While American manufacturers like Cadillac and Lincoln have been mastering the art of creating a full-sized SUV with their Escalade and Navigator for more than two decades now, BMW just entered this league with the X7 back in 2019. And for a 2 years old SUV, this newborn has grown a lot.
Last year, the BMW X7 was the second best-selling full-size luxury SUV in the United States. With 23,230 units sold, it was just around 1,300 units behind the Cadillac Escalade’s sales figure, and it was the same story the year before (Cadillac came in first, BMW in second).
The X7 is BMW’s newest, biggest, and most luxurious SUV ever made. It is basically a jacked-up BMW 7 Series aiming to melt the heart of luxury SUV enthusiasts. It was also the answer to the equally luxurious Mercedes-Benz GLS Class back then.
This year, the major changes are the xDrive50i trim’s discontinuation in favor of the much more appealing ALPINA XB7. BMW also killed the optional Off-Road Package, which didn’t appeal to customers. At last, we applaud BMW for finally adding Android Auto as a new standard feature on the X7.
If there is one word to describe the 2021 X7, it is ‘BIG.’ In fact, at 203.3 inches long, it is longer than a Land Rover Defender 110. And at 78.7 inches wide and 70.7 inches high, the X7 really stands out from the crowd.
Besides, the X7 features the largest kidney grilles fitted to any BMW in history. However, it does take a while to appreciate the new grille. Now, it’s important to mention that it’s also an active grille that opens to cool the engine and closes for better aerodynamic and fuel efficiency.
Thankfully, the side profile looks very proportional with its boxy and tall design, and the long-wheelbase does resonate a lot with its sedan sibling, the BMW 7 series. The roof also creates an unsloping line from the A-pillar to the back, making sure there is no compromise in interior space. Lastly, the rear end looks as posh and muscular as the front. It also features the same split tailgate as its smaller brother, the BMW X5, enhancing practicality.
Overall, the 2021 X7 adopts a modern styling that complements its large size, although its tightest rival, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS Class, might prettier.
Inside, the X7 is very luxurious and comfortable. Being a BMW, the interior is very well thought out as still very much driver-oriented. Moreover, everything is nicely laid out and pleasant to the touch. BMW also did not hesitate to use premium soft-touch materials and sturdy cabin components. Also, the second row is supremely comfortable and spacious.
The seats are made from top-quality materials, even from the base trim. Passengers also get a massive head and knee room on the first two rows. That’s especially true for the optional mid-row captain seats, which slide and recline for maximum comfort.
Furthermore, there is a 3-piece sunroof as well, one for each row, so that the cabin feels airier. It is a perfect BMW to be chauffeured in.
Naturally, the 2021 X7 seats seven, although a 6-seater configuration is available at an extra $850 with captain chairs in the second row. It is undeniably BMW’s most spacious 7-seater SUV. The passenger volume is class-leading as well, at 122.2 cubic feet.
Besides, with all seats in place, it has a decent cargo space at 12 cubic feet. Need more space? Folding down the third-row seats gets you to a much larger 48 cubic feet. You can also fold the second row to create a massive van-like 90 cubic feet.
However, the electrically-operated second-and third-row seats are slow, so the folding process might bore you. It is the same story when trying to access the third row.
This year, the US market gets the X7’s sweetest trims. BMW provides a complete trim selection for various types of X7 buyers, ranging from those who seek comfort and luxury up to those who seek brutal speed and acceleration. The available trims are xDrive40i, M50i, and ALPINA XB7.
2021 BMW X7 xDrive40i
Starting price: $74,900
The xDrive40i is the entry-level trim of the 2021 X7 since 2019. It is easily the best option if you are seeking comfort and elegance. It is also the only trim for those not so keen on the BMW M Sport division. In short, this trim focuses solely on posh and luxury.
Underneath the xDrive40i’s hood is the smallest engine in the range, but it is very smooth and certainly not underpowered. The 3.0-liter 6-cylinder turbo produces 335 hp and 331 lb-ft of torque. The engine pairs to an 8-speed Sport Automatic transmission with Sport and Manual shift modes. Meanwhile, the power goes to all four wheels via the xDrive AWD system.
With launch control, the X7 xDrive40i accelerates from 0-60mph in 5.8 seconds. However, like in most modern BMWs, there is an electronic limiter at 130 mph. Still, the performance is not too shabby, considering that it accelerates faster than the Mazda MX-5 Miata, despite weighing more than twice at a hefty 5,397 lbs.
