The interior layout, fit and finish
For a car with such a glitzy, gargantuan exterior, you might be surprised by the X7’s rather low-key interior design; it can’t match the Mercedes GLS, with its eye-catching all-in-one widescreen displays, nor can it trump the sheer opulence of the Range Rover. However, where it falls down on showiness, the X7 makes up for that on quality. Every surface you look at or touch simply screams quality and craftsmanship, and this lends its interior a truly upmarket ambience that matches that of the Audi Q7.
In terms of layout, the X7’s dashboard is near enough a carbon-copy of that found in the X5, with a few special touches to remind you that this is BMW’s flagship SUV. These include the knurled finish to the infotainment controller, and an (optional) crystal-glass gear selector, which unfortunately does an excellent job of refracting sunlight directly into your eyeballs.
Infotainment is something of an X7 speciality, thanks to BMW’s latest 12.3in iDrive system. It can be operated through an extremely responsive touchscreen, the intuitive rotary-dial controller we’ve just mentioned – or even by using BMW’s voice control system. On top of those, there’s gesture control to adjust the volume, skip music tracks or change radio stations, although you do feel a bit silly wafting your hand around to activate it. With so many easy interfaces, all the key infotainment functions can be used safely while driving.
Meanwhile, ‘Live Cockpit Professional’ is the name given to BMW’s 12.3in digital instrument cluster, which is standard across the range. It’s great at putting the most relevant information in front of the driver, including the sat nav map or music information. It can be enhanced even further if you opt for the head-up display, which projects info such as speed and navigation instructions onto the windscreen. All things considered, BMW’s iDrive infotainment system is still the best in the business.
Behind the wheel, you’ll find a typically high-set SUV seating position with electrically adjustable front seats that are effortlessly easy to fine-tune to your taste. Massage functionality is also an option.
While there are no notable flaws in the X7’s visibility, a car this bulky can present a few manoeuvring challenges, so front and rear parking sensors, a plethora of all-round cameras and even a self-parking system all come as standard. BMW ‘Laserlight’ headlights are available at extra cost and use laser technology to create a brilliantly bright light.