It wasn’t too long ago when BMW’s entire lineup consisted of a simple range of sporty luxury cars. Fast forward to 2022, and its SUV line is just as diverse as its passenger car lineup. It’s a reflection of how consumer preferences have evolved. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago when the German luxury automaker started dipping its toes into the full-size luxury SUV segment with their X7, which is in contrast to a brand like Mercedes-Benz, which has been offering a full-size luxury SUV for more than a decade already. This is the 2022 BMW X7 xDrive30d Pure Excellence, and the question is, are the engineers from Munich (though this is assembled in Spartanburg, South Carolina) too late to the party? Let’s find out.
From a design standpoint, the BMW X7 xDrive30d Pure Excellence we’re driving today looks unapologetically huge. Its imposing front end, with its ginormous kidney grille, throws subtlety out of the window, for better or worse. Upon seeing this in person, I personally appreciate the way it looks. Besides, if there’s one luxury SUV that deserves the award for having the biggest grille, that honor goes to the Lexus LX 600. Being the Pure Excellence trim (mind you, it’s the only variant available), you get a smattering of chrome, though the application is tasteful rather than ostentatious. It’s a controversial look, for sure, but it’s one that’s best appreciated in person.
The sides and rear of the X7 are just as imposing. This SUV’s blocky and upright stance is enough to give you a hint of the amount of space on offer inside this humungous Bimmer. The 21-inch wheels fill the wheel arches perfectly, and this is complemented by the self-leveling air suspension that can lower itself when driving at high speeds or for easier access to the trunk or interior.
Speaking of that interior, this BMW X7 xDrive30d Pure Excellence is luxuriously trimmed that’s deserving its almost P9 million price tag. This is a straightforward interior, in the sense that what you see is what you get. If you think it’s wood, then it’s actual wood. If you think it’s glass, metal, or leather, then it’s definitely the real stuff. Design-wise, it’s not as special as the Mercedes-Benz GLS, but the Bimmer’s build quality is a tiny bit superior. The X7 has a better sense of solidity with its dense panels and the satisfying thunk and clicks provided by its soft-close doors and various storage areas.
Features and Infotainment
If there’s one aspect that the X7’s interior provides, it’s that sense of familiarity with the rest of the BMW lineup. While that could be a downside from an aesthetics point of view, the common interior layout across the entire range makes the X7’s interior easy to decipher. Its iDrive 7 infotainment system is still my benchmark in the entire auto industry. This is laid out via two 12.3-inch screens–one as the Live Cockpit Professional digital gauges and the other as the central infotainment screen.
Rotary knobs continue to be my favorite way of interacting with an infotainment system, so I’m glad BMW has remained faithful to this human-machine interface layout, though iDrive 7 can also be operated via touch, through gestures, or via handwriting on the rotary controller. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are equipped as standard, along with a sublime Harman Kardon surround sound system.
Space and Practicality
As for the rest of the cabin, this large Bimmer offers proper space for adults on all three rows. It’s already a given that the second row would be huge, but the third row is even generous for a tall adult like me. Those at the second row are treated to powered sunshades for the panoramic sunroof and windows, along with a rear entertainment system that’s also powered by iDrive 7. Amazingly, those seated in the third row have their own sunroof and climate control, which means the X7 offers five zones for its automatic climate control. I am not kidding. I could travel all the way to Baguio even when seated at the X7’s third row.
Understandably, the 2022 BMW X7 has a ginormous trunk, and even with all seven seats in place, you have a generous 320 liters of space. Fold the third row down, which is done electronically of course at this price point, and you’re provided with an enormous cargo area that’s good for 750 liters. If you want even more space, you can automatically fold the second-row seats down, providing you with a minivan-like 2,120-liter cargo area, which is about as big as you could get in this segment.
