For many buyers, as soon as they introduce children into the equation when asking the question what vehicle they should purchase, the answer becomes clear to them – crossovers. Now add that to the fact that on average over the last 20 years, the number of children per household have grown steadily, and you can see why vehicles such as the 2023 BMW X7 xDrive40i exist. We took a look at this freshly facelifted version of Bavaria’s largest Sports Activity Vehicle to see how it stacks up.
BMW offers a variety of crossovers for every stage of crossover mania, starting out with the X1 which manages to feel like a taller sedan, all the way up to the X7 we have here which features a cavernous seven-seat configuration. The X7 competes with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 and the Range Rover SE 440e. Larger contenders such as the Cadillac Escalade may not compete head-to-head with the X7 in terms of size, however the fact that they are priced very similarly will mean that some buyers will cross-shop.
One of the major changes for the facelift is well, the face. The outgoing X7 wasn’t what you’d describe as a looker, but it was fairly inoffensive and looked like if you took the X5 and xeroxed it by 1.25x, and maybe a little extra for the grille. There are still a lot of elements in the styling that are unmistakably BMW and that’s a good thing. Overall, I think the X7 may not be for everyone aesthetically but certainly has grown on us since its initial launch.
The interior layout is also familiar to those used to BMW. There are various aspects lifted from the current X5 and 7-series. We like the ease of use, and there are lots of subtle aspects that make the X7 nice to live with. Material quality is really top notch, and with a ton of leather everywhere and nice silver accents the cabin has a great atmosphere. The ambient lighting is also some of the best around, and changes dynamically depending on the drive mode selected. The switchgear feels high quality and it seems like it will hold up well to the test of time.
Infotainment is updated for the 2023 model year with BMW’s latest iDrive system on deck. We love the ease of use, the flawless wireless CarPlay and Android Auto integration, and the bright vibrant display has excellent colours and feels premium. Wireless charging is also on board here, and the charging pad size works well for larger phones such as the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
The only gripe we have is that all climate control functions are hidden in a menu, which is frustrating, however both the automatic climate control and auto heated/ventilated seats and heated steering wheel work intelligently. The X7 in our configuration offers five zones of climate control which means even the third-row passengers will be able to adjust the temperature to their comfort, in addition to the heated seats, it’s certainly not the worst place to spend time.
Second and third row passengers will also be happy to see that they have their own USB-A and C connectors placed at each seat for charging all of today’s essential devices. Lastly, the third row gets its own glass sunroof which has a powered sunshade. Entry and exit into the X7 is an easy process thanks to the fully electric folding operation, however it’s not a speedy affair. We would love to see the ability to manually flip seats forward and back for quicker access, especially in poor weather conditions.
Cargo capacity in the X7 is 1,376 liters behind the third row. Earlier we mentioned there are numerous small features that make the X7 easier to live with and in the cargo area is where we will find one. There is a set of buttons to control the second and third row seats, which in and of itself isn’t unique, however there are also a set of buttons that are labelled max cargo and max people. Pushing either of these buttons will configure the interior of the X7 to either expand the cargo capacity to impressive 2,560 liters or bring all the seats up to haul passengers.
There are also switches to control the air suspension to make loading and unloading easier, and the liftgate also incorporates a split section like the X5 which is useful for tailgating and other fun activities.
There are two engine options for the 2023 model year. The standard X7 which we have here will come with a superbly smooth inline six-cylinder turbocharged mill internally codenamed “B58”. Featured in numerous BMW products, in this iteration it provides 375 horsepower which is enough to launch the X7 to 100km/h in 5.7 seconds. The turbo-six provides adequate power for most people and for those seeking more, the 523 horsepower from the M60i may be the one for you.
The drivetrain also packs an eight-speed automatic ZF transmission. This transmission remains best in class providing quick shifts that are almost indiscernible. Ride quality is also impeccable as expected from the flagship crossover BMW. The X7 is outfitted with air suspension which in its normal setting allows the X7 to float down the highway with authority. It is quite easy to break the speed limit because of the overall effortless feeling that the drivetrain and suspension tuning combo provide.
One of the most impressive parts of living with the X7 was all of the adaptive driving technology. All of it is standard BMW affair; it works well and augmented reality overlays and full self-driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic are features that may seem like a nice to have instead of a need to have. After being treated to them in this test car, I really do miss them. It’s also nice to see that a lot of the navigation features that usually only work with the built in nav system are also compatible with Apple Maps, meaning that you can use your phone to navigate and also enjoy the smart driving tech.
So what does it cost to own this glorious German land yacht? BMW prices the base six-cylinder X7 from $114,105, with the M60i starting at $138,706. Our xDrive40i has the Premium Excellence package which adds great features such as the massaging seats in the front, heated and cooled cupholders, Parking Assistant professional, soft close doors, and a leather dashboard among other features. Between this package for $12,500 or the Premium Enhanced for $6,900 we believe you will need to option at least one to get the features you’d expect. Our build comes in at $131,505.
Overall, the 2023 BMW X7 xDrive40i really impresses. With its very traditional BMW driving characteristics combined with superb driving technology and creature comforts the X7 is one of the best options available in the segment. For those in the market for a six figure SUV, add the X7 to the shortlist and enjoy it.
2023 Land Rover Range Rover P530