BMW X7 breaks cover, to go on sale early 2019

Given the pace at which the German luxury trio - Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz - have been filling niches after niches in the automotive industry, it was quite a miss from the folks at BMW who had nothing in their range to go against Audi's Q7 and Mercedes' GLS. These two, together with Lexus' LX, Volvo's XC90 and Infiniti's QX80, have not just been popular but also very profitable for the respective car-makers. Making a belated entrance then is the all-new X7, BMW's first-ever full-size crossover SUV with three rows of seats. 

Have one good look at the X7 and we bet you'll end up being intimidated. Firstly, the X7 is huge, coming in a whole lot bigger than the X5 and measuring almost the same length as the 7-Series. BMW's flagship sedan is soundly beaten in terms of width and height as well. Secondly, the trademark 'kidneys' up front have grown in size and are massive. Their sizes are further accentuated by thin headlights on either sides. Viewed together, the X7 looks trendy and menacing at once. The profile is conservative featuring a strong shoulder line and a flat window line that appears to have clearly placed function over form. The rear gets slender taillights that are connected by a thick chrome bar and a chiseled tailgate. Chrome embellishments are used extensively with the shiny metal occupying prominent spots all around the vehicle. 

For those that want their rides to look sporty, there's the 'M Sport' package that offers bigger (and, of course, sexier) wheels, upgraded exhaust system and brakes, bumper bars, side skirts and body panels that are devoid of chrome. Some interior bits have changed too in line with the sporty theme this package is supposed to convey.    

In it's standard configuration, the X7 seats seven but if specced with the optional captain's chairs on the second row that comes complete with all the adjustments and settings that the driver and front passenger get, the vehicle seats six. Hardcore BMW fans no longer have to contend with the optional third row in the X5 to accommodate their near and dear.

The interiors, as such, are plush, classy and inviting. Though the design and layout are not very dissimilar to the X5 and other recent BMWs, the X7's cabin exudes a sense of richness unrivaled by the other cars from Bavaria. Two large screens - a digital cluster and an infotainment screen - occupy prime spots in the dashboard while the center stack that's angled towards the driver houses two single rows of neatly-stacked buttons and knobs to control the audio and air-conditioning. The two-tone cream and blue upholstery with those nice and glossy pale brown wooden trims interspersed look fabulous. A three-panel panoramic glass roof is standard as are a ton of creature comforts and safety assists.

High-end equipment on offer include five-zone automatic climate control, Ambient Air package, Bowers and Wilkins Diamond Surround sound system with 20 speakers, soft-close doors, heated armrests, heated and cooled cup holders, gesture control, Siri-like 'Voice Recognition' system that responds to "Hey BMW" command, Rear-seat entertainment and a sunroof with optional embedded LED lights to give that starry sky effect (like a Rolls-Royce, no less!). The list just goes on and on. 

Top notch safety kit on board include Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function, Driving Assistant Professional with Steering and Lane Control Assistant, Lane Change Warning and Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assistant and Side Collision Protection, Evasion Aid, Crossing traffic warning, Priority warning and Wrong-way warning, latest generation of the BMW Head-Up Display, Emergency Stop Assistant and Parking Assistant. 

Powering the X7 are a pair of gasoline engines - a turbocharged 3.0-liter, 6-cylinder engine producing 335 horsepower and 447 Nm of torque and a 4.4-liter, twin-turbo V8 that generates 456 horsepower and 649 Nm of torque. In the few markets where diesel cars are still in demand, BMW offers the option of either a turbocharged 3.0-liter mill that produces 256 horsepower or a quad-turbocharged unit good enough for 400 horsepower. Irrespective of the engine powering the vehicle, transmission duties are handled by a ZF-sourced 8-speed automatic gearbox that transmits power to all four wheels. 

All X7s feature a fully-independent suspension with dual wishbones at the front, a five-link setup at the rear and air springs that can raise and lower the ride height as required. Optional off-road package enables selection of xSand, xGravel, xRocks and xSnow driving modes at the touch of a button.

The X7 goes on sale early 2019 and when it does, expect this mammoth BMW to pose an equally mammoth challenge to the segment best-sellers. It's game on, then!

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