Hurried progress on narrower, twistier cross-country roads doesn’t come easily to the X7 M50i, but the manner in which it conducts itself when pushed on wider, smoother, faster roads is still impressive.

There’s an abundance of grip here – more so than a car of this weight and size has any right to possess, you might argue – while optional four-wheel steering and a helm that’s perhaps a shade light in its weighting but also accurate and responsive all serve to build confidence and shrink the X7 around you. Of course, physics can only be eluded for so long, and even with active anti-roll stabilisation (part of the £2450 Executive Drive Pro bundle) working for the car, there’s a lot of side-to-side movement as you tip the X7 into bends.

Traction and grip impress and, aided by optional four-wheel steering and an accurate helm, the X7’s responses belie its bulk, although you can make it lean quite markedly

That roll is progressively checked so it doesn’t take you by surprise when it arrives, but it’s still entirely possible to adopt what feel like rather hilarious lean angles through quicker corners should you choose to, and to do it without feeling you’re in any way flirting with mishap. The X7 always seems to retain enough wheel travel to avoid any massive mid-corner deflections, so stability remains impressive.

With its sheer size and mass, there’s always a bit of manhandling required to drive the X7 at pace on the road. But the balance this largest M Performance model strikes between grip and agility on the one hand and easy stability and good outright rolling comfort when you’re not rushing it on the other makes it seem both surprisingly dynamically accomplished and unexpectedly appealing to drive.

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Tackling Millbrook’s Hill Route at pace in the X7 M50i isn’t a particularly pleasant experience. That’s not down to any shortage of traction. Even when pressed hard, the X7 clings on impressively. It’s more to do with how pronounced vertical and lateral body movements are at serious speeds.

Although these weight transfers remain controlled during quick directional changes, the inertia generated by the car’s sheer mass in these instances is profound. Driving quickly soon becomes quite a physically taxing process as a result. If competitive cruise lining were a thing, this is probably how it’d feel.

Nevertheless, the X7’s traction and stability systems are calibrated impressively. Progress isn’t constantly hampered by a heavy-handed line of software code, so you can carry what feels like serious speed through sharper, off-camber corners without any sudden loss of power or clamping of brakes.

Comfort and isolation

It can be difficult to quantify something as subjective as ‘comfort’, but we can at least put numbers to the acoustic element of the mix – that is, isolation. At a steady 70mph, cabin noise in the X7 M50i was limited to 62dB, which is identical to the GLS 400d we’ve previously tested and very quiet indeed. To do better, you need to look to the most rarefied limousines in the world – cars such as the Rolls-Royce Phantom, which managed 60dB (appreciably quieter than 62dB, although the difference is not day and night) on its foam-insulated tyres. For further context, consider that the old V8 twin-turbo diesel Bentayga – a machine we considered opulence personified in 2017 – generated around 65dB.

To this sense of calm and well-being, the X7 adds its fine pneumatic-flavoured ride quality, which at motorways speeds is beautifully composed as the optional active anti-roll bars disengage. The car finds an enjoyable longwave flow that belies the 22in alloy wheels and ‘M’ designation on the rear bodywork. Owners who predominantly use these cars over distance are unlikely to regret their decision and the expansive glasshouse only adds to the sense of serene but quick progress.

One disappointment is that the car’s low-speed ride is not quite as refined as you’d hope, given all the travel in the height-adjustable suspension. Owners won’t exactly find themselves swerving to avoid potholes and wincing over rougher surfaces, but the X7 does labour such things fractionally more obviously than a Range Rover or Audi Q7.

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