Powering the 2022 BMW X7 xDrive30d Pure Excellence is a 3.0-liter straight-six turbocharged diesel engine that produces 265 horsepower and 620 Nm of torque. Now, this may not sound like a lot for an SUV that weighs 2.4 tonnes, but with a 0-100 kph time of around 7 seconds, this thing can go head-to-head with a Mazda MX-5 or Toyota GR 86 in a drag race.
Additionally, being a straight-six engine, the sound this thing makes is very throaty. Under hard acceleration, which doesn’t happen too often due to the satisfying linearity of its power delivery, the X7 sounds like a detuned Toyota GR Supra. Yes, this is a diesel-fed SUV that sounds like a sports car, and it’s only something that a brand like BMW can achieve with an engine layout that they’ve essentially mastered throughout the decades. This is accompanied by my favorite transmission in the industry–an 8-speed automatic that’s made by ZF. The shifts are smooth when you need it and lightning fast when you want it.
Despite its portly weight, the 2022 BMW X7 still manages to drive like a proper BMW, shockingly even better than the 730i full-size luxury sedan I drove a few months ago. Perhaps it’s because this SUV’s steering feels sharper compared to the 7 Series, or the fact that my handling expectations for such a large vehicle are set low, but whatever the case, this is a large SUV that you can hustle through corners. The self-leveling suspension doesn’t just counteract body roll excellently, but it also irons out bumps as if they don’t even exist. It’s like riding on a magic carpet whilst still providing sporty handling when you want it. The brakes are even extremely secure for such a large SUV, which means it’s easy to get carried away when you’re enjoying this through a set of twisties.
And of course, since this is the most expensive SUV in BMW’s range that isn’t wearing an M badge, refinement is expectedly top-notch. There’s literally barely any road and wind noise, and this is about as quiet as cars could get that isn’t a Rolls-Royce Cullinan. In addition, this huge SUV is surprisingly fuel-efficient. Having now driven the X7, I can officially confirm that all BMWs are more fuel-efficient than their mainstream counterparts. This 2.4-tonne SUV, despite its performance capabilities, managed to achieve an average fuel economy of 11.3- 1.8 km/l, which makes this more efficient than significantly slower and less powerful PPVs. Yes, they’re not exactly rivals, but it’s proof of how advanced German engineering is when it comes to their powertrains.
Unfortunately, not everything is perfect, and at this point, it’s almost unacceptable for a nearly P9 million SUV to be unavailable (at least in Philippine spec) with any advanced driver-assistance tech, such as automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, just to name a few. You do get a nifty 360-degree camera system with a 3D view that every Chinese automaker has also adopted at this point, along with a Reversing Assistant that remembers your steering inputs for the last 50 meters that you drove, and then automatically steers you out of a dead-end, and a Parking Assistant self-parking feature. Apart from those, the X7 doesn’t have any real driver-assistance tech. We do hope that we see these features in future BMWs.
The 2022 BMW X7 xDrive30d Pure Excellence ticks a lot of boxes for those who need the ultimate in luxury SUV transport. For a first-time effort, the X7 is a large SUV that manages to possess the typical traits of BMWs, but in a package that’s spacious and at the same time with the amount of luxury dialed up to 11. Unfortunately, its lack of any driver-assistance tech, just like its other German rivals, is almost bewildering at this price point–at a time when Lexus and Volvo now equip their luxury cars with their full suite of driver-assistance tech.
Still, in other respects, the X7 is distinct and exquisite on its own. While it is already quite late to the party, there’s no other large SUV that manages to handle and accelerate like a sports sedan whilst still being very fuel-efficient. Its style is still perhaps its most controversial aspect, but you can’t deny that there’s no other SUV in its class that manages to flex your status in life in the same way that the brash and bold 2022 BMW X7 does.
Pricing and Rating
Exterior Design: ★★★★☆
Interior Design: ★★★★☆
Space and Practicality: ★★★★★
Fuel Efficiency: ★★★★★
Value For Money: ★★★★☆
Overall: 4.5 out of 5
*Pricing is correct and accurate as of this article’s time of writing.