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01 May 2019
LIFESTYLE

FROM THE CITY TO THE MANGROVES

WEALTH Arabia takes the premiere edition of the BMW X7 out across the varied terrain of the Gulf

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The first thing you’ll notice about the X7 is the sheer size of the thing. It’s gorgeous, and massive. It’s bigger than any BMW you’ve seen before—in fact it looks like a BMW that ate another BMW. Of course, for automotive enthusiasts in the Middle East, big cars are not the exception, they’re the rule.

In fact, they’re the most desired and widely owned—for the kind of lifestyle that the Gulf demands, a large car that can handle off-road conditions and are also luxurious enough to survive the everyday grind are exactly what drivers here are looking for. It’s no wonder then that the best car manufacturers in the world have made cars that suit that need.

For BMW fans that have been waiting for the legendary car producer to produce something that matches their needs—the X7 is finally here. Once you’re inside, of course, apart from how different it feels to have the level of spaciousness, to have the presence and feeling on the road that this car offers, you’ll receive the level of quality, comfort and familiarity that the best BMWs always have to offer.

Deemed an SAV, or Sports Activity Vehicle, rather than the traditional SUV, the car offers everything you’d expect of a BMW along with most things you’re looking for in a larger car. It’s definitely made for a family, but it’s also comfortable enough for even a single person to indulge in. 

We took the X7 across the UAE, from the busy roads of Jumeirah to the mangroves of Umm Al Quwain, playing with stray dogs and meeting whomever we could. The X7 felt powerful but never felt out of control— it always boasted a smooth drive that still had the strength to muscle forward when need be. With the sea by our side or across the mountains, the X7 seemed purpose-built for the Gulf’s terrain and way of life.

The X7 is the latest in the X lineup, following X 1through 6, and is, of course, it is the largest model in fleet, bringing a fresh sensation of space to the luxury segment, thanks to its open expanses and top-class design of its interior and its state-of-the-art equipment features.

At the same time of course,, the advanced powertrain and chassis technology of the X7 ensures it offers all the off-road prowess, excellent ride comfort and agile on-road handling for which BMW’s SAVs are known. Let’s talk the measurables, shall we? The X7 shapes up as 5,151 millimetres in length, 2,000 millimetres wide and 1,805 millimetres tall, and with a wheelbase of 3,105 millimetres.

This is clearly the patriarch of the X-family, and you’ll get used to the expansiveness quickly—getting back into one of a smaller size will feel like something is missing. The front end is prominent, with its exceptionally large BMW kidney grille, giving the car an undeniable sense of presence.

The BMW X7 comes standard with LED headlights, while the optional BMW Laserlight carries a high-beam range of up to 600 metres, easily identified by the blue x-shaped elements inside the headlights. From the side, the car’s large windows, high ground clearance and long roofline make it hard to accept this is a BMW, putting it in another class entirely.

Horizontal lines, slim LED lights and a two-section split tailgate adorn the rear, fitting the contemporary look of the current BMW fleet. It also follows chrome aesthetic, which isn’t overwhelming but rather comes off tasteful. The car is fitted with 20-inch light-alloy wheels, while fans of bigger wheels can option for the 21- and 22-inch variants can be selected from the options list.

When we said it’s a family-ready car, we meant it. The roominess is versatile, offering three rows of seats, which can fit seven. The third row of two seats isn’t anything to sneeze at either, complete with full-size seats complete with armrests, cupholders and their own USB ports. The middle row can be composed of two individual comfort seats as an option as well. All seats are adjusted electrically at the push of a button.

The trunk, or boot, depending on your preferred terminology, capacity can be increased from 326 to a maximum of 2,120 litres, as required. The materials, as is expected from high-end BMWs, are top notch The X7 comes with Vernasca leather trim, four-zone automatic climate control, a three-section panoramic glass roof, and ambient lighting including the welcome light carpet and dynamic interior light.

Among the highlights on the options list are five-zone automatic climate control, the ambient air package, the panorama glass roof sky lounge, controls with glass applications, the Bowers & Wilkins Diamond surround sound system and the rear-seat entertainment Professional system.

Meanwhile, the ‘design pure excellence’ equipment line, M Sport package and BMW Individual options allow customers to tailor the interior and exterior design based on their personal style. Under the hood is a powerful engine that still lines up with emission requirements.

The line-up of engines available comprises a 340 kW/462 hp petrol V8 in the BMW X7 xDrive50i, a six-cylinder in-line petrol unit with an output of 250 kW/340 hp for the BMW X7 xDrive40i (fuel consumption combined: 9.0 – 8.7 l/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 205 – 198 g/km) and a pair of six-cylinder in-line diesels with outputs of 195 kW/265 hp in the BMW X7 xDrive30d (fuel consumption combined: 6.8 – 6.5 l/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 178 – 171 g/km*) and 294 kW/400 hp in the BMW X7 M50d (fuel consumption combined: 7.4 – 7.0 l/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 193 – 185 g/km).

All of the power units in the line-up meet the requirements of the Euro 6d-TEMP emissions standard. All the engines are mated to an eightspeed steptronic transmission, while the task of transferring their power onto either asphalt or loose terrain falls to the BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system , which comes complete with optimised efficiency and rear-biased set-up.

Ensuring even more dynamic handling is the M Sport differential at the rear axle, which brings electronically controlled locking. It is fitted as standard on the BMW X7 M50d and as an option on the BMW X7 xDrive50i and BMW X7 xDrive40i. The BMW X7 boasts a wealth of chassis technology as standard, including Adaptive suspension with electronically controlled dampers, and air springs at both axles.

The vehicle’s ground clearance can be varied by up to 80 millimetres to suit the situation at hand, by either pressing a button or using the BMW Display Key. A number of chassis systems are available as options to further enhance comfort, agility and off-road performance. Integral Active Steering and the Executive Drive Pro system with active roll stabilisation deliver even more nimble handling and greater poise.

An Off-Road package is also available for all model variants aside from the BMW X7 M50d. This package includes an extra button for choosing between four driving modes – xSand, xGravel, xRocks and xSnow. These modes prepare the car for the surface in question by activating the ideal settings for ride height, the xDrive system, accelerator and transmission responses, and DSC inputs.

Everything in the car felt built for 2019, further underlined by the comprehensive array of driver assistance systems on hand built to enhance comfort and safety.

As well as the active cruise control with stop & go function, drivers can also opt for the driving assistant professional package, comprising the Steering and lane control assistant, lane change warning and lane departure warning, the lane change assistant, the lane keeping assistant with side collision protection, the evasion aid, crossing traffic warning, priority warning and wrongway warning, and the emergency stop assistant, which comes standard with the standard parking assistant’s range.

Let’s keep getting technical here— the BMW Live Cockpit Professional comprises a fully digital instrument cluster and a Control Display, each of which have a screen diagonal of 12.3 inches. The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant included in the operating system from March 2019 presents the latest digital connectivity.

Once activated with the spoken prompt ‘Hey BMW’, the digital companion helps the driver to utilise the car’s functions, add that to your repertoire with Siri, Alexa and Google. In addition, the system will continue to acquire new capabilities all the time thanks to updates transmitted seamlessly via remote software upgrade.

While some may op for the opulence of the Rolls Royce Cullinan, we’re anxious to get the X7 back on the road again, perhaps driving off in a different direction on the UAE’s roads and seeing where it takes us. We’re sure you will be too.

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