BMW X7 review

Category: 7-seater

The X7 is an immensely practical seven-seater with a luxurious interior and plush ride

White BMW X7 front cornering
  • White BMW X7 front cornering
  • White BMW X7 rear left driving
  • Dan Jones test driving BMW X7
  • BMW X7 interior back seats
  • BMW X7 interior infotainment
  • White BMW X7 front cornering
  • White BMW X7 off road driving
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  • White BMW X7 front left static
  • BMW X7 interior front seats
  • BMW X7 panoramic roof
  • BMW X7 interior detail
  • BMW X7 interior detail
  • BMW X7 boot open
  • White BMW X7 front cornering
  • White BMW X7 rear left driving
  • Dan Jones test driving BMW X7
  • BMW X7 interior back seats
  • BMW X7 interior infotainment
  • White BMW X7 front cornering
  • White BMW X7 off road driving
  • White BMW X7 rear cornering
  • White BMW X7 front left static
  • BMW X7 interior front seats
  • BMW X7 panoramic roof
  • BMW X7 interior detail
  • BMW X7 interior detail
  • BMW X7 boot open
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Introduction

What Car? says...

The BMW X7 is kind of a big deal. So big, in fact, it lets you arrive at an event in a vehicle that seems larger than the venue – and you can take six other people along for the ride.

You see, the X7 is the biggest car BMW makes, and it traverses two car classes – seven-seaters and luxury SUVs. As well as offering seemingly endless interior space, it aims to pamper its driver and passengers as attentively as the BMW 7 Series luxury limo.

But is the BMW X7 really good enough to tempt you away from its talented premium-badged rivals, including the Audi Q7, the Mercedes GLS and the Range Rover?

Well, we've tested it, and in this review we’ll run you through how well the BMW X7 stacks up for practicality, comfort and refinement, as well as how much it costs to buy and run. Read on to find out all you need to know...

Overview

The BMW X7 is everything a big luxury SUV should be. Its huge interior is as practical as it is sumptuous, and the X7 is supremely comfortable and quiet on the road. Its style and sheer scale give it an element of theatre and desirability few rivals can match. We recommend the xDrive40d diesel engine and M Sport trim, plus the optional Ultimate Pack if you can afford it.

  • Supremely quiet and comfortable
  • Incredibly spacious and practical
  • Great infotainment system
  • There are cheaper alternatives
  • Looks won’t be to all tastes
  • No plug-in hybrid or electric option
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Our Pick

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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

The BMW X7 engine range kicks off with the mightily impressive xDrive40d, which has a 347bhp six-cylinder diesel engine that helps this big SUV sprint from 0-62mph in a remarkably swift 5.9 seconds. That’s faster than the Mercedes GLS 450d and the Range Rover D350.

It’s our favourite of the X7’s engines, because it offers strong and smooth acceleration that allows you to demolish long journeys, yet it’s also hushed and subdued in all situations.

If you don't want a diesel, your best bet is the six-cylinder petrol xDrive40i. Its engine is quiet when you want it to be, and pleasantly snarly when you’re pressing on. It offers fractionally quicker acceleration than the 40d (0-62mph in 5.8 seconds), but you do need to rev the engine a bit harder to access that performance – and fuel economy is nowhere near as good.

The most potent engine is under the bonnet of the M60i. It has a 4.4-litre V8 petrol with a ridiculous 523bhp to help the X7 see off 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds. It's a great engine, too, but it’s hardly the sensible choice.

All engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox that shifts gears quickly and smoothly, but also allows you to take manual control using paddles behind the steering wheel. There can sometimes be a small delay when you plant your right foot to ask for brisk acceleration, but it’s nothing compared with the pregnant pause that afflicts some luxury SUVs, including the Audi Q7.

When it comes to ride comfort, the standard air suspension does a fine job of soaking up whatever the road can throw at it.

BMW X7 image
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The X7 is more comfortable than the GLS and gives the Q7 a run for its money on a motorway. It even edges the Range Rover for comfort if you avoid the slightly firmer M60i (which has active anti-roll bars to help keep it more upright through corners) and stick with 21in wheels (up to 23in wheels are available).

