Class: Premium Large SUV
Color: Mineral White Metallic
Miles driven: 197
Observed fuel economy: 16.7 mpg
|CG Report Card|
|Room and Comfort||A-|
|Power and Performance||A|
|Fit and Finish||A|
|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.|
|Engine Specs||523-horsepower 4.4-liter|
|Engine Type||Turbocharged V8|
Driving mix: 70% city, 30% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 16/21/18 (mpg city/highway/combined)
Fuel type: Premium gas
Snow performance: N/A
Base price: $103,100 (not including $995 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Black Full Merino Leather ($2700), Driver Assistance Pro Package ($1700), M Sport Professional Package ($300), Executive Package ($2100), Climate Comfort Package ($1600), carbon-fiber trim ($300), Second-Row Captain’s Chairs ($850), Bowers & Wilkins premium audio ($3400)
Price as tested: $117,045
The great: Invigorating acceleration; high-class interior trimmings; athletic ride and handling
The good: Generous passenger and cargo room; mechanical refinement; long list of standard comfort and convenience features
The not so good: Steep pricing, some complicated controls
At some point while behind the wheel of the 2023 BMW X7 M60i, I had a revelation. Sometimes its cool to have access to power and performance that you’re not using, and not likely to use often–it’s just cool that it’s there. I am reminded of a brilliant bit of copyrighting found in the text of a magazine ad for the 1937 Cord 812:
Son, I’m proud you chose a Super-Charged Cord for your graduation present. Your reasons for preferring it increase my confidence in you. Your Mother asked, “Isn’t that the car that is so very powerful and fast?” I used your own arguments. “Yes, but its very power and efficiency make it the safest of cars to drive. In a pinch, there is the priceless safety of hair-trigger action and lightning acceleration. Then, too, the Cord makes you want to drive like a gentleman. As other drivers race alongside of you, and get a glimpse of the Cord’s glistening exhaust pipes, they know they can pass only because you permit it.” Your Mother and I will feel safer because, when driving a Cord, you don’t feel called on to drive recklessly, no more than a Champion has to push people around to let them know who he is.
The ”son” in the ad has just conned his parents into gifting him a Cord on the occasion of his graduation. What a snow job. Still, there is a point here I would like to address. This is, perhaps, the best line in the spiel: As other drivers race alongside of you, and get a glimpse of the Cord’s glistening exhaust pipes, they know they can pass only because you permit it.
Now, I don’t know what kind of sociopath blocks people from passing, but if you substitute “Cord’s glistening exhaust pipes” with “X7’s M badge,” you get the idea. The X7 is the responsible owner’s BMW, for the career guy who has nothing to prove, but still has access to the goods, should he or she be challenged. And there is that “hair-trigger action” in the event of an emergency.
While any model in the X7 lineup will serve a potential owner well, it is the muscular stealthiness of the M60i that makes this comparison to the Cord so apt.
The large X7 slots above the popular midsize X5 in BMW’s crossover lineup, and is the only 3-row vehicle currently available from the German luxury automaker. While 3-row seating was optionally available on previous editions of the X5 crossover, the freshened 2024 X5—in dealerships soon—seems to have lost the feature—and least for the time being.
For 2023, the X7 lineup ascends through the 375-horsepower “base” xDrive 40i, the 523-horsepower M60i, and borderline-exotic 631-horsepower XB7, the latter massaged by BMW’s in-house turner Alpina. If you want a little something more than the standard trim, and a little less overt—and less pricey—than the XB7, then the sophisticated and very capable M60i is the X7 for you. Moving to the M60i gets you a turbocharged V8 engine instead of a turbo six, as well a host of additional comfort and convenience content. All X7 trim levels come standard with AWD.
Freshened for 2023, All X7s feature updated exterior trim, and 48-volt “mild-hybrid” systems designed to improve performance and fuel economy. In the process, the M50i became the M60i.
Consumer Guide’s test X7 M60i arrived in understated, no-cost Mineral White Metallic, with Black Full Marino Leather cabin trim, a $2700 option. Our well-equipped example came to $117,045, including the $995 destination charge.
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first—unless you think the price was the bad news—the 3rd-row setup is something of an either/or proposition. By that we mean, you can either stash two reasonably sized adults in back, or you can enjoy a generous amount of cargo space—but not both. With the 3rd-row seating in the upright position, space aft of the seat is limited to a few duffle bags at best, and those bags ought not to be large. Other than that, we have but minor quibbles to share. Even the fuel economy, all things considered is reasonable. More on that in a minute.
When outfitted in black, BMW interiors have a way of coming off as stark, but that’s not the case in the X7. Our test example was outfitted with sufficient bright- and carbon-fiber trim to keep things looking high-tech and visually interesting. Assembly workmanship was also apparently top notch, as was materials quality. Indeed, the X7 cabin feels very German, in the old-school, hand-crafted sense of the word.
Four adults will find more than generous space, and midsize and smaller folks will find the 3rd-row adequately spacious even for longer journeys. There’s also plenty of door-pocket, seatback-pocket and console storage space for small items. Outward visibility is also very good in all directions. As for the cargo area, the X7 employs a clamshell-style rear hatch. The system creates a completely flat load floor, and prevents cargo that shifted during transport from falling to the ground when the hatch is opened.
The X7 control pallet will feel familiar to operators returning to the brand, though we found the center-console switchgear to be both small and fussy, and less than intuitively arranged. That was not the case with the touchscreen, which boasts bright and easy to identify graphics, and quick responses to inputs.
On the road the M60i is exactly—exactly what a vehicle of this nature should be: Muscular and very refined. This author shudders every time he’s expected to select a drive mode, preferring that well-paid engineers determine how an engine, suspension, and steering system should behave. Luckily, the standard Comfort mode strikes an excellent balance of refinement and performance, and presents the big BMW in the best light. This might be a good time to note that the available Bowers & Wilkins sound system ($3400) is outstanding.
And, as for refinement, the X7 M60i is one of the best-riding, smoothest-shifting, quietest vehicles Consumer Guide has had through the office motor pool in a very long while. Power delivery rivals the smoothness of an electric vehicle, yet retains just enough mechanic feedback to feel sporty.
BMW claims the M6oi will reach 60 mph from a stop in just 4.5 seconds, and we have no reason to doubt that number. Given the acceleration, and this crossover’s near 6000-pound curb weight, it seems improbable that we would see close to 17 mpg. This in frigid weather that called for long warm-up idle times and likely blunted the effectiveness of the mild-hybrid system. We suspect that fair temperatures and less-aggressive driving would net owners close to 20 mpg in routine driving.
Compared to something like the Cadillac Escalade, or even the Mercedes-Benz GLS, the X7 offers full-size passenger accommodations and luxury amenities in a package slightly smaller and generally more rewarding to drive. Unless you regularly need to move six passengers and a lot of stuff at the same time, the X7 may be the big premium crossover for you. And, remember, even if you’re not tapping into that deep well of horsepower under the hood, folks around you are passing only because you permit it.
2023 BMW X7 M60i Gallery
(Click below for enlarged images)