Nonetheless, we can see that the xDrive40i’s nature is not that sporty but comfortable, as BMW fitted a 2-axle self-leveling air suspension as standard for smoothing out bumpy roads.
The economy is decent as well, performing at 19 MPG/city and 24 MPG/highway. However, although significantly larger than the X5, the X7 has the same 21.9-gallon fuel capacity. Still, it can even chew 460 miles without stopping for fuel, which is plenty enough.
From the outside, the xDrive 40i is looking very posh with the standard Luxury Package. It includes satin-finished exterior trims and elegant-looking single-tone 21-inch wheels. Non-metallic and some metallic exterior color options are available for free as well.
The base trim also has acoustic glass, featuring two or more glass sheets stuck together for better sound insulation. The side mirrors are power-folding and heated, and the right side mirror automatically tilts down when reversing for curb visibility.
The xDrive40i also comes with full LED headlights with automatic high beams that provide excellent brightness at night without blinding upcoming drivers. LED foglights and adaptive brake lights are also standard.
Even in the base trim, you are spoiled with many premium interior features. As standard, you get the SensaTec simulated leather upholstery in black and Fineline stripe brown high-gloss Wood trim. However, Vernasca and Merino genuine leathering pallets are also available at an extra $1,450 and $2,450, respectively.
Besides, everything you often touch is heated, like the seats, armrest, and steering wheel. The climate control has four zones and active-charcoal micro-filter ventilation, filtering unwanted particles and dirt from blowing into the cabin. There is also an automatic-dimming interior rear-view mirror and multi-color ambient lighting.
Meanwhile, the new 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and similar-sized iDrive infotainment display are standard. The X7 xDrive40i also comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, Qi wireless charging, and a 10-speaker sound system.
2021 BMW X7 M50i
Starting price: $99,800
The X7 M50i is technically the mid-tier trim, coming with much more power and M Sport bits and pieces.
In terms of power, it is a huge step up from the 3.0-liter model. The M50i packs a more powerful 4.4-liter V8 twin-turbo producing 523 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque under the bonnet. It adopts the same 8-speed automatic gearbox and xDrive AWD system.
As a result, the acceleration is astonishing. 0-60 mph takes just 4.5 seconds, although there is still an electronic limiter at 130 mph. Thankfully, BMW has fitted the M50i with M Sport brakes for extra stopping power. You will need it, especially with the SUV weighing 264 lbs. more at 5,661 lbs. On top of that, M Sport differential and adaptive sport suspension are also present to optimize traction and stability when cornering at high speeds.
Naturally, a bigger engine with more cylinders is less economical. At 15 MPG/city and 21 MPG/highway, it is pretty thirsty. The same-sized 21.9-gallon fuel tank does not help either, providing a range of only up to 372 miles.
In addition to the xDrive40i features, the M50i has a sportier Shadowline exterior trim. 22-inch M wheels are standard, as well as an aerodynamic kit. Lastly, it has a surround-view camera and soft-close automatic door operation as well.
The interior is a step up from the base trim. It now features Vernasca leather upholstery (Merino leather is available for an extra $1,000) with Alcantara® headliner and Fineline Black Wood interior trim as standard. Moreover, it has a full-color head-up display, and the audio system is now upgraded to a nicer 16-speaker Harman Kardon®.
BMW also included a drive recorder and gesture control for the infotainment screen. The latter reads your hand gesture to change tracks, play/pause, and control volume.
2021 ALPINA XB7
Starting price: $141,300
Being a BMW tuning specialist since 1983, ALPINA knew what it was doing with the X7. The ALPINA XB7 is the first ALPINA tuned SUV that reached U.S. soil and is simply one of the most powerful SUVs around. Although it is hilariously quick, we are unsure how it justifies costing almost double the entry-level model.
Under the hood of the 5,860 lbs, XB7 is the same 4.4-liter V8 twin-turbo from the M50i. However, as you probably guessed, Alpina has tuned it to produce 612 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. That is more than what the Nissan GT-R R35 has to offer.
Mated to this engine is a reinforced version of the 8-speed automatic gearbox that includes ALPINA SWITCH-TRONIC software with quick-shift buttons, sending power to all four wheels. As a result, 0-60 takes a speedy 4.0 seconds, while the top speed is 180 mph.
To give you an idea of how rare a 180 mph SUV is, there are only four German SUVs faster than the Alpine XB7, all super-SUVs sharing similar components: the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid, Audi RS Q8, Lamborghini Urus, and Bentley Bentayga Speed.