This is a big, heavy car, so it doesn't feel as light on its toes as a Porsche Cayenne or the smaller BMW X5 – even if you go for the M60i. Nevertheless, it’s surprisingly agile if you put the standard air suspension in its Sport setting and feels far more gainly than a Land Rover Discovery or GLS.

In common with other big BMWs, the steering is accurate, smooth and reassuringly weighted. You wouldn’t describe the X7 as a fun or rewarding car to drive along a meandering country road, but few luxury SUVs are. The exceptions are the Cayenne and, for even bigger spenders, the Aston Martin DBX 707. Those are far less practical cars, though.

Plus, the X7 is one of the quietest cars we've ever tested, with very little tyre or wind noise, whether you're munching through motorway miles or negotiating urban traffic. In town, the optional four-wheel steering (standard on the M60i) greatly aids manoeuvrability by turning the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the fronts. It’s a must-have if you do lots of driving in built-up areas.

Off road, the X7 is able to tackle rougher ground than most buyers will ask of it. You can also select the optional xOffroad package with the 40i and 40d engines – this adds drive settings to suit different terrains and extra underbody protection. The ultimate off-roading luxury SUV is still the Range Rover, though.

Driving overview 

Strengths Strong engines; very comfortable ride; feelsome steering

Weaknesses Not as dynamic as the Porsche Cayenne

White BMW X7 rear left driving

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

Every surface you touch inside the BMW X7 simply screams quality and craftsmanship, and no rival short of the vastly more expensive Bentley Bentayga can compete for build quality.

That said, we can see why you'd prefer the more restrained, conservative design of the Range Rover's interior, or the more flamboyant look in the Mercedes GLS.

In terms of layout, the X7’s dashboard is similar to the BMW X5's, with the same curved 14.9in infotainment touchscreen and adjoining 12.3in display behind the steering wheel for the digital instruments.

The infotainment system is generally really easy to use, and can be operated using an extremely intuitive rotary controller positioned between the seats, or by using the voice control system. When you're driving, both methods are less distracting than stabbing away at the touchscreen.

The only slight disappointment is that there are no physical controls for the air-conditioning. Instead, you have to adjust the interior temperature either by using the touchscreen or firing out voice commands – the Range Rover's physical switches and knobs are less distracting to use on the move.

Behind the wheel, you’ll find a typically high-set luxury SUV driving position. You get electrically adjustable front seats as standard, which are effortlessly easy to fine-tune and also extremely comfortable. Both front seats are heated as standard, but you can add a massaging function and seat ventilation if you wish. 

While there are no notable flaws when it comes to the X7’s visibility, a car this bulky can present a few manoeuvring challenges. Fortunately, front and rear parking sensors, all-round cameras and a self-parking system come as standard.

Interior overview

Strengths Plush interior materials and superb build quality; easy-to-use infotainment system; fantastic driving position

Weaknesses Fiddly touch-sensitive climate controls

Dan Jones test driving BMW X7

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

The BMW X7 is simply huge – bigger even than a standard-wheelbase Range Rover – and as a result has masses of interior space. It’s tall and airy in the front, and so wide that the driver could almost feel like they’re in a different postcode to their front passenger. There’ll be no shoulder-rubbing going on here.

There’s also plenty of room for those on the second-row seats to stretch out, and with no shortage of head, leg or shoulder room, three adults sitting side-by-side will be relatively comfortable.

The second row even gets a climate control zone for each side of the car along with heated seats for the outer passengers. The seats can be moved forwards and backwards electrically in a 60/40 split, or folded in a 40/20/40 arrangement.

The X7 also matches the Audi Q7 and the Mercedes GLS by offering a third row of seats as standard, meaning it can carry up to seven people.

With the Range Rover, you have to go for the eye-wateringly expensive Long Wheelbase version then pay even more money for an optional third row. And when you do, it's still not quite as roomy as in the X7 – especially in terms of headroom. What’s more, you can opt to add a further climate control zone to the third row of the X7, taking the total number to five.

Unsurprisingly, the X7’s third row seats are far more spacious than those in the Q7 or the Land Rover Discovery. Even a couple of six-footers will fit comfortably enough. Access to the third row is good, too, thanks in part to wide rear doors that reveal a large gap to clamber through.

