KING OF BEASTS

Hefty enough to ri­val a trac­tor yet lu­di­crously nifty, the new BMW X7 is an almighty force to be reck­oned with, finds Neil Lyn­don

Scottish Field - - CONTENTS -

Neil Lyn­don finds the mighty BMW X7 a force to be reck­oned with

‘As a mat­ter of fact, I do own the road.’ That procla­ma­tion should be on a sticker in the rear win­dow of BMW’s new X7. Such en­ti­tle­ment doesn’t just be­long to those who can af­ford to fork out at least £60,000 to buy the cheap­est car in the X7 range (and well over £100,000 for the top spec ver­sions). It also ex­udes from ev­ery inch of the X7 it­self. It’s im­pos­si­ble to drive this colos­sal car on Scot­tish coun­try roads – such as those around Cri­eff, where it was re­cently launched – with­out feel­ing that the rest of the world is de­cid­edly be­neath your no­tice.

This first ever SUV ver­sion of BMW’s 7 Se­ries is the big­gest car the com­pany has ever made. More than 18 feet long and six and a half feet wide, it stands taller than the tips of a Cold­stream guard’s bearskin. The M50d ver­sion weighs over two and a half tons. Made in Amer­ica and in­tended pri­mar­ily for Texan prairies and Cal­i­for­nian free­ways, it seemed to oc­cupy as much space as a com­bine har­vester on the back roads be­tween Cri­eff and Mad­derty. Lesser cars ap­proach­ing from the op­po­site direc­tion were re­quired to cower into the verges and doff their caps.

The X7 also ra­di­ates an unashamed plea­sure in go­ing over the top in all di­rec­tions, from its L-shaped rear tail lights to its slim, fo­cussed LED laser head­lights which can shine a beam 600m. If the Kar­dashi­ans ever get their hands on the dig­i­tal key (it­self the size of a mo­bile phone) to this shim­mer­ing block of satin chromes with its sheer glasshouse and its volup­tuous swage lines of forged metal, they will ditch their Range Rovers and Mercedes-Ben­zes in an in­stant.

All other ver­sions of the X Se­ries – BMW’s des­ig­na­tion for the SUV ver­sions of their mod­els – have been more or less re­strained in their ap­peal to self-in­dul­gence. The X7 also makes a nod in the direc­tion of util­i­tar­i­an­ism by be­ing ad­ver­tised as ‘the 7 Se­ries that can take you any­where’ (and, in­deed, its two-axle air sus­pen­sion sys­tem gives it off-road ca­pa­bil­i­ties that are not far short of a Range Rover’s). But the pri­mary pur­poses of this mas­sive block of he­do­nism is to in­dulge its owner in all the lux­u­ries the world af­fords.

To that end, it is loaded with as much sump­tu­ous­ness and techno wiz­ardry as Air Force One. The pas­sen­ger doors, for in­stance, are wide enough to ac­com­mo­date seven air­craft-style seats. Th­ese seats fold elec­tri­cally and can be ar­ranged in mul­ti­ple con­fig­u­ra­tions, and are cer­tainly ca­pa­cious enough for the larger pos­te­rior. Awash with the high­est qual­ity leather up­hol­ster­ies and abound­ing with ex­pen­sive fin­ishes and brushed metal high­lights, the X7’s in­te­rior ri­vals Bent­ley’s in prince­li­ness, with five-zone air con­di­tion­ing and a 20-speaker Bow­ers & Wilkins au­dio sys­tem to match the Usher Hall.

Its dash is dom­i­nated by twin 12.3-inch dig­i­tal dis­plays, con­trolled through a sim­pli­fied ver­sion of BMW’s mad­den­ing iDrive and in­cludes ‘Hey BMW’, a cloud-based voice ser­vice (sim­i­lar to Alexa) which is like car­ry­ing your own per­sonal Jeeves in the car; in­vis­i­ble, dis­creet and all-know­ing. The re­vers­ing as­sis­tant de­vice re­mem­bers the last 50 me­tres which the car has cov­ered go­ing for­ward.

Per­for­mance is lu­di­crous, al­most laugh­able. That M50d ver­sion which weighs more than a trac­tor will ac­cel­er­ate from 0-60mph in lit­tle over five sec­onds. The tur­bocharged straight-six cylin­der petrol en­gine four litre ver­sion, which is pre­dicted to be the best-seller, will top 60mph from rest in just over six sec­onds.

The term ‘best-seller’ has limited applicatio­n to this car which will be a rarer sight than a Rolls Royce. BMW ex­pect to sell no more than 1,000 X7s a year through­out the UK, so fewer than 100 may come to Scot­land. You are thus un­likely to en­counter one on the Mad­derty road, but if it does come along, you’d bet­ter be pre­pared to get out of the way.

The X7 ra­di­ates an unashamed plea­sure in go­ing over the top in all di­rec­tions

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