The first-ever BMW X7 is a luxurious and capable full-size SUV that brings bulk, standard 3-row seating and plenty of grunt to the Bavarian brand's X range in the shape of its new flagship. Built on an extended X5 platform, the car also shares a number of its functions and features - as well as engines. The India launch last week confirmed what I had told you when I first drove the BMW X7 in March this year - that India will get the xDrive30d and xDrive40i. And we have the India-spec first and exclusive for you on carandbike. While the petrol is a fully built import, the diesel is assembled in India at BMW's Chennai plant. Both cars are priced identically at ₹ 98.90 lakh. And so it's evident that the diesel has a few more features and comforts as standard. Read on to know more.
Also Read: BMW X7 SUV Launched In India
The BMW X7 is the kind of car you'd call a sure winner in terms of buyer requirements in markets like China and India. And yes I say this well aware that India won't get anywhere near the kind of volumes China will. That explains that large grille and imposing looks. It's also the attention to detail and build quality though, that come through right away on this car. Still it's the car that the backseat owner will absolutely love. The X7 has 3-row seating as standard. In India that becomes a bigger deal, since BMW has saved this feature for only the X7, and the X5 does not get the optional 3rd row as it does in some other markets. The default configuration is six-seat layout, but you can also go for that full bench and have a 7-seater version.
The diesel, of course, is what I'm focusing on today because, even when we did our global drive, we did have a chance to drive the petrol X7 40i; and so I was more curious now about the 30d. The big question is that can an engine that powers the X5 be good enough for the bigger and heavier X7? Well to be fair the petrol is also the same engine as the smaller sibling, and so having tested that car already, I had an optimistic view on this going in. So that is going to be my key focus today, because, for everything else about the X7, you can go ahead and look at my previous review. Even in terms of equipment, we are getting pretty much everything on the India spec since the car I first drove was also the Design Pure Excellence trim.
Also Read: 2019 BMW X7 SUV International Review
So on to the X7 xDrive30d. The engine's output numbers are identical to the figures you will see on the diesel X5. Yup, as I said it's the same engine that goes into both cars. So it's a decent 260 bhp of power and peak torque comes in at between 1500 and 2500 rpm at 620 Nm. The gearbox is the 8-Speed Steptronic Sport. We know this engine well and yes it's efficient, it's quick and punchy, and the good news is that it retains that character on the mighty X7. The car is quick, no very quick! It will leap ahead as you gently depress the accelerator pedal, and charge on with aggression if you do that not so gently! So for the many who were surprised and even grumbling about BMW not bringing us the range topping diesel, I say worry not. Incidentally that variant is the X7 M50d, which gets close to 400 horses and 760 Nm of peak torque. It is also likely to come to India, but only towards the end of 2019 or even in 2020 - in small volume as a direct import priced well above ₹ 1.20 crore.
Anyhow, the 30d has impressed me just as much as the X7 40i did. Agility is the car's calling card, and handling its middle name. The xDrive all-wheel-drive system is standard across the X7 range, along with the two-axle air suspension, and electric active roll stabilisers. The India spec however does not get active steering where the rear wheels also turn either with or against the front wheels. But that does not take away from the drive experience. The X7 is first a true BMW - that is to say a real driver's car. It has the kind of agility, balance and handling you expect from more compact, sportier cars. There is no body roll and the car corners impeccably for an SUV. The handling on this car is just unbelievable. It is just phenomenal what BMW has been able to achieve, given the car's height, width, weight and sheer bulk. It's just so much fun! And then throw in the amazing ride quality, and you will start to understand why I am gushing. Whether you are pottering around in city traffic, or you want to put pedal to the metal on a highway - the car is supremely comfortable and composed. Sitting in the car as a passenger (front or back) feels no different (with the single captain seats in row two i.e.) For a buyer at this kind of price point, (especially those mostly sitting in the back) the car will define luxury and comfort. And yes without the usual compromise one makes with an SUV versus a sedan.
The seats are all electrically adjustable. And you can do that from each individual seat control, or even from a panel in the boot or at the control console on the driver's side door. The climate control is 5-zone and there are specific vents for the 3rd row. Those seats by the way are reasonably comfortable, and access to them is also relatively easier. In fact of the usual 3-row variety of cars, the X7 will easily have the most comfortable third row. You also get the latest iDrive interface, personal digital assistant, a giant panoramic sunroof, ambient lighting, ambient air, electric sunshades, and a whole lot more. The ultra-luxurious Design Pure Excellence trim adds in chrome trims you see in the front and rear bumpers, 21" trim-specific alloy wheels, roof rails and window graphic in an aluminium finish, glossy black mirror housings and body coloured wheel arches and side skirts. It also gets a special signature leather for the seats and door trims. Safety is key on the car and it has a tonne of active and passive safety features that include front, side, head and knee airbags.
The X7 also promises good off-road capability. While it is not the extreme SUV, it will do a fair amount - in line with what we have seen the xDrive do on the X5 too. And yes that also includes the special off-road drive modes for varying terrains and surfaces. The twin-axle air suspension also lets you raise and lower the car even when not off-road for convenient ingress or egress, or loading of cargo. The car's usual drive modes are also on offer, be it Sport, Comfort, Eco Pro - and yes the adaptive mode too. There is an obvious difference between Sport and the rest, while the Eco Pro mode - while enhancing efficiency still does give you pretty quick responses and a fair amount of go.
So yes there is a lot that you will get for that cool crore. It is not just big, it is not just luxurious, it is not simply comfortable and nor will it only impress you with its performance prowess. No - the BMW X7 is all of that. And for the well-heeled buyer who always thought they were compromising any of these parameters when going from luxury sedan to luxury SUV, well I suppose I have to say - your car has arrived. Now we wait till the second half of 2020 when the Mercedes-Benz GLS, Audi Q8 and new models from Land Rover and Lexus also get here, for more variety in this class. That the Mercedes-Benz GLS - its most obvious rival really - is much delayed will help the BMW X7 get a clean run of a little over a year to really consolidate its position in the ultra-luxury SUV buyer's mind. After all it is cheaper than even a Porsche Cayenne - and yet has none of the rear-seat owner's compromises of that or any other pricey rival.