The advantage the X7 has over the X5 is size —specifically length — plain and simple. Otherwise, the engine and transmission choices are the same. Photo: BMW

Living large and traveling rapidly is an X7 specialty

The big, bold, BMW X7 will provide first-class travel

Covering all the small, medium and large wagon bases is pretty much a requirement these days. For some automakers it’s also an obsession. That’s certainly true of BMW, which recently added the X7.

The range-topping model oversees a total of seven such “X” Bimmers, with all but two being legitimate wagons (the X4 and X6 are basically hatchbacks). The X7’s uniqueness is in its fulsome size plus a capacity to comfortably accommodate up to seven passengers. Unlike the trimmer X5’s available third (kid) row, the rearmost seat is standard in the X7 while the second-row bench can be substituted for a pair of optional high-back bucket seats.

Both the X5 and X7 use BMW’s latest rear-wheel-drive platform, however the X7’s is longer by 23 centimetres and has 13 more centimetres between the front and rear wheels. The increased dimensions give two adults in the rearmost seat reasonable leg space, aided by a second-row bench or chairs that can be power-adjusted fore and aft by about 15 centimetres.

The X7’s styling — especially a roofline that’s five centimetres taller than the X5’s — presents a formal, executive-like presence. The dominating kidney-shaped grille announces to the world which brand of vehicle you’re piloting, and the chrome trim throughout reinforces the fact that abundant luxury is a major X7 talking point.

In back, the lower section of the two-piece liftgate/ folds out for easier cargo loading and unloading. Although there’s a dearth of space in back when all three rows are deployed, dropping both the second- and third-row seatbacks creates a perfectly flat load floor for transporting all manner of large and/or bulky items.

As you would expect with any size-large BMW, the X7’s passenger compartment speaks fluent opulence. There’s an abundance of wood and polished metal trim, along with leather coverings for the seats, door panels and floor console. A standard panoramic sunroof helps keep the interior cheery and bright during the day, while at night the ambient lighting provides 12 different subtle hues from which to choose.

The dashboard has a digital display while the nearby 12.3-inch touchscreen operates the audio, communications and navigation systems.

For its inaugural year, the X7 comes in two performance flavours that are identical to what’s available in the smaller X5. The xDrive40i is equipped with a turbocharged 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder engine producing 335 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque. The xDrive50i gets you a twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V-8 that punches out 456 horsepower and 479 pound-feet. The six-cylinder is rated at 12.0 l/100 km in the city, 9.4 on the highway, and 10.8 combined.

The one-and-only transmission is an eight-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

By BMW’s stopwatch, the 2,450-kilogram xDrive40i can reach 100 km/h from rest in 6.1 seconds, while the xDrive50i takes 5.4. Those numbers are attained using the standard launch control that, when engaged, causes the car to accelerate in the quickest possible manner with zero spinning of the tires.

The X7 comes with all-wheel-drive and an air suspension that increases or decreases the ride height by up to four centimetres. Additionally, BMW’s Driving Dynamics Control has Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ modes. They alter the transmission and throttle operations to suit the dial selection.

When equipped with the proper trailer hitch, both X7s can tow up to 3,410 kilograms.

Pricing starts at $94,650 (including destination charges) for the xDrive40i, while the xDrive50i rings in at $112,150. Both versions arrive with enough premium content and active-safety features — autonomous emergency braking, for one — to meet (and likely exceed) the expectations of most luxury-car buyers, but, just in case, there are optional dress-up packages.

Either way, the big, bold, BMW X7 will provide first-class travel.

What you should know: 2019 BMW X7

Type: Four-door, all-wheel-drive full-size utility vehicle

Engines (h.p.): 3.0-litre DOHC I-6, turbocharged (335)

4.4-litre DOHC V-8, twin-turbocharged (456)

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic

Market position: The market remains strong for high-end full-size tall wagons with three rows of seats, which is why BMW is introducing the X7. Yes, it’s a bit late to the party.

Points: Extra-bold styling emphasizes the larger dimensions. • Luxury interior lacks nothing. • Both engines deliver plenty of power, especially for trailer towing. • More fuel-efficient hybrid model is expected to arrive for the 2020 model year.

Active safety: Blind-spot warning with cross-traffic backup alert (std.); active cruise control (std.); emergency braking (std.); lane-departure intervention (opt.)

L/100 km (city/hwy) 12.0/9.4 (3.0); Base price (incl. destination) $94,650

BY COMPARISON

Mercedes-Benz GLS

Base price: $90,200

King-size utility model has all the right stuff. AMG 63 version comes with 577 h.p.

Volvo XC90

Base price: $61,800

Attractive base price, but top-end trim costs more than six figures.

Lexus LX 570

Base price: $112,400

Loaded-up luxury utility model comes standard with a 383-h.p. V-8.

If you’re interested in new or used vehicles, be sure to visit TodaysDrive.com to find your dream car today!

-written by Malcom Gunn, Managing Partner at Wheelbase Media

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The X7 is longer than the X5 by 23 centimetres, which means the X7 has a standard third-row seat and more cargo room. Photo: BMW

The standard third-row seat is built for two people. It’s optional in the smaller X5. Photo: BMW

The X7’s interior is about as luxurious as it gets. Note the minimal button clutter, the digital gauge cluster and the elegant arrangement of the controls and shifter in the centre console. Photo: BMW

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