The X7’s fortress-like exterior is likely to attract as many would-be owners as it will repel, but the car’s cabin should find greater consensus.
Our example’s range-topping M50i specification and the fact that it benefits from BMW’s full Merino leather upholstery (a £4995 extra) ensure the place wants nothing for sumptuousness, and in terms of architecture you get essentially the same excellent layout as in the X5, only scaled up to 7 Series proportions and with even more head room.
Neither is the X7 short of an amenity or two. The biggest BMW money can buy is available with five-zone climate control, customisable ambient lighting, temperature-controlled cupholders, massaging front seats and glass running almost the entire length of the roof (albeit not, sadly, uninterrupted) that, at night, uses LEDs to generate an effect reminiscent of Rolls-Royce’s Starlight headliner. The infotainment suite is also unrivalled in terms of usability, even if the vast displays in the GLS generate greater wow factor.
If there is one thing the X7 subtly lacks, it is sense of occasion. The way in which any full-sized Range Rover bottles ‘lounge’ feel is missing here, and the BMW is an altogether cooler place than the GLS, whose interior wraps itself more protectively around occupants. Perceived quality is high, though – higher perhaps than even the oddly soulless but recently revamped Audi Q7.
Where the X7 breaks new ground for BMW concerns the seating arrangement. Access to the third row of seats (also standard in the GLS and Q7) is more awkward than you might imagine because the gap created between the C-pillar and the electrically forward-folding second-row seats isn’t that generous.
However, once in those rearmost seats, passengers will be treated to comfort levels not far off those experienced in the front of the 3 Series saloon. Our test car came with the optional six-seat layout, with two vast chairs in the second row instead of the typical three-seat bench. Again, the ambience isn’t quite so Business Class as in a Range Rover, but there is more space.
The X7 also gets a classic split folding tailgate that opens to reveal an almost perfectly flat boot floor. The 326 litres of capacity with all six seats in place is reasonably good and only marginally less than you’d get with a typical family hatchback.
BMW X7 infotainment and sat-nav