2020 BMW X7 M50i
Class: Premium Large SUV (other vehicles in this class)
Miles driven: 248
Fuel used: 15.2 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 16.3 mpg
Driving mix: 55% city, 45% highway
|CG Report Card
|Room and Comfort
|Power and Performance
|Fit and Finish
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
|Big & Tall Comfort
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 15/21/17 (city/highway/combined)
Fuel type: Premium recommended
Base price: $99,600 (not including $995 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Cold Weather Package ($1200), Dynamic Handling Package ($3450), Drivers Assistance Pro Package ($1700), Executive Package ($1300), leather dashboard ($850), second-row captain’s chairs ($850), front ventilated seats ($500), Bowers & Wilkins premium audio system ($3400)
Price as tested: $113,845
The great: Invigorating acceleration; high-class interior trimmings; athletic ride and handling
The good: Generous passenger and cargo room; long list of standard comfort and convenience features
The not so good: Steep pricing, some complicated controls
Money and power.
The more jaded among us would say that’s all that matters in today’s world. To the automotively attuned, however, those are merely the building blocks for the modern high-performance luxury sport-utility.
A case in point is the BMW X7 M50i that Consumer Guide tested. The 3-row premium-large SUV with a 523-horsepower V8, a 2020 addition to the X7 line, had a starting price of $100,595 with delivery. That’s an extra $7000 and 67 ponies than the same specs for the next model down the line, the xDrive50i.
In truth, the M50i pushed the X7 into 6-figure price territory with more than just some extra muscle. Also covered by the starting price were a number of M and M Sport features—some more cosmetic than functional—to help foster the performance-vehicle vibe. They included an M Sport exhaust system, brakes, and differential, as well as an M steering wheel and 22-inch alloy wheels. The bumper and lower-body aerodynamics kit included with the M Sport option package for lesser X7s was built in to the M50i too. Collectively, they made the new model seem like less of a reach pricewise. (Maybe that’s why the xDrive50i has been discontinued for 2021.)
The 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 feels all its 523 horses at 5500 rpm and calls on 553 lb-ft of torque from 1800 to 4600 rpm. The manufacturer claims a 0-60-mph time of 4.5 seconds. The test truck certainly displayed plenty of ready-to-run strength—indeed, the throttle tuning made it feel impatient and a little wild from a standstill without some care on the part of the driver. There’s ample might for easy highway cruising and carefree passing. The 8-speed automatic transmission’s snappier, more abrupt shifts in “Sport”—one of four selectable drive modes—caused the M50i to feel a little racier. It sounded good, too.
Curiously, the higher-output M50i had the same EPA fuel-economy ratings as the 456-horsepower 2019 xDrive50i that we drove: 15 mpg in the city, 21 mpg on the highway, and 17 combined. With 55 percent of their driving in city conditions, CG editors collectively averaged 16.3 mpg from the M50i, just off the 16.4 they recorded with the less-powerful V8, albeit with a little more city driving.
There were other close similarities between the tested 2019 and 2020 X7s, considering they had much the same equipment, right down to the same color of standard Vernasca leather upholstery and optional middle-row captain’s chairs. We’ll turn your attention to that review for a more detailed discussion of room, comfort, and features. The 1-inch-larger 22-inch rims on the M50i didn’t appreciably change the ride characteristics—perhaps the feel in “Comfort” mode wasn’t quite as soft as we determined it to be in the xDrive 50i. Outfitted with the Dynamic Handling Package composed of “Active Comfort Drive” (an electromechanical stabilization system for cornering), “Road Preview” (with a camera behind the rearview mirror to read the road surface ahead and make suspension adjustments), and“ Integral Active Steering” (it turns the rear wheels opposite the front wheels at low speeds for a tighter turning radius but turns the rears in the same direction as the fronts at higher speeds for better stability), the largest vehicle in the BMW lineup isn’t difficult to pilot. The M Sport disc brakes incorporate higher-performance pads that contributed to excellent stopping power.
Based on our experience with the X7s we’ve driven since their debut as 2019 models, we think buyers will appreciate the comfortable seating in luxurious surroundings, and fine front- and middle-row passenger room. (A couple of adults will even fit in the third row better than they might in some other similarly laid-out SUVs.) Driving controls are big and bright in the “Live Cockpit Professional” display with its two 12.3-inch screens, but working through the iDrive 7.0 central control for audio, navigation, and other functions remains an acquired taste. Cargo capacity goes from minimal with all seats in use to 90.4 cubic feet with everything behind the front row retracted, and this time we took note of the big underfloor stowage space available in the absence of a spare tire. (Run-flat rubber is standard.) This area also has enough room to stow the retractable cargo cover when it’s not in use.
Still, there’s no denying that the X7 M50i is an expensive vehicle. If there’s any consolation there, it’s in the knowledge that for 2021 there will be an Alpina XB7 on the same platform to add further proof of what makes the world go around. It will deliver 612 horsepower for $142,295.
(Click below for enlarged images)