X7 handles very well for such a big car and is certainly more agile than any of the competition.

Its real forte is long distance comfort though and here it excels. It's smooth, quiet and effortless on the motorway with the standard fit air suspension ironing out road imperfections.

If you're after a mammoth SUV, there are very fine margins between the competition. But in our opinion the X7 makes a very strong case for itself, not least thanks to its excellent handling and the spacious rear seats. 

BMW X7 xDrive30d M Sport 2019 Road Test

What does a BMW X7 (2019) cost?

List Price from £59,340
Buy new from £52,430
Contract hire from £668.58 per month

BMW X7 (2019): What's It Like Inside?

Length 5151 mm
Width 2000 mm
Height 1805 mm
Wheelbase 3105 mm

Full specifications

With a wheelbase of more than three metres, you won't be surprised to find that the X7 has a hugely spacious interior. You don't need to worry about having enough room to stretch your legs out in the front and the sumptuous seats give good support - they're ideal for long distances behind the wheel.

It's wide too so you can easily fit three adults in the back without them being squashed shoulder to shoulder. It's certainly limousine like and passengers in the middle row get their own dual-zone climate control and even heated seats. 

But it's the extra row of seats in the X7 that makes it stand out. The Range Rover doesn't even offer this as an option (you'd have to move down to the smaller Range Rover Sport). More than that though, the third row is one of the best we have tested.

There are two proper full-sized seats and getting there is easy thanks to the wide opening doors. Although as mentioned earlier, these huge doors do require care when opening in a standard car park. Once there you'll find more than ample legroom and head room will only be an issue for taller passengers. Your average teenager will likely be more than happy.

It's the comfort of the seats that also impresses. Often a third row of seats is a compromise, but in the X7 the rearmost seats feels as good as the rest and there's even plenty of room for your feet under the seats in front. The rear seat has USB ports (handy for charging those iPads and tablets) while climate control here is an option.

The X7 gets an electrically-operated panoramic glass roof as standard which means you can make the interior feel even more light and airy.

If you don't need seven seats, the X7 comes with a six seat option which has two electrically adjustable individual seats in the middle row, complete with armrests. 

At the back there's a split tailgate which opens and closes electrically, while all the seats can be folded down via buttons in the boot. The only issue here is that it takes an age, although that's not really much of an issue given how often you're likely to actually fold the seats down or up.

The boot itself is enormous in five seat mode and even with the back row in place, there's enough space for a week's shopping along with school bags and coats.

Interior quality is top notch and although it doesn't feel as lavish as a Range Rover, the attention to detail and the finish are both superb. The design is lifted from the X5 with lots of thick metal trim, leather covered surfaces and a wide 12.3-inch infotainment screen on the dashboard. 

BMW's latest 7.0 operating system is more attractive than before with better menu layouts and it can be controlled either through the touchscreen or using the rotary dial controller. It looks better but there are a lot of sub menus to go through for some functions and it's not as intuitive as the system you'd find on an Audi. However, it does include BMWs own personal assistant - a not quite as good imitation of Amazon Alexa.

All models get a digital dashboard display, what BMW calls Live Cockpit Professional, which replaces the analogue dials with a configurable screen. Apple CarPlay is also included, but only as a one year subscription. After this you have to pay a subscription and there's no Android Auto either which is disappointing.

Child seats that fit a BMW X7 (2019)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the BMW X7 (2019) like to drive?

Unsurprisingly, the X7 is most at home on the motorway where it effortlessly covers miles with minimal noise and fuss. The excellent ride is helped by the standard fit air suspension which does a stellar job of mitigating the fact it's fitted with huge 21-inch (or optional 22-inch) alloy wheels.

Over rough roads, the air suspension filters out imperfections and on undulating and bumpy roads, it keeps the BMW stable and reassuring. It comes mightily close to wafting along as well as a Range Rover.

Tipping the scales at close to 2500kg and at more than five metres long, the X7 is not a recipe for agile handling, but it does a very good job of disguising that bulk. The steering is well weighted and responds smoothly to inputs, so much so that you can hustle the X7 along a twisting road quite rapidly but without making your passengers queasy.

As with most SUVs, there's little in the way of feedback through the steering, but it deals well with sudden changes of direction and body movement is kept reasonably well in check. It's not as nimble as a Q7 but certainly feels happier on B roads than a Range Rover.

While very few owners will ever head genuinely 'off-road', the X7 still has the ability to deal with rougher terrain. There's an off-road package available as an option, which adds underbody protection and drive settings for various challenging terrains. What may disappoint those looking to tow large trailers or caravans is a towing capacity of just 2200kg (2600kg on the M50d). A Range Rover can pull 3500kg.

The most popular engine is the 30d which delivers plenty of performance thanks to 265PS and, more significantly, 620Nm of torque. It's very quiet and refined while that torque is available at low revs, so it pulls strongly in gear. It's our pick of the range.

That said, we really like the M50d model which adds a whole lot of urgency to the X7 driving experience, thanks to power upped to 400PS and a hefty 760Nm of torque. As a result it can embarrass most hot hatches away from a standstill and has seemingly never ending reserves of power on the motorway.

All X7 models come with xDrive four-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard. The automatic is one of the best on a large SUV, not just in terms of shifts through the gears, but also when it comes to response when you ask for quick acceleration. It's certainly better than the Audi Q7 gearbox.

The sole petrol is a 40i which sounds good and responds well but you're looking at economy of 20mpg if you're lucky. The diesels are hardly frugal but at least with 30mpg, the 30d means you won't be continually filling the thing up with fuel.

Around town, the sheer size of the X7 means you won't be squeezing it into many tight parallel parking spots. The wide opening back doors mean even your standard supermarket space is a bit of a squeeze. Fortunately, front and rear parking sensors and a series of handy parking cameras all come as standard.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
M50d 40 mpg 5.4 s 185 g/km
M50i - - 248 g/km
M60i - - 248 g/km
xDrive30d 44 mpg 7.0 s 171 g/km
xDrive40i 33 mpg 6.1 s 198 g/km

What have we been asked about the BMW X7 (2019)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

What's the best large SUV for carrying my grandchildren around?

I'm considering a large SUV which I'll buy new. Budget is not an issue. What do you suggest? As many Isofix seats as possible for my grandchildren is a priority.
If practicality is important and budget isn't an issue, we'd recommend a BMW X7. It's a very good, premium SUV with seven seats and Isofix points in the outer middle seats and both rear seats. Also consider the Volvo XC90, Mercedes-Benz GLS and Land Rover Discovery - all are very practical, premium SUVs.
Answered by Andrew Brady
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