Fresh Face, Mild-Hybrid Power Upgrade

Bernice


The large luxury SUV segment is an anomaly, clocking consistent, if not chart-topping, sales numbers year after year regardless of the attendant economic and social climate. Buyers love them for their cosseting interiors and showy exteriors; manufacturers love them for their high-profit margins. It’s a symbiotic relationship that requires constant reinvention.

That goes for the BMW X7, the maker’s flagship SUV that competes with the Lexus LX, Mercedes-Benz  GLS, Cadillac Escalade and newly christened Jeep Grand Wagoneer. Comprehensively updated, the 2023 BMW X7 features the brand’s new design language inside and out, a new powertrain with a mild-hybrid assist, and, for the first time on a BMW, a 23-inch wheel option.

2023 BMW X7 Basics

The first step in differentiating the new X7 starts at the face, where its headlights are split horizontally to stand apart from the riffraff X5. The slim upper units house the LED running lamps, while the main headlamps reside in the larger housing below. It’s the first production use of the new design language, and it does seem to downplay the impact of the controversial oversized twin-kidney grille effectively.

Two variants are available at launch, the turbo six-cylinder X7 40i and the twin-turbo V8-powered X7 60i. Europe gets a turbodiesel version of the X7, and while there is no EV version in the cards, there is a hybrid X7 slated to appear sometime after the primary X7 models launch in Q3, 2022; a super high-performance Alpina XB7 variant is expected to arrive in late 2022.

The North Carolina-built BMW X7 will be available in six- and seven-seat variations; the overall length is 203.2 inches riding on a 122-inch wheelbase, numbers nearly spot on with the previous model. Exterior width is unchanged at 78.7 inches.


New BMW X7 Powertrains

The U.S.-bound BMW X7 40i comes with a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine rated at 375 horsepower (280kW) and 383 pound-feet of torque. Incorporating a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, the engine offers increases of 40 horsepower and 51 pound-feet over the previous model. BMW says the new X7 40i can sprint to 62mph in 5.8 seconds, shaving half a second from last year’s model.

The flagship X7 M60i packs a twin-turbo V8, also with a mild-hybrid assist, that produces 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque in U.S. specification. It’s a new engine for the X7, having shed its old N63 V8 and instead worked to domesticate M’s S68 4.4-liter V8 for the heavy lifting of an X7 body. Nevertheless, it’s enough to push the 5644-pound X7 M60i to 62mph in 4.7 seconds and on to a speed-limited top speed of 155 mph. Not slow, given the X7 M60i weighs an astonishing 110kg (243lb) more than its predecessor.

2023 BMW X7 M60i
The X7 M60i relies on a 523-horsepower twin-turbo V8 for motivation. BMW
2023 BMW X7 40i
The X7 40i has a 375-horsepower turbocharged six-cylinder under the hood offering 40 more horsepower than the previous model. BMW

All-wheel drive is standard for both, as is an eight-speed automatic transmission. There’s also a new “Sprint” function that bypasses gears to automatically select the lowest possible gear and the highest-performance drive modes when the left shift paddle is held.

BMW hasn’t released the US EPA figures yet, but the X7 40i registered between 9.2 and 10.5 liters per 100km on the European WLTP cycle; the M60i 12.2 and 13.3 liters/100km on the same WTLP cycle.

Innovative Mild-Hybrid and New Transmission

While the outgoing X7’s eight-speed ZF (ZF Friedrichshafen AG, engineering company), transmission was the best in the business for shift quality, the new eight-speed unit, also from ZF, has been engineered to be compatible with both mild- and plug-in-hybrid technology. Referred to as a new “Electronic Future Transmission Project” from BMW and ZF, the new eight-speed transmission mates with an integrated starter/generator (ISG), adding immediately accessible torque to smooth operation and flesh out performance at low engine speeds. It’s also capable of recapturing 0.13g of adaptive energy regeneration for the 48-Volt system, and its adaptability to plug-in hybrid duty helps simplify the BMW supply chain.

