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BMW’s flagship SUV will go up against the likes of the Range RoverSport and Mercedes-Benz GLS
BMW has launched their flagship SUV, the X7 in India at a rather competitive Rs. 98.9 lakh(ex-showroom, India). Available in two variants (xDrive30d and xDrive40i), the X7 is BMW’s biggest offering ever and will seat seven. The xDrive40i makes its way to India as a CBU while the xDrive30d will be produced locally. With a focus on space, luxury and technology the new BMW is set to take on the Range Rover Sport and the Mercedes-Benz GLS. The BMW X7 follows on from a concept car launched at the Frankfurt motor show that previewed BMW’s intention to make a big, premium SUV to sit above the X5.
At the front, the new X7 features the largest kidney grilles BMW has ever fitted to one of its a production cars – the BMW logo is also much larger. Either side of the X7’s grille is a pair of LED lights with part-hexagonal daytime running lights similar to other new cars in BMW’s range.
The X7 uses chrome around the windows, in the front bumper and on a trim section that extends from the front wings, down the sills and into the rear bumper. There’s also a chrome bar between two rear lights, a detail that BMW has only ever used on the 7-series before.
The Design Pure Excellence trim(xDive30d) gets an aluminium grille, chrome accents and 21-inch Y-spoke wheels. The X7 will be on offer in four different versions and a range of engines internationally. However, India only gets two. The straight-six diesel in the xDrive30d produces 261bhp while the X7 xDrive40i comes with a 335bhp straight-six petrol.
Every version of the X7, no matter what engine you choose, comes with BMW’s Steptronic gearbox, an eight-speed automatic transmission. Drive is then sent to all four wheels, however it predominantly sends torque to the rear, only driving the front wheels when extra traction is necessary. The X7’s front suspension is a double-wishbone setup while the rear is a multi-link configuration. The four wheel steering does add stability at high speeds, but its greatest benefit is making the large SUV more maneuverable – the X7 is over 5 metres long and 2 metres wide with a wheelbase of 3.1 metres.
As standard, the X7 has air springs at all four corners that allow the X7 to run at different ride heights for various situations. It can raise 40mm higher than standard for off-road driving, lower the same amount when stationary for loading or, it lowers by 20mm when driving above 138kmph.
There are three available sound systems in the X7, the standard version has 10 speakers dotted around the interior while the top spec system has 20. All three rows of seats are heated and have electric adjustment, while all of the rear seats can fold down and then back up electrically. There’s four-zone air con as standard, but five-zone (an extra one for the back) is available as an option.
The other options available are cup holders that can keep drinks either warm or cool, 10.2-inch screens embedded into the back of front seats, a Blu-Ray player, two USB ports, an HDMI socket and a headphone jack. And, if only six seats are needed, the middle bench can be replaced by two individual seats for easier access to the rear. The large panoramic glass roof that extends right to the rear-most seats. Then, in the dark, LED lights shine across the inside surface of the glass roof that’s then reflected by over 15,000 patterns in the roof like the X5. The colour of these lights can also be changed. The X7 comes with a suite of driver assistance systems such as radar cruise control, lane assist, automatic parking and an interior camera that monitors the driver’s head and can detect if they fall asleep so the car can alert them and wake them up.
It also has Reversing Assistant that, should the driver take the X7 down a particularly tight road or parking space that’s tricky to reverse out of, will allow the BMW to retrace its path without the driver needed to use the steering wheel, just the accelerator and brake.
The competitive pricing of the X7 compares favourably to the Range Rover Sport and the expected pricing of the new Mercedes-Benz GLS and should make it a compelling option for people looking for a full-size luxury SUV.