Pros: Ultra-smooth powerful engines; surprisingly good handling; decadent and upscale interior
Cons: Infotainment usability frustrations; polarizing design; power second row leaves utility on the table
The 2024 BMW X7 might be the vehicle you least associate with BMW’s sporting heritage, but in reality, it’s one of BMW’s best-executed products for its intended use. This three-row SUV is truly one of the finest in the luxury business, and while it’s no 3 Series on a winding road, it’s still shockingly fun to drive. Pick any of the three silky-smooth powertrains from the xDrive40i to the Alpina XB7, and you’re in for smile-inducing acceleration and satisfying sounds. Nothing in this price range with three rows handles as well as the M60i or Alpina versions of the X7 either — though the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 puts up a fight.
BMW interior design is on a roll, and the X7 gets all the upscale goodies that BMW can throw at it. That means the X7 feels its price. You’ll marvel at the glass controls, high-definition screens and general poshness of the interior every time you get in. All three rows of occupants get to indulge in the luxury, too, and they’re rather spacious rows at that. You can buy bigger SUVs that are better suited to regularly carrying six or seven people, but the X7 is perfect for a bigger-than-average family and their belongings. Between the X7 and the Mercedes GLS, it’s a tough fight in choosing a winner, but the driver’s choice would undoubtedly be this BMW. It’s tough to beat, as outside some hang-ups we have with the infotainment system, the X7 is a fairly bulletproof offering in the three-row luxury SUV segment.
What’s new for 2024?
The X7 is a carryover model for 2024, but it received a heavy refresh for 2023 that you can read about in our first drive here.
The X7 has a beautiful interior chock full of fanciful glass controls, classy ambient lighting and high-quality leather and trim. You sit up high in big, comfy bucket seats and get to enjoy good visibility both in front and out the rear. The enormity of the X7 is apparent at all times, and all three rows get to experience the luxury — even the third row can be heated. Unfortunately, amongst the luxurious materials is a tech interface that is in need of some work.
One of the updates last year was adding BMW’s new Curved Display that runs iDrive 8. This deletes BMW’s convenient row of climate and radio controls in favor of controls in the screen. We hope that an update to iDrive 8.5 improves usability, but common tasks like turning on the heated steering wheel or adjusting the fan speed is now a chore that requires many screen taps to complete. At least the screens themselves are beautiful with vivid graphics and smooth operation. We’ll also note our appreciation for the continued presence of a traditional volume knob, as that was one physical control BMW saw fit to maintain.
If you spring for the XB7 (below), there are a variety of Alpina-exclusive design and tech touches such as a unique steering wheel, “Myrtle luxury wood” trim, Alpina logos and model designations all around, and unique blue gauges in the cluster.
The X7 is the biggest BMW, which can be seen on the outside and experienced inside. Space in the second row is palatial, while adults can even fit quite comfortably in the third row of seats. They can even have their own climate controls. The second-row seats feature power-operated slide and recline, which is definitely fancy, but it takes considerably longer to slide the second-row seats forward for third-row access than in three-row vehicles with manually-operated seats. Be prepared to stand at the door and wait awhile.
Worse, the second-row captain’s chairs (below, left) also don’t fold, meaning there’s no way to get the sort of maximum cargo capacity typical of such a large three-row vehicle. Maybe you won’t be routinely using your leather-lined, $90,000 luxury SUV to haul lumber from Home Depot, but such versatility is a key reason people buy such a vehicle. As such, we’d recommend sticking with the sliding and reclining second-row bench seat (above, right). It’s plenty comfortable and adds an extra seat to boot.
The X7 is offered with three different powertrains, which in BMW tradition, are tied to different models. The xDrive40i gets a 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six aided by a mild-hybrid system. It produces 375 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque, but torque can be boosted to as much as 398 lb-ft for short intervals via the mild-hybrid boost. Every X7 is fitted with all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission. BMW estimates a 5.6-second 0-60 mph time. Fuel economy comes in at 21 mpg city, 25 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined.
Upgrade to the X7 M60i and you get the stout 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 (also aided via a mild hybrid assist) with a rocking 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. The 0-60 mph time drops to just 4.5 seconds, but fuel economy suffers at 16 city, 21 highway and 18 combined.
