BMW’s ‘new di­men­sion in lux­ury’ X7

Business Day - Motor News - - FRONT PAGE -

Af­ter months of teaser im­ages BMW has fi­nally un­veiled the pro­duc­tion-ready X7 SAV.

De­scrib­ing it as a new di­men­sion in lux­ury, at 5,151m from nose to tail, 2,000mm wide and 1,805mm tall, it’s 159mm longer and 60mm higher than the X5. It’s the Air­bus A380 of BMW X mod­els thus far. With 3,105mm of wheel­base re­served for carv­ing out an in­te­rior, the pro­duc­tion X7 re­mains true to the con­cept car’s tan­ta­lis­ing glimpses of flag­ship liv­ing hall­marks fused in with room for seven atop a high-rid­ing plat­form wrapped around BMW’s bold­est ex­pres­sion of its cur­rent cor­po­rate look.

Built at the Spar­tan­burg plant in the US, the ve­hi­cle sport­ing BMW’s largest kid­ney grille yet is set to be rolled out from March 2019. The seven-seat con­fig­u­ra­tion is a stan­dard fea­ture across the range but the mid­dle row can be op­tioned with two in­di­vid­ual com­fort seats, which of­fer sim­i­lar ad­justa­bil­ity as the front pair.

A third row of seats — an his­toric Achilles’ heel of seven-seat cars — is said to pro­vide func­tional space for full-sized hu­mans, and the seats come com­plete with high-end Ver­nasca leather trim. Load­ing ca­pac­ity in the X7 is 326l with the seats up and 2,120l folded.

The busi­ness cen­tre up front fea­tures BMW’s new Live Cock­pit of a fully-dig­i­tal in­stru­ment clus­ter pre­sented on slanted sur­face shapes and the pair of in­fo­tain­ment dis­plays be­ing equally di­ag­o­nal 12.3-inch screens. The lat­est BMW op­er­at­ing sys­tem also en­ables mul­ti­modal en­gage­ment with the ve­hi­cle’s fea­tures via steer­ing wheel but­tons, iDrive con­troller, touch­screen, ges­ture con­trol or even voice.

The en­gine line-up for SA will con­sist of a duo of diesel de­riv­a­tives: the M50d and 30d.

Ac­cord­ing to BMW SA’s prod­uct com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager, Ed­ward Mak­wana, con­sid­er­a­tion for petrol en­gines (50i, 40i and 30i) will be de­ter­mined af­ter launch.

Air springs com­bined with elec­tron­i­cally con­trolled dampers at all four cor­ners of the X7 of­fer an adap­tive sus­pen­sion. A raft of tech­nolo­gies cre­ate a drive tex­ture max­imised for com­fort, off-road driv­ing and hall­mark BMW agility.

In­te­gral Ac­tive Steer­ing and Ex­ec­u­tive Drive Pro with ac­tive roll sta­bil­i­sa­tion are op­tional for the pur­suit of supreme waft­ing while an M Sport dif­fer­en­tial is stan­dard fit­ment on the BMW X7 M50d due to its sport­ing cre­den­tials, sig­nalled by that M in front of its model des­ig­na­tion.

In M50d form the X7 is pow­ered by a 3.0l six-cylin­der in­line diesel with a quar­tet of tur­bocharg­ers: two for the high­pres­sure stage and the other pair used for tractabil­ity dur­ing low pres­sure en­gine loads. It out­puts 294kW at 4,400rpm and 760Nm of torque. Head­line per­for­mance num­bers are claimed to be 5.4 sec­onds from stand­still to 100km/h and a gov­erned top speed of 250km/h. Fuel ef­fi­ciency for the ur­ban and ex­trau­r­ban cy­cle is said to be 7.4l7.0l/100km with CO2 emis­sions of 193-185g/km.

In 30d guise the 3.0l six­cylin­der diesel en­gine gets a sin­gle vari­able ge­om­e­try tur­bocharger for out­puts of 195kW at 4,000rpm and 620Nm of torque. Per­for­mance is rated at 7.0 sec­onds for the 0-100km/h sprint and a 227km/h max­i­mum. The 30d fuel cy­cle is claimed at 6.8l-6.5l/100km/h with CO2 emis­sions of 178-171 g/km. An eight-speed Step­tronic trans­mis­sion is stan­dard fit­ment across all de­riv­a­tives.

The largest BMW X also sub­scribes to the firm’s quest for prow­ess over wide-rang­ing ter­rain. There is the op­tion of an Off-Road pack­age with xSand, xGravel, xRocks and xSnow ra­tios to prompt var­i­ous en­gine, trans­mis­sion map­ping and height ad­justa­bil­ity.

The lat­est ver­sion of xDrive is said to pos­sess greater pre­ci­sion in its torque split­ting du­ties be­tween the wheels in mit­i­ga­tion to se­lected drive modes or change in sur­face qual­ity.

The X7 is ex­pected to launch in SA dur­ing the first half of 2019, with base prices start­ing at R1,554,500 for the X7 30d and R1,853,200 for the X7 M50d.

Styling of BMW’s largest SUV cer­tainly isn’t sub­tle, and is sure to po­larise opin­ion. Left: A lav­ish in­te­rior and a truly us­able third row for adults.

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