What is the size of the new BMW X7 sports car? The automaker says not exactly but here's a hint: I drove 250 kilometers through South Carolina, in the middle of a convoy of camouflaged X7, which followed a small red lead vehicle that I thought was kicking off X4 ̵
It was not until I parked at the lunch stop behind the little red job that I realized it was an X6 – the medium-sized sister of the X4. It looked so small compared to the X7 successors.
It's no secret that BMW is planning its first foray into the full-size SUV market with the X7. The company has reported about it since March, 2014. It featured a slightly disguised "Concept Car" teaser version at the Frankfurt Auto Show last September.
But even now, after our advanced "jacking" of X7s near the Spartanburg, S.C., plant where it's built, we still do not have much details. This was not your standard test drive. The X7 were very early pre-series, which were covered with a camouflage foil. No technical data was provided. Several engineers were present for questioning, but they were not allowed to share details.
Yes, they told us the engines are more powerful and economical. How exactly was that achieved? Sorry, I can not tell you yet.
We know that the X7 is based on BMW's CLAR architecture, which debuted in 2016 on the 7 Series, then migrated to the 5 Series and 3 Series from 2018 to underpin the next Generation X5, X6 and 3 Series. With a length of around 5.1 meters, it is in the Mercedes-Benz GLS class and in the Audi A7.
Although the iPerformance car show concept was introduced as a plug-in hybrid, the X7 will initially be updated with the familiar 3.0-liter straight-six and 4.4-liter V-8 Turbo engines start many other BMW models. The eight-speed automatic transmission and the xDrive AWD system will also be optimized updates to popular hardware.
A hybrid version will follow as well as a 3.0-liter turbo diesel, which is not offered in North America, however.
What took BMW so long to get into this lucrative segment? The head of the project, dr. Jörg Wunder, told me in part that the top decision-makers from BMW were uncertain whether there is a sustainable demand for such a product. The oil shock and the great recession of 2008 were the reasons for a break.
Now Wunder says: "They wondered if such a vehicle could still drive like a BMW."
The X7 is after all the "highest, heaviest" BMW of all time, and such adjectives seem to be incompatible with the "efficient dynamics" of BMW, quite to say nothing of the former "ultimate driving machine".
My first clue that BMW may have solved this dilemma is, as a miracle, points to the engineer he terms "the father" of the X7 chassis. Christoph Stefan – full title: Product Development, Driving Dynamics BMW X7 – is tall, thin and looks too young to be a father. What he looks like is a young enthusiast you can not imagine building an old man's car.
Before we put that to the test, be aware that Stefan's work is still ongoing. Miracle says the chassis is about 80 to 85 percent there.
In fact, part of the reason for this press-drive exercise is to get a feedback to help BMW finish the set-up. The hardware is solid, but there's still time to optimize the programming of the computers that control electric power steering and adaptive dampers (standard on all fairings) plus options like height-adjustable air suspension, four-wheel steering and active stabilizers
Add all these variables to the three Select Drive modes (eco pro, comfort and sport) and the question "How does that work?" Evokes the answer "How long is a piece of string?" Still the parent The impression is of a truck built for drivers. Huge tires (wheel sizes from 20 to 22 inches) ensure a good grip. The ride is pleasantly taut and, perhaps enhanced by the rough texture of South Carolina paving, there is plenty of street feeling.
BMW even sent you through the Gulches off-road vehicle park, where the X7 seamlessly mastered a hilly course of gullies and berms that would hardly challenge a Land Rover, but few owners ever own Add SUVs. Even with air suspension 40 mm above normal, the X7 does not look very uphill (19459012), but it kept its bottom clean.
What would I change? The steering feel. Even in comfort mode it's pretty solid, with something that feels like an artificial resistance to me rather than a natural weight. Of course, dedicated drivers do not want the steering to be light, but I prefer the crisp, smooth steering feel of, say, modern Jaguars and Cadillacs.
As for powertrains, the 3.0-liter petrol and diesel six Both pots carry the X7's weight of around 2,300 kilos with authority, with the charismatic 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 as the cherry on the cake. With engines that make this musical sound, be glad that BMW did not try to silence them.
The insider story is incomplete, as parts of the decor were obscured and we were not allowed to try the third row seat by size. The rider gets enough control wheel adjustability for good visibility, and the switchgear is user-friendly, with buttons and buttons for the most used audio and HVAC controls. Like some Mercedes cars, the X7 has two 12.3-inch screens – one for the main-track cluster, the other for infotainment / connectivity / telematics – but unlike its rival, BMW creates a separation between the two, with the ad in a conventional binnacle.
In the second set of different X7 models, I sampled both bench seats and bucket seats, all four-way adjustable. Even with completely recessed seats, the legroom was barely expandable, but that also made seem like usable legroom in the third row.
Bums-in-seats confirmation must wait for the officials first-drive preview event late this year or early next. The X7 will be available in the first quarter of next year. It will be big.
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