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- Highs Smooth and robust powertrains, marvelously quiet cabin, seats are serenely comfy.
- Lows Leans too much in corners, some rivals are roomier inside, painfully slow power rear seats.
- Verdict The X7 exhibits the luxury expected at this price point but skimps on third-row space.
Families who want a big three-row SUV with a luxurious interior and Bavarian roots will appreciate the X7. Its prominent grilles and large proportions conceal an extremely quiet and comfortable cabin. Filled with upscale materials and countless features, the BMW is an enjoyable place to spend time—unless you're an adult who has to sit in the third row. Still, the X7 is positively palatial and motivated by a set of powerful and refined powertrains. Every model comes with all-wheel drive and myriad driver assists. While the 2020 BMW X7 isn't perfect, it's among the fanciest ways to shuttle the whole family.
What's New for 2020?
The most significant update to the 2020 X7 lineup is the new M50i model, which brings a more powerful version of BMW's twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 and other unique content. Otherwise the model-year changes are pretty minor. The top two trims feature more standard features such as soft-close doors, gesture controls, remote engine start, and more. In addition to some revised option packages, the X7 can now be equipped with five-zone climate control. With the introduction of the M50i, the regular 50i no longer offers the M Sport package. The modified Alpina XB7 version will make the X7 one of the most powerful SUVs in the world when it eventually goes on sale as a 2021 model.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
Despite our fondness for horsepower and the twin-turbo V-8's blistering acceleration, we'd recommend the entry-level X7 xDrive40i. It includes standard all-wheel drive and its turbocharged six-cylinder engine is plenty quick. It already has a host of desirable standard features that include a four-zone climate control, panoramic sunroof, power-adjustable front seats with memory settings, heated front seats, a power tailgate, and more. The only options we'd add are one of the leather upholstery choices and the Premium package. The latter includes a head-up display, gesture controls, remote engine start, soft-close doors, rear electric side-window shades, and a Harman/Kardon audio system.
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The 2020 X7 has a trio of turbocharged engines that include a 335-hp six-cylinder on xDrive40i models, a 456-hp twin-turbo V-8 on the xDrive50i, and a specially tuned version of that V-8 makes 523 horses on the top-tier M50i. All three engines pair with an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. We found the six-cylinder to be torquey and quiet, but the V-8 was more charming and its acceleration was more urgent. Its standard air suspension with adaptive damping provides a smooth ride, especially in Comfort mode. The selectable Sport mode tightens things up slightly, with sharp impacts intruding on the interior's otherwise placid calm due to the 21-inch wheels. A special off-road package is available and adds an electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential, off-road driving modes, and a front skid plate to protect the bottom of the engine.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA estimates that the thriftiest X7 will earn up to 25 mpg on the highway and 20 mpg in the city. However, those who want a little more grunt from the V-8–powered version will have to sacrifice some fuel efficiency. Both the 456-hp xDrive50i and 523-hp M50i are rated at 15 mpg city and 21 mpg highway. We tested the six-cylinder X7 on our 200-mile highway fuel-economy route and recorded 28 mpg. The V-8 50i also exceeded its government rating, achieving 24 mpg on our real-world highway test.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Borrowing partially from the smaller BMW X5 SUV and partially from the upscale BMW 7-series sedan, the X7's rich interior is well-appointed, tech-packed, and spacious. Plenty of luxury features can be found inside as well, including heated front seats, a panoramic sunroof, a power-adjustable steering wheel, and ambient interior lighting. However, we were irritated by how slowly the power-operated, second-row captain's chair moved when trying to let people in and out of the third row. Likewise, the way-back seats aren't especially roomy for adults during prolonged drives. Still, no one will complain about the X7's ample interior cubby storage. While we only managed to fit three carry-on suitcases behind the third row, we fit 33 total with all the back seats stowed.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Every X7 is loaded with high-tech features, including a fully digital gauge cluster and a large 12.3-inch touchscreen that dominates the dashboard. Its infotainment system can also be operated by a large rotary knob on the center console as well as through gesture controls that are more gimmicky than useful. Every model has a 10-speaker audio system, Apple CarPlay capability, built-in navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and wireless charging.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The 2020 BMW X7 hasn't been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Every model is also equipped with driver-assistance technology in addition to several more advanced options. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Standard blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert
- Standard lane-departure warning
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
BMW offers a competitive limited and powertrain warranty that is bolstered by above-average complimentary scheduled maintenance.
- Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for 3 years or 36,000 miles