The Business Times

2022 BMW X7 gets X-treme makeover

Leow Ju-Len
Published Fri, Nov 4, 2022 · 06:00 PM

Want to know the real reason your wife resents you for leaving the toilet seat up? It’s face. We all want it bad, no matter how high in life we’ve risen, which is why decamillionaires are desperate to become centimillionaires (who want to be billionaires). Judging from the new X7, BMW has grasped this extremely well.

When I say “new” I mean “revamped”. The X7, the most gargantuan of BMW’s “X” series of Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs), burst from the womb in early 2019, so it’s reached the customary age for a facelift. Yet, it’s had anything but a customary facelift.

Carmakers tend to go easy with the surgeon’s scalpel, but the X7 has a new engine, new transmission, new dashboard and yes, a whole new face.

Designers split the headlights into seperate clusters, with a slim row of LEDs gracing the top edge of the car and the main lights tucked into their own niche, where they “live in the shadows,” according to Gerhard Thiel, the X7’s project leader. Doing this gave it the same four-eyed face that you’ll find on BMW’s flagship, the new 7 Series.

Inside the X7, there’s more to link it with the new 7 Series. Conventional instruments are out and a wide, slightly curved freestanding screen is in. There’s still a rotary iDrive controller in case you don’t feel like stretching a finger to the furthest corners of the 14.9-inch touchscreen, and it’s made of glass to look posh, as is the gear selector that replaces the conventional transmission lever.

A new dashboard design sees the air-con vents slimmed down and the addition of a light bar, and some features are now standard, such as the panoramic glass roof.

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In the xDrive40i, the sole version on sale in Singapore now, the engine is apparently 90 per cent new, right down to its guts. It’s still a 3.0-litre turbo with six cylinders all in a row, but this time it cranks out 380 horsepower, 40 more than before.

Interestingly, it now has a mild hybrid system with a 48 volt lithium-ion battery and a 12 hp motor that lives inside the new eight-speed gearbox.

All that extra muscle means the X7 now sprints to 100 km/h in just 5.8 seconds, while the new engine plays a muted but lovely six-cylinder tune in the background. The hybrid system adds some mid-range oomph, but it doesn’t make the X7 particularly frugal at the pumps.

Buyers are more likely to care that the X7 has three rows of seats. The five-zone climate system means the people all the way in the back can choose their own temperature and fan speed, and every seat still moves around electrically, so configuring your X7 from people carrier to ultra posh van doesn’t require you to move a muscle beyond jabbing at some switches.

The BMW rides on air springs, so it lumbers around serenely. You’ll still feel it if you’re on a bad road, but only in a remote sort of way, in the sense that it probably feels the same whether you’ve just run over a large ferret or a small antelope.

More to the point, the X7’s towering height still makes it feel like you’re the king of the road behind the wheel, although tight parking spots are bound to be a challenge. Whoever said kinging it was a bed of roses, anyway?

That mix of size and plushness is what made the X7 a strong seller from the get-go, so much so that project leader Thiel claims BMW didn’t need to bother much with the X7’s facelift. “Basically, the car overfulfilled our expectations,” he says.

But BMW wanted some of its latest flagship’s gravitas to rub off on the X7, so it went with the heavy revamp. “We wanted to send a clear message to customers: the X7 is the 7 Series of the X cars,” Thiel says.

What he means is that he wants the car to send a clear message to your neighbours, which is that you could have bought yourself a new 7 Series, but you wanted seven seats so you spent S$569,888 on the X7 instead.

Whatever you think of the X7’s new face, it has less to do with how the car looks, and more about how it makes others look at you.

BMW X7 xDrive40i

Engine 2,998 cc, in-line six, twin-turbo

Power 380 hp at 5200 - 6250 rpm

Torque 520 Nm at 1850 - 5000 rpm

Gearbox 8-speed automatic

0-100 km/h 5.8 seconds

Top Speed 250 km/h

Fuel Efficiency 10.8 L/100 km

Agent BMW Eurokars or Performance Motors Limited

Price S$569,888 with COE

Available Now

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