BMW X7 long-term test
The BMW X7 is one of the largest and most luxurious SUVs you can buy, but does owning a car with such overtly American proportions really make sense in the UK? We’re living with one to find out...
The car BMW X7 xDrive30d M Sport Run by Neil Winn, senior reviewer
Why it’s here The X7 defeated the fantastic Bentley Bentayga to take the top price point for luxury SUVs at the 2020 What Car? Awards. However, we still expect it to justify its sizeable list price by proving to be immensely comfortable, practical and effortless to run on a day-to-day basis.
Needs to Function as a mobile office, be able to carry an entire family and their luggage for hundreds of miles in utter comfort and be practical enough for everyday use.
Mileage 8905 List Price £72,630 Target Price £72,370 Price as Tested £93,185 Test Economy 31.9mpg Official Economy 33.6mpg Dealer price now £63,221 Private price now £56,197 Trade-in price now £53,262 Running costs (excluding depreciation) Fuel £1442
8 December 2020 – Final Report
Don’t judge a book by its cover. Those seven words have become part of my daily lexicon while living with my BMW X7. Because let’s face it, few other cars in recent years have been criticised so heavily for their looks. The number of articles and YouTube videos poking fun at the X7’s styling must run into the hundreds, while the enormous front grille has spawned more memes than Donald Trump. So, it’s little wonder my colleagues and family members have been critical of its aesthetics.
You might think this has become something of an irritation, but the opposite is actually true. I’ve come to enjoy the process of watching said acquaintances ‘throw shade’ at my X7 before having to backtrack once they’ve actually spent some time in it. Because as I’ve mentioned in earlier reports, there are not many cars this side of a Rolls-Royce Cullinan that offer a more sumptuous and relaxing driving experience than the X7.
Which brings me to why I chose to run an X7 in the first place. When I tested it against a top of the range Audi Q7 Vorsprung late last year, it proved to be the more practical and refined vehicle – thus elevating itself to top of the ‘money-no-object family car class’. But only by living with a vehicle can you really understand how it slots into daily life.
For example, at What Car? we’re fortunate enough to have a private test track, giving us a Covid-secure place to assess vehicles. However, the indoor working areas on site have been shut throughout the various lockdowns in order to keep the risks to a minimum, so in the downtime between driving I’d jump into the back of the X7 for some peace; its comfortable seats, acres of rear leg room and tall side windows made it the perfect place to get some work done.
It can certainly function as a mobile office, then. But the X7 was equally busy outside of working hours, including when my colleague Will Nightingale borrowed it for a trip to the south of France. Will and his family have made this annual pilgrimage for the last 15 years in all manner of vehicles, so when he called me to say “it’s the best car I’ve ever made the journey in” I was rather proud, if not surprised.
I’ve also spent a serious amount of time behind its wheel, because my partner and I are getting married later this year in my home county of Yorkshire, so have had to make the 500 mile round trip from London to Bolton Abbey on multiple occasions in order to sort out wedding logistics. In any other car this might have become a grind, but in the X7 it was something we began to look forward to – the massage seats, fantastic stereo, cruise control and superb refinement making motorway stints fly by.
Even its vast size didn’t present any problems. With a high driving position and surprisingly good all-round visibility, the X7 was as easy to place in the centre of London as it was on Yorkshire’s narrow country lanes. And if a parking space ever looked a little tight, I’m not ashamed to admit that I occasionally made use of BMW’s brilliant Park Assist feature, which manages the steering, acceleration and braking for you. Easy-peasy.
In short, I’m very sad to see the X7 go. The entire road test team now agrees that it deserves to be a much bigger seller than it is. And while I admit that looks are somewhat important, there is no arguing that objectively the X7 is a vastly superior car to similarly-sized, similarly-priced alternatives, including the Mercedes GLS and Range Rover. Put simply, if you’re in the market for a luxurious, seven-seat, do-it-all SUV, the X7 needs to be at the top of your list.
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