There is no mistaking the BMW X7 xDrive40i Pure Excellence on the road. This mammoth of a car has a distinct presence, and while standing next to it you might be dwarfed by its intimidating size, driving this car is a whole other ball game. Options had the opportunity to test drive the locally assembled X7 over a weekend, and this luxury vehicle was certainly full of surprises.
Large does not quite cover the imposing stature of the X7. Featuring the brand’s iconic kidney grille, with BMW Laserlight headlights — which are said to illuminate up to 600m ahead — this vehicle also has noteworthy 21in light alloy wheels in Y-spoke style 753 Bicolour with run-flat tyres. The BMW X7 has a dynamic flow created by the metallic frame around the wide windows and sleek roof rack, to the chrome bar that runs between the rear lights and two rectangular tailpipes on each side. The seven-seater also benefits from a fully electric tailgate in the rear, and with the press of a button the back two seats can be folded down to increase the boot space to 2,120 litres.
The colour combination of our test car was dreamy Phytonic Blue. It had Manhattan Metallic exteriors, matched with a classic all-black design-perforated Leather Vernasca interior. The other two options are the stealthy-looking Black Sapphire and Sophisto Grey paired with cognac Leather Vernasca upholstery featuring black design perforations, and the pristine Mineral White model fashioned with coffee coloured Leather Vernasca and black design perforations.
There is no denying that the BMW X7 is nice to look at, but what was it like to drive? Our first journey was to an event at Avani Sepang, cruising on the open highway. Driving such an imposing beast meant that cars on the fast lane quickly made way upon seeing this blue beauty in their rear view mirror. It felt quite powerful.
The BMW X7 has a maximum power of 250kW/340hp, enabled by the six-cylinder in-line petrol engine, which has a peak torque of 450Nm. With a century sprint completed in 6.1 seconds, this car has a combined fuel consumption of 9.5l/100km and a combined carbon emission of 218g/km. As a sport activity vehicle (SAV) — a term coined by BMW to embody an on-the-go luxury lifestyle — it benefits from power through all four wheels from an eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission, making it an all-wheel drive that can push the limits on traction, agility and handling stability. The xDrive intelligent system also links up to the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) feature for this.
From the sport leather steering wheel to the electrically adjustable comfort seats, everything inside the X7 is about maximising a pleasant driving experience. Making things fully digital, the BMW Live Cockpit Professional with BMW Operating System 7.0, features a 12.3in instrument cluster and a 12.3in central control display with touchscreen functionality. On the road to our destination, the feature that turned out to be most fun to use was the BMW Gesture Control, which saves you from looking for the right buttons while driving. You can circle your finger clockwise or anticlockwise to turn the volume up or down, point at the touch-screen to accept a call and even skip songs by moving your extended thumb to the left. There are numerous additional hand gestures for other controls as well.
Everything can be controlled from the central display, including the five-zone air conditioning, which allows you to save energy by switching off other zones should you be alone in the car. Passengers in the second row can also enjoy the Rear Entertainment Professional system which can play movies and even suggest locations in the navigation system that the driver can accept or reject from the central control display. The electric roller blinds for the side windows protect passengers from glare, while the Panorama Roof Sky Lounge makes the car feel extra spacious.
Over the weekend, it would have been remiss not to take this SAV somewhere fun so we embarked on a day trip to Kuala Kubu Baru, with the aim of hiking up to the Chiling Waterfalls. While my companion played DJ with her bluetooth connected — the Harman Kardon Surround Sound System with 16 loudspeakers did not disappoint — the other phone was able to charge up on the wireless charging pad in the centre console. We enjoyed the verdant greenery of Kuala Kubu Baru as well as the rolling hills and panoramic view of the Sungai Selangor Dam.
Navigation is an absolute breeze as the car not only has voice directions but arrows and instructions visible on the BMW Head-Up Display, along with the speed limit and how fast you are going. An indicator turns red should you go over the limit. On our drive, we were hit with a little glare from the scorching sun so naturally sunglasses came out, but this made the head-up display hard to read. It was not a huge concern as there is a map shown on the instrument cluster in between the speedometer and rev counter, as well as the regular navigation on the central control display — getting lost was virtually impossible.
Unfortunately, the hiking trail to Chiling Waterfalls was closed because of heavy rains — we learnt the recreational spot had been shuttered for quite some time recently — so we extended our drive by heading up Fraser’s Hill. While quite a bulky car, the X7 feels incredibly lightweight to drive. In comfort mode, it glides across the tarmac with ease and despite the sharp lefts and rights of the narrow road, it was effortless to handle.
Parking this large vehicle is also a painless endeavour with the help of the Reversing Assistant that gives you a 360° view of the car and even guides you with red, yellow and green flashing on the display as you manoeuvre into and out of tight spaces. Other safety features include lane departure, lane change and collision warnings as well as brake intervention.
Determined to enjoy a swim, we used the navigation system to search for another option. While doing so, we marvelled at the “Crafted Clarity” handmade diamond-cut trim elements used on the gear shift, start/stop button and rotary controller. An unexpected discovery was that the rotary controller has a touchpad that enables the user to write out letters with a finger instead of turning the dial to choose letters. It took some time to get the hang of it, so we reverted to using the touch screen instead.
We found ourselves in Kampung Pertak back in Kuala Kubu Baru and enjoyed a relaxing swim in Sungai Pertak, which is a great place for a dip as it has parking right next to it. There are also hiking trails in the area, but we were content to enjoy the strong currents of the mini-waterfall. Another added bonus of the size of this SAV is that it was large enough to change behind after our swim.
There is a lot to like about the BMW X7 xDrive40i Pure Excellence. From its imposing yet bold exterior and comfort forward interior to all the added features and functions that make it an effortless vehicle to drive, this is one luxury car that lives up to BMW’s tagline, “Sheer driving pleasure”.
The retail price of the BMW X7 xDrive40i Pure Excellence is RM657,235.91. Extended warranty and service package billed separately.
This article first appeared on May 9, 2022 in The Edge Malaysia.