BMW X7 long term test: report 3

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 and K1600 GTL 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 8837 Price £90,050 Target price £87,203 Price as tested £107,110 Official economy 29.1mpg Test economy 28.5mpg

2 September 2023 – Four wheels vs two

I previously boasted about how luxuriously equipped my BMW X7 is. But after reading that report, my colleague Neil Winn piped up that BMW makes motorbikes with similar levels of kit.

The list of manufacturers who produce both cars and motorcycles isn't huge – Honda and Suzuki are the other big ones – although in recent years there have been a few collaborations between makers of two and four-wheeled machines, leading to bikes such as the Abarth XSR900 Yamaha and Ducati Streetfighter Lamborghini.

New BMW X7 meets BMW K1600 GTL

BMW, though, is (at least to my knowledge) the only manufacturer that sells its cars and motorcycles from the same dealers. Stroll into BMW Park Lane or BMW Grimsby, for example, to buy an X7, and you will be able to see its two-wheeled equivalent (the mighty K1600 GTL) sitting on the other side of the showroom. 

I've got to admit, it's a genius piece of marketing because, even if you’re not interested in motorcycles, being able to walk around a whole host of models, from sports bikes to off-roaders, is a fascinating reminder of BMW’s engineering heritage. Indeed, the brand produced its first motorcycle, the R 32, in 1923, five years before it launched its first car.

But back to Neil's claim that it's possible to buy a bike that's kitted to the same level as my luxury SUV. I challenged him to put up or shut up, and the machine he borrowed from BMW to try and prove his point was the aforementioned K1600 GTL.

BMW K1600 GTL heated seats

Now, if you don’t know what a K1600 GTL is, don’t panic – I didn't either, until Neil explained. But it turns out that like my X7 it features a six-cylinder engine (yes, really), has an automatic gearbox (well, there's a quick-shifter that means you don't have to use the clutch) and comes equipped with heated seats, leather upholstery, cruise control and a powerful sound system. Designed to blast across continents, Neil reckoned it made his two-hour commute to the What Car? office a joyous, untaxing experience. 

In particular, he was pleasantly surprised by the way the K1600 GTL was able to mask its colossal 358kg weight (roughly 160kg more than BMW’s S1000RR sports bike) on the tight and twisty country roads near his home in Leicestershire. According to Neil, it shrinks around you when you up your pace, encouraging you to brake late and get on the power early so that you can enjoy the sonorous exhaust note from its wonderfully smooth engine.

BMW X7 40i LT following K1600 GTL

This last characteristic is one that it shares with the X7 – to the point where you wonder if the two sets of development engineers might have swapped notes. So, maybe the K1600 GTL really is the two-wheeled version of my car.

One thing's for certain: Neil's bank balance is in danger of taking a serious hit, because after spending time with the two machines, he reckons he doesn't know how he's going to cope without having the pair of them on his front drive.

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