BMW Digest: Company Reveals 2019 X7 Fullsize SUV, X5 M Performance Parts
Three-Row X7 Gives the Mercedes-Benz GLS a Beverly Hills Rival
While the Truck Trend staff was out off-roading the newest and brightest in our 2019 Pickup Truck of the Year competition, BMW was busy launching the all-new 2019 X7, a seven-seat SUV sized like the Mercedes-Benz GLS. Slotting in above the X5, the X7 will arrive in March 2019. The company also announced a lineup of M Performance parts for the X7's all-new little brother, the X5.
First Look – 2019 BMW X7The 2019 BMW X7 is the company’s first serious take on a three-row crossover. The midsize BMW X5 has been available with an optional third-row seat since the 2007 model year, but the SUV is a bit too small for the wayback passengers to be comfortable for anything longer than a minute or two.
The X7 addresses that shortcoming. At 122.2 inches, the X7’s wheelbase is 5.1 inches longer than the all-new 2019 X5. It’s also 9.5 inches longer overall, at 203.3 inches, and it’s taller by 2.4 inches as well (a still-garageable 71.1 inches). In addition to the larger footprint, the X7’s more formal, upright styling ensures improved headroom and reduced claustrophobia for each of the SUV’s seven passengers. The X7’s exterior size even eclipses that of the Mercedes-Benz GLS, which is a bit smaller in length, wheelbase, and overall width.
That size increase has justifiably resulted in about 500 pounds of weight gain for the X7 compared to the smaller X5. The base X7 xDrive40i weighs in at 5,370 pounds, going up to 5,617 pounds for the xDrive50i. Like similarly named X5 models, the X7 xDrive40i is propelled by a 3.0L twin-scroll turbocharged I-6 producing 335 hp and 330 lb-ft, while the xDrive50i gets a twin-turbocharged 4.4L V-8 with 456 hp and 479 lb-ft. Peak torque for both engines comes in at a reasonable 1,500 rpm, so even given their added size, both should be reasonably responsive around town and at speed on the highway.
Like the X5, the X7 routes its power to all four wheels through a standard eight-speed automatic transmission. And available on the X7 is an electronic locking rear differential for improved control over slippery surfaces like snow, dirt, and ice. Power and curb weight compare well, respectively, to the base GLS 450 and premium GLS 550 models from Mercedes. BMW claims faster acceleration from both X7 models than their M-B competitors, with a maximum towing capacity of 7,500 pounds with the optional BMW-installed rear hitch matching the GLS pound for pound.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but the X7 looks much nicer to our peepers than we were expecting—the Concept X7 iPerformance’s gargantuan radiator grille and squarish fender accents had us worried. Suitably toned down for production, the X7’s front end still features massive BMW kidneys (the company says they’re the largest ever fitted to a Bimmer), but the wider headlights help soften their forms a bit. Hockey-stick chrome appliques on the side of the X7 make it look like it’s leaning forward into the wind, recalling classic BMWs like the 2002 and the original E24 6-Series. Clean bodyside surfacing reflects the company’s new less-is-more styling, which we very much appreciate. And slim taillights borrow much of their styling from the new X5—gone are the massive rear lighting elements that have dominated BMW booties for decades. Standard 21-inch wheels and a ground clearance of 8.7 inches give the X7 a commanding stance.
Inside, the X7 shares its hexagonal styling elements with other modern BMWs. The instrument panel and center console are trimmed in large swaths of wood trim, and metallic elements are electroplated for durability and a rich appearance. BMW’s photo model also gets a blue-over-gray color scheme with white-stained wood, a surprising and attractive combination for the company’s flagship SUV. The panoramic sunroof is standard, with two adjoining panes of glass over the first two rows and a single pane over the third row to allow plenty of natural light in.
While seven-passenger seating is standard, X7 customers can also opt for a six-passenger configuration thanks to a second-row pair of bucket seats. In either configuration, the second-row seats adjust 5.7 inches fore and aft, giving third-row passengers more space if necessary. Furthermore, the front passenger’s seat can be adjusted forward from the driver’s seat, making the X7 an intriguing proposition for limousine service. With the third-row seat stowed, the X7 offers 48.6 cubic feet of cargo space, expanding to 90.4 cubes with all seats folded. BMW hasn’t copped to all-seats-up cargo volume yet, but we don’t anticipate it to be a whole lot—enough for carpool, but not for a cross-country road trip.
Starting at $73,900 for the xDrive40i or $92,600 for the xDrive50i, the X7 is priced similar to its Mercedes-Benz competition: the GLS 450 is a shade cheaper at $70,150, but the GLS 550 is more expensive at $95,750. The X7 will be the first BMW ever to be available to order online, and retail deliveries should start in March.
2019 BMW X5 with M Performance PartsBMW usually offers each of its vehicles with a suite of M Performance parts and accessories, and the recently revealed 2019 X5 is no exception.
The name “M Performance” may be a bit of a misnomer, as by and large the lineup of parts is mostly intended to personalize the X5’s appearance, not its handling or acceleration. As such, expect lots of carbon-fiber exterior components to make their presence known on the accessories list. Finished by hand with a high gloss, these carbon-fiber reinforced plastic bits are available for the air intake trim element, front winglets, rear winglets, rear diffuser, and sideview mirror caps.
There are also matte black M Performance side sill extensions to give the SUV a sportier appearance. Inside, carbon fiber makes an appearance on the M Performance steering wheel, which is also available with an Alcantara-trimmed rim. “Carbon fabric” is available for the shift paddles.
Unique in the M Performance catalog are the X5’s available all-terrain wheel-and-tire packages. The 20-inch wheels, wrapped in all-terrain tires, come in BMW’s Star Spoke Style 748 M design, giving the SUV a planted, rugged stance. There are also 22-inch wheels available for SUVs destined to remain on-road, and these Star Spoke 749 M hoops feature a rolled rim that saves about two pounds compared to a similarly sized wheel.
The M Performance line does include some legitimately sporty line items, including available M Performance drilled and vented brake discs and four-piston aluminum front calipers. There’s also an OBD-II–based Drive Analyzer, which helps the X5 driver optimize the vehicle for their own driving style. It also provides extensive dynamics logging and enables trip and route recording via a smartphone video camera and GPS position data.
BMW will show the 2019 X5 and X7, alongside the company’s new Z4 roadster and 8-Series flagship coupe, at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show in November. We’re looking forward to getting some in-person time with the company’s new SUVs, which promise to be hot sellers in some of the more affluent neighborhoods around here.