If you still bother to care, efficiency-wise, it should perform similarly to the M50i, with the same range. However, fuel efficiency will definitely suffer if you get carried away with stepping on the pedal.
On top of the M50i features, the XB7 now has 21-inch ALPINA wheels and ALPINA quad exhaust system. It also has a unique ALPINA front apron, rear diffuser, and rear spoiler.
It’s the most luxurious X7 trim inside with features carried from the M50i; it now has custom ALPINA trims with Merino leather upholstery and leathered dashboard, instrument panel, and steering wheel as standard.
Meanwhile, the front seats have a massage function, and there are rear manual side window shades. Finally, it also features the diamond-cut glass trim for the transmission selector lever.
Safety and Driver Assistant
Like every other standard BMW SUV model, the 2021 X7 has 8 airbags, stability control, and hill descent control. Active Driving Assistant is also included, featuring frontal collision warning, low-speed auto emergency braking, active blind-spot detection, lane departure warning, and speed limit info. There is also an optional Driving Assistant Professional Package featuring adaptive cruise control and traffic jam assistant at an extra $1,700.
M Sport Package
Available exclusively for the xDrive40i trim, the M Sport Package adds some M cosmetics to the basic look, such as Shadowline exterior trim, 21-inch M wheels, an M steering wheel, and the Vernasca leather upholstery.
Available exclusively for the xDrive40i trim, the Premium Package features a head-up display, infotainment gesture control, soft-close automatic doors, rear electric side window shades, and 16-speaker Harman Kardon® surround sound system.
xDrive40i – $3,850
M50i – $1,300
The executive package features the Premium Package with some additionals such as a Panoramic Sky Lounge LED roof that adds tiny LED on the panoramic moonroof with adjustable color lighting, heated and cooled cupholders, and a diamond-cut glass trim for the transmission selector lever.
Cold Weather Package
This package features 5-zone automatic climate control and front and rear heated seats.
Dynamic Handling Package
xDrive40i – $3,850
M50i – $3,450
The X7’s high center of gravity and soft suspension make it lean while cornering. However, you can rectify that with the Dynamic Handling Package. It features Integral Active Steering that makes the rear wheel steers in the opposite direction to the front at low speed for better agility or in the same direction at high speed for better stability. It also features Active Comfort Drive with Road Preview for better handling precision. We highly recommend getting this package.
With the $550 trailer hitch option, the xDrive40i and M50i trim can tow up to 7,500 pounds, the same as the GLS. Strangely, however, the most powerful ALPINA XB7 model can only tow up to 5,950 lbs.
The warranty that BMW will include on top of your 2021 X7 purchase includes:
- Limited warranty of up to 4 years/50,000 miles
- Roadside Assistance Program of up to 4 years with unlimited mileage
- Rust perforation limited warranty of up to 12 years with unlimited mileage
- Complimentary scheduled maintenance of up to 3 years/36,000 miles
The 2021 BMW X7 is a full-size SUV with a sporty and fun-to-drive character and a very comfortable one. It is the brand’s ultimate luxury SUV, and you should highly consider it if you are in the market for such a vehicle.
However, if you cannot bear the large kidney grille look and prioritize a larger interior space and a more floaty ride, you owe yourself to check on the Mercedes-Benz GLS Class.
Although the V8 models are intriguing, the xDrive40i trim is sufficient for traveling in luxury style and comfort. The engine is strong enough and also the most economical. Besides, opting for the upgraded leather upholstery, Premium Package, and Dynamic Handling Package is a better way to spend that extra cash.
|Body Style(s)||Sport Utility Vehicle|
|Engine(s)||Turbo Gas/Electric I-6||Twin Turbo V8|
|Displacement (L/cu. in.)||3.0 L/183||4.4 L/268|
|Horsepower @ RPM||335 @ 5500||523 @ 5500||612 @ 5500|
|Torque @ RPM||330 @ 1500||553 @ 1800||590 @ 2000|
|Fuel Injection||Direct Injection|
|Transmission(s)||8-Speed Auto w/ OD|
|Fuel Economy – City||19 MPG||15 MPG|
|Fuel Economy – Hwy||24 MPG||21 MPG|
|Fuel Economy – Combined||21 MPG||17 MPG|
|Cargo volume (cu.ft.)||48.6|
|Curb weight (lbs)||NA|
Wheels & Tires
|Wheel size||21 X 9.5||22 X 9.5||21 X 9.5|
|Tire size||P285/45HR21||FR: P275/40YR22 RR: P315/35YR22||P285/45YR21|