BMW X7 long term test: report 1

Can this luxury SUV prove that it's worth the impressive price tag that it wears or are you better off looking elsewhere? We're finding out...

New BMW X7 cornering

The car BMW X7 xDrive40i M Sport Run by Dan Jones, reviewer

Why it’s here To see if this luxury SUV is really worth its impressive price tag or whether you’re better off with a cheaper seven-seater

Needs to Be versatile enough that it’s a comfortable, spacious and luxurious long distance commuter, but also practical enough to tow and carry lots of luggage or people

Miles covered 6860 Price £90,050 Target price £87,203 Price as tested £107,110 Official economy 29.1mpg Test economy 29.6mpg Options fitted Ultimate Pack (£16,000), 22in bicolour double-spoke alloy wheels (£500), Individual piano black interior trim (£560), M Sport Package Pro (£0), Comfort Package (£0)

20 July 2023 – A lesson in excess

I own a smartwatch that has every feature you could want included within its software, and a load more that you probably wouldn’t. For example, unless you’re a doctor or a regular at Everest base camp, I’m guessing you probably don’t often need access to on-demand ECG tests or to know your current altitude.

Likewise, my new BMW X7 has lots of tech that I’m never likely to use. I mean, who really wants to turn the stereo volume up and down by twirling their finger in the air when there are perfectly good buttons on the steering wheel? But there are also lots of things I’m sure I’ll use all the time, including heated and cooled cupholders and front seats that are heated, ventilated and able to give me a massage.

BMW X7 behind the wheel

Of course, all this functionality comes at a premium; it’s a relatively modest one with my watch, but rather eye-watering with the car. The X7’s Ultimate Pack, which brings those welcome extras, adds an astounding £16,000 to the car’s already lofty £90,050 price tag.

Money like that means that one of the car’s main challenges will be proving its worth relative to the Range Rover Sport – a rival that we named Luxury Car of the Year at the most recent What Car? Car of the Year Awards. And, helpfully, that car is being run by editor Steve Huntingford at the moment, so we can exchange notes in debauchery.

Such indulgence has purpose, though. My X7 needs to be superlatively comfortable, quiet and easy to drive on the 300-mile round-trip from my house to the What Car? office, and the Ultimate Pack brings all the necessary kit to put me home from home behind the wheel.

For starters, there’s an upgraded Bowers & Wilkins Diamond surround sound stereo to do justice to my music of choice, while the Executive Drive Suspension (which tweaks the standard air setup in an effort to make it even more pliant) should iron out the A1’s many troughs and crests.

New BMW X7 rear panning

It’s more than just me that my car needs to pamper, though. When the weekend comes, the X7 will be pressed into action as transport for lots of friends and family, filling each of its seven seats, or as a platform for all manner of watersports kit, including a small boat.

Fortunately, preparing the car for those roles shouldn’t cause me to break a sweat, because the third row of seats can be raised or stowed electrically at the flick of a switch. What’s more, when they’re in use, their occupants will have access to separate air conditioning controls. But the true test will be whether or not adults have enough space to sit comfortably in the very back for extended periods.

You can have the X7 with either petrol or diesel power, and I’ve opted for the 3.0-litre straight-six turbocharged petrol. This puts a total of 376bhp under my right foot – enough for a 5.7sec 0-62mph time. That’s impressive, given the car’s sheer size, and more than quick enough for everyday driving.

I’ll pay for that performance when it comes to fuel economy, though; despite its mild hybrid tech, the X7’s official average suggests that around 29mpg will about as thrifty as it gets. Given the number of miles I cover on motorways, usually with the Eco mode engaged, it’ll be interesting to see how close to (or how far beyond) that figure I can get.

BMW X7 LT front static

A year after buying it, I don’t regret choosing my ‘silly explorer’s watch’ (as it has been dubbed by my girlfriend), but does the X7 have the same long-term appeal? Well, I’ll be answering that over the next few months, but I can already tell you that this luxury SUV will take an explorer surprisingly far off road.

Soon after arriving, it took part in our off-road mega test. It coped well with loose surfaces and took the fear out of descending steep, rutted hills. All while keeping my coffee hot.

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