BMW shocked us when it launched the X7, revealing a full-size SUV with a truly massive grilled that instantly stirred controversy. Now, for the model's first refresh, the company has done it again. The X7 once again gets bold, new styling for the front end, along with a suite of other upgrades.
The new front end is BMW's first use of split headlights, a trend that's already been used by cars like the Jeep Cherokee and Hyundai Palisade. The traditional twin BMW headlights are far narrower than in conventional applications, operating only as daytime running lights. The real lights are tucked below, alongside the giant kidney grille that can now be illuminated.
Behind that grille sits one of three optional engines. The standard xDrive40i gets a significantly reworked 3.0-liter inline-six, with upgrades to the variable valve control, injection, gas exchange, and ignition systems that give it a 40 hp boost over its predecessor. Peak torque is up 52 lb-ft, so total output is 375 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. BMW says it'll hit 60 in 5.6 seconds.
But that's only the third-quickest version. Gone is the M50i trim, replaced by the M60i. That SUV gets a twin-scroll-turbo 4.4-liter V-8, good for 523 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. Those numbers may sound familiar, since that's the exact same output as the outgoing M50i, but BMW is likely renaming the model to better align it with the other V-8 models in the lineup. Regardless, BMW has refined the oil system and turbocharger to supposedly provide greater efficiency. The company claims that it'll hit 60 in 4.5 seconds, but the last X7 easily beat its claimed time in Car and Driver testing.
Finally, BMW will bring back the Alpina XB7 as its top-of-the-range mega grand tourer. BMW says the updated model produces 9 more hp, for a total of 630 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. The company claims it'll hit 60 in 4 seconds, but it'll probably be even quicker.
It and other X7 models will benefit from launch control and a new "Sprint" function. By holding down the downshift paddle for more than one second, drivers can instantly drop the X7 into the lowest available gear and briefly set all of its adjustable systems to their most aggressive settings. For a quick onramp blast, that means you can stiffen the suspension, improve throttle response, adjust the active anti-roll-system, and more with a single paddle pull, similar to Hyundai's "N Grin Shift" button.
All X7 M60is also now come with BMW's active roll stabilization standard. The technology allows the car to vary its roll stiffness, which we've described as the "secret ingredient" for making huge high-performance SUVs work. Four-wheel steering is also standard on that model, meaning it should be quite agile for its size.
Aside from performance updates, the X7 also benefits from BMW's newest iDrive 8 infotainment. That new UI lives in a 14.9-inch curved display, like the one in the new i4. Integrated into the same sweeping array of glass is the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. The whole system is now 5g enabled, too, which powers BMW's ever-expanding list of connected services. BMW's latest generation of driver-assistance tech is also available, including the new "maneuver assistant" that allows the car to store a memory of how you parked and repeat the process in reverse.
The focus on quickly bringing the latest technology to the X7 also shows how important the vehicle has become. While the 7 Series has ostensibly been the BMW flagship since its inception, the strong sales and glowing reviews of the X7 have helped turn it into the brand's de-facto flagship. It's priced like one, too, with 40i SUVs starting at $78,845 and M60is going for $104,095 base. If that's not spendy enough, the Alpina XB7 pricing will be announced later and an even more visually striking XM will be arriving soon to sit above the X7.
Expect the 2023 X7 to arrive in dealers in the third quarter of this year, with the XB7 following in early 2023.
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