2023 X7 Suspension Details

The new BMW X7 utilizes an air spring suspension. A Dynamic Handling Package—standard on the M60i and available on the 40i—bundles variable-ratio steering, rear-axle steering, and forward predicting road-scanning suspension management with active anti-roll bars that allow it to lean into the corners.

The standard rolling stock for the X7 40i and 40d are 20-inch wheels shod with 275/50 R20 rubber, while the V8 rides on 21s with 285/45  R tires. Aside from the aforementioned 23-inch wheel option, a first for BMW, there’s also a set of 22s on offer for both powertrains.

Of note,  X7 has grown to the point BMW now lists optional Pirelli PZero HL 275/35 R23 tires at the front and HL 315/30 R23s at the back for the 23-inch option. In case you’re wondering, yes, “HL” stands for Heavy Load, the tires rated at up to 1874 pounds per tire (the outgoing car had XL tires, rated to or 1653 pounds per tire.

Thankfully, the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) is smart enough to continuously register the vehicle’s weight, automatically factoring in the heft when it is managing braking, cornering and, for the brave, sliding. It also lowers the ride height by 20mm (0.88in) whenever the car exceeds 85mph. The body can also drop by 40mm when stationary to make it easier to load the cargo area; there’s an xOffroad package available as an option.

Interior Tech and Luxury

BMW is trying to position the X7 as the 7 Series’ more rough-and-tumble luxury partner rather than the X5’s big brother, and now it walks a fine line between daily driver and a luxury SUV limousine. Accordingly, the new X7’s entry-level equipment spec is equivalent to the outgoing car’s mid-level spec.

2023 BMW X7 40i
The curved center screen, comprised of two smaller screens, is 27.2 inches wide. BMW

The old X7’s heated comfort seat options are now standard, as is a four-zone climate control. (There’s an option for a questionably useful five-zone climate control, too.) The X7’s Comfort Package brings a “thermo” system that keeps drinks cold or hot, adds a heated steering wheel and seat heating for all three rows.

The standard 10-speaker sound system can be upgraded to a 16-speaker Harmon Kardon surround-sound system, and there’s a 1500-Watt, 20-speaker Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound system as the flagship setup.

A curved multimedia display dominates the dash (comprised of two screens tucked beneath one glass panel), with a 12.3-inch instrument cluster for the driver and a  14.9-inch multimedia system for infotainment duty. It uses the latest BMW Operating System 8, which also handles over-the-air updates. In addition, BMW provides four interfaces to operate it: using the touchscreen, the iDrive controller, voice control or gesture control.

The dash is new, too, featuring large air vents behind the steering wheel flanked by an illuminated light bar that runs the width of the dash. Adjustments are provided for brightness and a choice of 15 colors.

The 2022 BMW X7 isn’t without its practical side for all the talk of a rise in luxury. BMW has thoughtfully distributed a squadron of USB chargers around the cabin, including six USB C charging points in the middle row of seats alone, another two in the third row, plus 35-Watt charging sockets in the backrests of the front seats integrated into the tablet bracket holder. The front row goes old school with USB A sockets, but there is also an inductive charging area for phones in the center console.

In line with its limousine aspirations, the front passenger seat can be slid forward electronically from the rear seat to create a huge amount of legroom; it has been designed so that the action doesn’t damage the optional tablet screen.

The middle row of seats can be specified with either a pair of captain’s chairs or a three-seat standard setup (which slides for and aft 5.7 inches), while the third row is two-seats only.

It has 11.5 cubic-feet of luggage capacity, even with seven seats in place, but the middle and third rows fold down to deliver 75 cubic-feet of cargo capacity, and the hands-free tailgate is split into upper and lower sections. The fixed glass roof can be shaded with a cloth cover, while the Panorama option has an LED glow and can darken chromatically.

2023 BMW X7 On-Sale Date and Pricing

Look for the BMW X7 40i and X7 M60i to begin arriving in showrooms in the third quarter of 2022. In addition, a new ALPINA XB7 variant will launch in early 2023.

Base MSRP for the 2023 BMW X7 xDrive40i $78,845; the X7 M60i starts at $104,095. Both prices include a $995 destination fee.



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