BMW X7 Driving, Engines & Performance | Top Gear
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Sunday 3rd December


What is it like to drive?

To give it its due, the X7 perfectly illustrates why plush SUVs have become the new luxury saloons. It completely swallows distance. Quietness, a plush ride, huge living space and a haughty vantage point define the experience.


In terms of facelifted iterations, we’ve only been behind the wheel of the M60i. Now, it may come with a sporting bodykit and carbon fibre mirror caps, but this is far from a full-fat M car.

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Don’t get us wrong, the twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 is fantastic and manages to drag the 2,675kg X7 from a standstill to 62mph in a frankly ludicrous 4.7 seconds. It has some character too – whack it in the sportiest of modes and there’s plenty of good noise. Even a few pops and bangs on the overrun, which is a little odd in a giant three-row SUV. 

But it’ll also settle into a smooth rhythm combined with the brilliant eight-speed auto gearbox, and the M60i will ride on a wave of 553lb ft of torque. Even with the adaptive air suspension (with its five different ride-height settings) and limited-slip diff you’re unlikely to be attacking too many apexes. You’re better off avoiding Sport+ mode and focussing on Comfort, with its uber-light steering and floaty ride – even on the standard 22-inch wheels. Take a more leisurely approach and the X7 steers with measured authority, rolling surprisingly little and holding onto an impressive dignity as it sweeps through bends.


Good question. The entry-level 40d might be a good bet, with its 335bhp and hefty 531lb ft of torque. That claims 0-62mph in just 5.9 seconds and a more than ample top speed of 152mph. It’s also over 100kg lighter than the V8-engined X7.

The 40i gets 375bhp and 398lb ft of torque, with a 0-62mph time of 5.8 seconds and an electronically-limited top whack of 155mph. It’s unlikely you’d want to travel any faster than that in something of this size. Worth noting that even on the six-cylinder engines you can spec an ‘M Sport Package Pro’ that adds the M60i’s impressive M Sport brakes and a noisier exhaust. 

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You hardly need us to tell you the X7 is annoyingly bulky in city centres. Or car parks. Or chocolate box Brit villages. But it does its best to help you with an umpire's-chair seating position, slabby sides and cameras pointing in every direction. The optional four-wheel steering (standard on the M60i) shrinks the turning circle too.

BMW's 'reversing assistant' also helps. It keeps a rolling memory of your exact steering movements for 50 metres. Drive forward into a difficult space or up a narrow lane, and it'll steer you slowly back (even the next day) along exactly the same track.

For reference though, an X7 is just over 5.0 metres long, exactly 2.0 metres wide and over 1.8 metres tall.

Highlights from the range

the fastest

BMW X7 Xdrive M60I 5DR Step Auto [ULTIMATE PACK]
  • 0-624.7s
  • CO2
  • BHP530
  • MPG
  • Price£115,450

the cheapest

BMW X7 xDrive40i MHT 5dr Step Auto [6 Seat]
  • 0-626.3s
  • CO2
  • BHP333
  • MPG32.5
  • Price£77,560
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