Go all the way to the XB7 (pictured above) and you get an Alpina version of the 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 — again with mild-hybrid assist — that has its output raised to a whopping 631 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. Its 0-60 mph time falls to just 3.9 seconds, and fuel economy takes a light hit at 16 mpg city, 20 mpg highway and 17 mpg combined.
With its tremendous size, height-adjustable air suspension, and subtle pitching when turning, the X7 models feel their size. You can expect truly supple ride quality and composed handling that allows for a rapid-enough pace on a winding road. However, if you’re expecting taut handling and tactile steering, this is not the vehicle for you. The M60i model with its performance slant is legitimately good fun to wheel about in, but it’s still a big, three-row SUV, and that’s something that not even BMW’s chassis engineers can work around.
The base six-cylinder turbo engine provides plenty of power, while the eight-speed automatic goes about its business without fuss. Frankly, BMW could only offer the base engine, and it’s hard to imagine anyone complaining. That’s not how BMW does things, though. There are two more levels of performance offered.
Just like its less powerful brethren, the X7 M60i is a supremely comfortable luxury barge. Leave the suspension in its baseline Comfort mode, and it sops up potholes and road imperfections, leaving passengers undisturbed. Select Sport mode, though, and the M60i’s ride turns stiff-ish. Barreling down a backroad is slightly unnerving with the amount of weight you’re carrying around, but this chassis instills far more confidence in the driver than most three-row crossovers do. It’s more composed than the 40i, and the available summer tires give it a miraculous amount of lateral grip. The steering is numb, but such is the case with most BMWs. So yes, the handling is improved, but mashing the throttle is the real fun of the M60i. That twin-turbo V8 pulls this big vehicle around with ease while you watch traffic disappear in the rearview mirror. Its speed is deceptive from the high chairs, making frequent checks of the speedometer a necessary task. It’s undoubtedly more fun to drive than the xDrive40i, but a more money-prudent choice would be to buy the more efficient (and still fun) inline-six version and a cheaper dedicated sports car with the savings.
We’ve yet to drive the refreshed Alpina XB7, but you can read about the pre-refresh model right here.
What other BMW X7 reviews can I read?
Our first drive of the refreshed X7 where we go over all the changes made for 2023 and tell you about how it drives.
We drive the Alpina version of the X7 for the first time to see what Alpina can do for BMW’s largest vehicle.
Our first go in the BMW X7 back when the current generation originally launched.
We take the X7 M50i (now named M60i) on a road trip to get some extended seat time and test out its road trip credentials.
A deeper look at the X7’s spacious and tech-filled third row.
The X7 xDrive40i starts at $82,995 before options. Of course, it comes with a ton of nice accoutrements to begin with, including 21-inch wheels, LED headlights, roof rails, power-folding and heated mirrors, “Sensafin” simulated leather upholstery, heated front seats, heated steering wheel/surfaces, wood trim, four-zone climate control, a 12.3-inch digital cluster and 14.9-inch infotainment system that runs wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto, wireless phone charger, head-up display and auto-dimming mirrors (rearview and driver side mirror).
The M60i is equipped with a few additional luxury items on top of the xDrive40i, but you’re really spending the extra dough on performance. Priced at $109,695, its added items include the big V8 engine, M Sport Differential, M Sport brakes, 22-inch wheels and an M Sport exhaust system.
The XB7 is the most expensive X7 and starts at $150,395. It adds all the performance and luxury amenities you’d expect in an Alpina-fettled X7 with Alpina-specific tuning on all the systems, and it’s priced to match.
Standard on every X7 is the “Active Driving Assistant” suite of accident avoidance tech that includes forward collision warning with pedestrian and cyclist detection and automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic warning and speed limit info. The Driving Assistance Professional package adds BMW’s new hands-free driver assistance tech that allows hands-free highway driving at speeds up to 85 mph. It also adds higher-speed automatic emergency braking, evasive steering assistance, regular adaptive cruise control, a traffic jam assistant and side collision avoidance.
As of this story’s publishing, the X7 has not been independently crash tested.