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This is the new BMW X7 and it’s huge

£72k gets you seven seats, six cylinders and the biggest grille in the business

Welcome to a MASSIVE radiator grille, and the SUV to which it’s attached. Ostensibly for the American market, we suspect, the BMW X7 is designed to compete with the full-fat Range Rover and Mercedes GLS. But at 5,151mm long, 2,000mm wide (how much of that is the grille?!) and 1,805mm tall, the seven-seater isn’t just BMW’s biggest-ever SUV, it could well be Britain’s, too. It’s longer, wider and taller than a Range Rover, which is just about the biggest car you can get away with in the UK. Gulp.

At least it’ll have lots of space inside, though. We’re promised you can fit adults in each of the seven seats (a six-seat configuration can be specified, with three rows of two seats each), all of which are folded/unfolded electronically. With all the seats up you get 326-litres of boot space, or a van-like 2,120-litres with the two rear-most rows folded flat. A three-part glass roof illuminates proceedings, while standard air-suspension keeps things level, no matter how much weight you stick back there.

Motive force comes courtesy of three inline-six-cylinder engines – two diesels and one petrol. No doubt a V8 will follow, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see a plug-in hybrid of some description either. All use the eight-speed automatic and get all-wheel drive.

The base xDrive 30d’s 265bhp means 0-62mph takes 7 seconds. The top speed is 141mph, and BMW claim 43.5mpg and 171g/km. The M50d gets a nice, round 400bhp for 0-62mph in 5.4 seconds, 155mph, 40.4mpg and 185g/km. The sole petrol option, meanwhile, sits somewhere in the middle, with 340bhp and 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds. Nothing like as economical though – you’re looking at 32.5mpg and 198g/km.

It has drive modes – many of them – and we’re promised a measure of off-road ability.

All kinds of active safety systems and driver assistance technologies are available, and given the size/weight of this thing probably very necessary. Sales begin in April, with prices starting from £72,155.

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