BMW is filling out its product lineup with the launch of its largest crossover to date.
The new X7, available at U.S. dealerships in March starting at $74,895, addresses a shortcoming in BMW’s crossover lineup — a true seven-seater option. The X7 comes standard with three-row seating for seven passengers.
Currently, the X5 crossover offers third-row seating, but is not a full-size SUV, said Akshay Anand, executive analyst at Kelley Blue Book.
“Large SUVs tend to fill more “needs” than “wants” for consumers shopping that segment, so BMW will attempt to gain a foothold.
The X7 should add incremental sales for BMW, as consumers continue to migrate from cars to crossovers and SUVs.
BMW’s U.S. car sales have dipped 11 percent in 2018 while light-truck deliveries have advanced 20 percent.
The large premium crossover segment has grown in each of the last 3 years, including a 13 percent increase in 2017, according to the Automotive News Data Center. Year-to-date, the sector is up nearly 5 percent from the same period a year ago.
The BMW X7 will compete with the Mercedes-Benz GLS, Audi Q7 and Range Rover.
The Mercedes-Benz GLS and Audi Q7 have owned the large luxury utility market for years, said Sam Fiorani, vice president at AutoForecast Solutions. Lexus’ RX350L joined the club in 2017.
“When the difference between the top four luxury brands in the U.S. is as narrow as it is, every niche model helps,” Fiorani said. “Not only will the X7 provide much needed volume in the three-row crossover market, but it will also generate the additional profit that a high-end model brings.”
Bold and beefy
At 203.3 inches long, 78.7 inches wide and 71.1 inches tall, the X7 dominates BMW’s crossover lineup. The X7’s kidney grill — the largest ever designed for a BMW model — is bookended by slim twin headlights that emphasize the width of the car.
Under the hood, the X7 features updated gasoline engines.
The X7 xDrive40i is powered by a 3-liter inline six-cylinder engine that generates 335 hp and can go from 0 to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds. The 4.4-liter V-8 powered X7 xDrive50i generates 456 hp and can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds.
Both engine variants are linked to an eight-speed Steptronic transmission, whose wider ratio spread and new control electronics help increase the powertrain’s overall efficiency, BMW said.
The X7 comes with an array of sensors and technologies that take the drudgery out of driving.
Standard on the xDrive50i and optional on the xDrive40i, is the Driving Assistant Professional package which includes a semi-automated driving system that allows for hands-free and pedal-free driving on limited-access highways and at speeds slower than 37 mph.
The system, which debuts this year in the redesigned X5, uses an in-cabin optical camera to address a critical challenge with semi-automated driving systems — ensuring that drivers are paying attention to the road. The camera mounted in the instrument cluster that checks to see that the driver’s eyes are open and facing the road. The camera doesn’t record in-cabin activity, BMW emphasized.
The xDrive40i comes standard with a suite of safety features including blind spot detection, lane departure warning, rear collision warning and a system that alerts the driver if cyclists are detected. The xDrive50i adds standard Parking Assistant Plus which provides panorama view and 3D view. The xDrive50i also includes a head-up display.
The X7 features BMW’s new Intelligent Personal Assistant, an AI-powered system to help drivers communicate with their cars as they do with their smartphones.
The super-sized X7 comes with a sticker price to match. The xDrive 40i variant starts at $74,895, including shipping and handling. The beefier xDrive50i version begins at $93,595.
The X7 will be the fifth model to be produced at BMW’s Spartanburg, S.C., plant. Last year, the plant produced 371,284 crossovers, 70 percent of which were exported to 140 countries.
Length 203.3″ 203.3″
Width 78.7″ 78.7″
Height 71.1″ 71.1″
Width w/ mirrors 87.3″ 87.3″
Wheelbase 122.2″ 122.2″
Engine: 3-liter, inline 6 4.4-liter V8
Horsepower 335 hp 456 hp
0-60 mph 5.8 secs 5.2 secs
Top speed: 130 mph 130 mph
Price: $74,895 $93,595