Best Luxury Sport SUV

The world has gone SUV crazy, and every automaker has rushed to fill the need for these sport utility vehicles in all their various guises. From subcompact crossovers to three-row SUV behemoths and all points in between, these versatile family haulers make up some of America's favorite vehicles.
If you are in the market for a three-row, seven-seater luxury SUV with all the bells and whistles, look no further than the excellent BMW X7. The mighty Beemer bests its rivals on the road with excellent handling, superb suspension, and a wide choice of engine configurations for amazing performance, earning it Car and Driver's highest rating in its class. All trim levels come with all-wheel drive and an adaptive air suspension for an extremely smooth ride.
Add in an upscale luxury interior with every refinement and a new sweeping curved infotainment touchscreen, and you have the ultimate driving machine in an adaptable and pleasing package that is big enough to accommodate large families. Standard features include four-zone climate control, power front seats with memory and heat settings, a power liftgate and incredible panoramic roof.

The Premium package includes lush leather upholstery, a head-up display, soft-close doors, and something called gesture controls. This involves twirling your hand in the air in order to persuade your car to decline a phone call, turn down the stereo, or set navigation destinations. We think it makes you look like a character from Harry Potter. Wand not included.

By the way!

The 2023 model gets a refresh that adds a more dramatic bucktoothed grille and a new dashboard to accommodate the large digital display and the latest infotainment and driver assist features. The X7 will offer big 23-inch rims, a first for BMW, as well as updated motor choices for more power to the pavement.

Under the Hood

For 2023, the base model X7 includes a turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine that offers 375-eager horses (adding 40 horsepower over last year's model) and 398 pound-feet of torque. The new M60i hybrid variant has a 4.4-liter V-8 married to an efficient 48-volt hybrid system that bumps the power up to 523 horses. There is also the mighty Alpina XB7 version that fine-tunes that V-8 to bring 630-horsepower to the table. All variations of the X7 utilize an excellent eight-speed transmission and all-wheel drive.
Fuel economy for the base model is projected to be 24 miles per gallon for both city and highway driving, the fire breathing Alpina drops that to and EPA estimated 15 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway. No word yet on the new M60i hybrid's EPA figures.

Inside the X7

The first thing you'll notice when you open the driver's door is the usual high end, stylish and luxurious BMW seats and that glorious panoramic sunroof. Next, you'll notice the large 14.9-inch curved infotainment touchscreen and the 12.3-inch gauge cluster over the power adjustable steering wheel. In typical BMW fashion, all the controls are easily at the driver's hand. Ergonomics are pure perfection. Unlike most BMWs, there is a third row of seating and power-operated second-row captain's chairs. There's also plenty of storage room and with the back sets dropped down you have 90.4-cubic feet of cargo room to play with. The hands-free liftgate is a nice touch as is the push button lowering of the rear seats.

 As will many new vehicles today, the interior is bathed in "ambient lighting" that makes you feel like you're in a spaceship. The massive touchscreen with its curved glass panel can be operated by a rotary knob on the center console as well as through the silly "gesture controls" which are proof to engineers that just because you can do something doesn't mean that you should do something.
The infotainment system boasts the very latest iDrive 8 software that is very user friendly. There is a Wi-Fi hotspot and BMW's Digital Key for remote functions through a smartphone app. Simply hold it to the door handle to lock or unlock the car or start the engine. Upgrades include wireless charging and an orchestral Harmon/Kardon stereo system with 10 powerful speakers.

Because safety is a top priority when driving your family around, the X7 comes standard with many of the very latest safety and driver assist features. These include automated emergency braking and forward-collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane-departure warning all as standard.

The Drive

What can we say about BMW's biggest SUV when it comes to taking it out on the road. Yes, it is big, but rearview cameras make parking a breeze. The ride is, well, palatial, powerful, and pleasing. The X7 rides on air suspension with adaptive dampers for a soft and smooth driving experience. Available active anti-roll bars reduce body motions in the big SUV and rear-axle steering is standard on the M60i variant for a sportier suspension feel. You can choose between 21-inch or 23-inch wheels.
The ride is extremely quiet and smooth. Some might call it serene. But this is also a full-size performance SUV and in keeping with the BMW name, it doesn't disappoint on curvy backroads or in pure passing power on the highway. If you are looking for both style and performance in a three-row SUV, the Beemer outperforms the Cadillac Escalade.
The X7 produces a whopping load of power instantly and shifts quickly when managing onramps. The torque delivery is impressive, and you'll be surprised at how sporty an SUV can feel. The base model xDrive-40i has an astounding zero to 60 mph acceleration time of 5.6 seconds. The beefier M60i with its V-8 will manage that task in just 4.5 seconds. BMW should probably call this wonder wagon the ultimate family driving machine!

The Bottom Line

We are extremely impressed with the X7. It is a performance-oriented three-row, seven passenger SUV that is a far cry from your dad's bouncy and stogy station wagon. Limited bumper-to-bumper and powertrain *warranties cover four years or 50,000 miles and the X7 comes with three years or 36,000 miles of complimentary maintenance.
The base line X7's suggested retail price starts at an MSRP of $78,845. The M60i bumps the price up to and MSRP of $104,095, and the mighty Alpina XB7 will set you back to an MSRP of $145,000. You'll find your X7 at the Lithia Auto BMW dealer near you.

* See dealer for limited warranty details