A new full-size BMW SUV has seemed like an inevitability for more than a decade. Now, the new X7 is finally making its debut in its final production form after having been previewed in concept form last year. The X7 slots in above the X5 in nearly every measurement, and its size is its chief virtue, as it promises better third-row accommodations and more cargo space—along with a higher luxury quotient to go with its larger price tag.
Riding on a stretched version of the X5’s rear-wheel-drive-based platform, the X7 is 9.0 inches longer overall with a 5.1-inch greater wheelbase, and it’s also a few inches taller than its little brother. That makes the X7 slightly bigger than its chief rival, the Mercedes-Benz GLS-class. Like the Benz, the BMW seats seven occupants with a standard three-place second-row bench and a two-place third row. Unlike in the GLS-class, though, there is an option for second-row captain’s chairs that reduce seating capacity to six—and the X7’s individual chairs are quite sumptuous, with power adjustments and plush headrest cushions.
The entirety of the X7’s interior, in fact, looks rich, especially in the optional two-tone blue-and-white leather color scheme pictured here. The latest version of BMW’s iDrive software is on hand, as is the company’s new digital gauge cluster. On the outside, the X7 looks nearly identical to the concept version, with enormous kidney grilles up front and a squared-off greenhouse in the rear that seems purpose-built to maximize third-row headroom.
Two versions of the X7 will be offered in the U.S. at launch, the six-cylinder xDrive40i and the V-8 xDrive50i, both with standard all-wheel drive. The powerplants are identical to the like-named variants of the X5, with the 40i using a turbocharged inline-six with 335 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque and the 50i powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 boasting 456 ponies and 479 lb-ft. An eight-speed automatic is the sole transmission choice. We suspect that a plug-in-hybrid version will become available down the road, too. Both models are rated to tow up to 7500 pounds when equipped with an optional factory hitch.