2020 BMW X7 Long-Term Test Update: Searching for the BMW Within
Let’s cut to the chase. Is the BMW X7 good to drive? Of course, we’re not expecting a seven-seat SUV that tips the scales on the wrong side of 5,000 pounds to drive like an E30 M3. However, it needs to be a cut above rivals from a dynamic point of view. For me, at least. It might be the biggest BMW ever, but anything wearing the kidney grilles (have you noticed them?) should feel as rewarding for the driver as it does for the passengers.
Let’s start with the engine. It’s small, efficient, features a single twin-scroll turbocharger, and has many classic BMW attributes. You’d think the 3.0-liter straight-six could be easily overwhelmed by the scale of the X7. Not so. It has an engineered precision that’s every bit as characterful as a booming but slightly lazy V-8 that you might otherwise find in an entry-level car of this class.
OK, there isn’t the feel-good theater of a V-8 on startup, nor the deep, cosseting noise of eight cylinders burbling away to themselves in the background at highway speeds. However, with 332 lb-ft available from 1,500 rpm, the I-6 picks up the X7 with relative ease. The engine’s smooth high-rev energy feels uniquely BMW.
It’s a trickier task to transpose the chassis feel, balance, and natural agility of the BMWs we’ve driven and loved over the years to a car built to this scale. Put simply, if you try to drive the X7 with real enthusiasm, it starts to unravel. There’s understeer, plenty of body roll, the brakes start to protest and get noisy, and it feels every one of its 5,300 pounds. Whereas the BMW X5 is always a surprise when you start to push it, the X7’s behavior is very much what you’d expect of a hulking SUV. It just feels reluctant and out of its comfort zone.
So you’re not going to head to the canyons in the X7 … not exactly a revelation. More important is how the X7 feels during more representative driving. Here there’s much more to appreciate. The ride is a little tough on the 22-inch wheels, but the payback is a chassis that feels keen to change direction, while good body control and natural responses create an intuitive driving experience. It’s an exaggeration to say that the X7 “shrinks,” but it certainly carries its size and weight with assured confidence.
Overall, BMW’s biggest-ever model clearly focuses more on opulence, convenience, and space than driving dynamics. It does those things brilliantly, too. More about which comes in our next update.
My only wish: that it did a little more to identify itself as a BMW, which might imbue it with more character and sense of occasion, too. No wonder they stuck such a massive grille on the X7. Wouldn’t want customers to forget what they’re driving.
Read More About Our Long-term 2020 BMW X7 xDrive40i:
Source: Read Full Article