If you don't need a seven-seater, you can order your X7 as a six-seater, with an even more luxurious layout. It costs a bit more and replaces the three-person second-row bench with two individual chairs, each with its own armrests.

As for the boot, the X7 retains the smaller X5’s split-folding tailgate layout, with a lower section that flips out to serve as a handy perch to sit on when you're taking off muddy wellies. There’s space in the boot for a couple of suitcases even when the third-row seats are in use.

In five-seat mode, the boot is enormous, and the load area is positively monstrous when the second and third rows are (electrically) folded away. There are also some handy underfloor storage compartments.

Practicality overview

Strengths Loads of interior space; more spacious third row than rivals; enormous boot

Weaknesses None

BMW X7 interior back seats

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

If you want a premium-badged SUV that seats seven in comfort, the BMW X7 isn't the cheapest option: an Audi Q7 or Land Rover Discovery will do the job for less.

Likewise, if you don't need that many seats but like the rest of the X7 package, you might be better off with the cheaper but still excellent BMW X5. However, if you’re looking for maximum space, versatility and luxury, the X7 is untouchable – and a far better buy than the similar-sized Mercedes GLS.

According to official figures, the X7’s fuel economy and CO2 emissions are a close match for those of its key rivals. If you have one eye on keeping running costs down, go for the 40d diesel. As we said earlier, it's a great engine and suits the X7 really well, while also offering much better fuel economy than either of the petrols.

The X7 isn’t particularly attractive to company car drivers because there’s no plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version with a low official CO2 output, so all versions are in the top 37% BIK tax bracket. If you’re looking to keep your monthly tax bills down, there is a PHEV version of the smaller X5 and the Range Rover.

Even entry-level Excellence trim comes positively loaded with kit, including air suspension, four-zone climate control, and heated front seats. The M Sport model adds sporty cosmetic touches and upgraded brakes.

Meanwhile, the M60i stands as a trim level in its own right, adding a limited-slip differential (LSD) on the rear axle to increase cornering traction, as well as active anti-roll bars.

Our advice is to go for M Sport trim. It’s only slightly more expensive than Excellence but its extra desirability means it should be worth more when you come to sell, so monthly PCP finance costs aren't much higher.

You'll still probably want to consider adding some options, and to experience the X7 at its brilliant best, we'd recommend the Ultimate Pack. That's very expensive but bundles together lots of desirable extras, including four-wheel steering, five-zone climate control and adaptive cruise control.

In our 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey, BMW came 12th out of the 32 manufacturers rated. That puts it above premium rivals Audi, Mercedes and Land Rover. A three-year, unlimited mileage warranty is provided as standard.

The X7 has yet to be crash-tested by Euro NCAP but it does come with lots of standard active safety technology, including automatic emergency braking (AEB) and rear cross-traffic alert, which warns you about approaching vehicles when you're backing out on to a road.

Costs overview 

Strengths Plenty of safety kit; cheaper than a Range Rover; optional Ultimate Pack bundles together loads of desirable extras

Weaknesses More expensive than many seven-seat SUVs; petrol isn’t very efficient; no PHEV for company car buyers

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BMW X7 interior infotainment

FAQs

  • The X7 isn't cheap. In fact, two key rivals – the Audi Q7 and the Land Rover Discovery – will cost you a lot less (although the Range Rover is even more expensive). You can check the latest prices on our New Car Deals pages.

  • Yes. In fact, as well as the Audi Q7, the X7 is bigger than the standard-wheelbase Range Rover. However, with optional four-wheel steering equipped, the it's still surprisingly easy to drive around tight streets and multi-storey car parks.

  • As standard, the X7 comes with seven seats, although you can pay a bit extra to have a more luxurious six-seat configuration instead.

  • Not at all. While the BMW X5 is a great car, the X7 takes things to the next level by not only being larger, but also much more luxurious.

At a glance
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RRP price range £88,890 - £126,215
Number of trims (see all)3
Number of engines (see all)3
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)petrol, diesel
MPG range across all versions 23.2 - 36.2
Available doors options 5
Warranty 3 years / No mileage cap
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £6,452 / £9,133
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £12,905 / £18,267
Available colours