A Paragon Of Quality

BMW X7 (2019-2022)

Models Covered

5dr SUV


BMW's X7 classily meets the needs of wealthy buyers wanting a super-luxury large SUV and needing to seat up to seven adults. It's essentially a super-sized X5, but it makes far more of a pavement statement and inside, feels very high-end indeed. If you don't much care what the neighbours think - or perhaps even if you do - then you'd probably quite like one. Here, we look at the early 2019-2021 pre-facelift versions of this model.

The History

Not every new car these days is designed with a specific eye on European buyers. Take this one, the BMW X7, an enormous luxury seven-seat SUV that was launched back in 2019 primarily aimed at customers in America, the Middle East, China and various Asian markets. But BMW thought that better-heeled buyers with larger families here might like one too.

It took the Munich maker some time to make an SUV this big. Their X5 has defined the large SUV class for over two decades amongst Mercedes GLEs and Porsche Cayennes. But prior to 2019, the company had never fielded a bigger 4x4 - or a proper seven-seat version of this kind of car to take on the larger Mercedes GLS. The sort of product that would begin to interest the kind of customer who’d usually be browsing in the super-luxury large SUV segment where the Range Rover rules. The X7, announced in late 2018 and put on sale here a few months after, was tasked with attracting exactly this well-heeled brand of buyer.

If you know anything about this car, you’ll have already gathered that it’s quite a size, but of course that’s relative to your point of comparison. True, it’s a little bigger than a Range Rover, but you’d expect that given that an X7 has an extra row of seats. It’s actually a little smaller than its most obvious rival, the Mercedes GLS. And considerably smaller than the ultimate contender you could have in this class, the Rolls Royce Cullinan. Even so, this is easily the most substantial - and certainly the heaviest - piece of automotive real estate BMW has ever brought us.

Certainly, if you want the very best large SUV from the 2019-2021 period and it has to seat seven, you’d need to consider it. The X7’s main xDrive30d diesel engine was replaced by a more powerful xDrive40d unit in 2020. Then the car continued on sale in its original form until Spring 2022, when it was significantly updated. It’s the pre-facelift models we look at here.

What You Get

US, Asian and Middle Eastern buyers want their luxury SUVs to be big and very imposing, so the X7 is. If you want one here, that’s what you’re going to like about it. Is the huge over-sized front grille a step too far? Not if you take the view that there’s simply no point in a car that’s 5.15-metres long, 2-metres wide and over 1.8-metres high being aesthetically shy and retiring. This one certainly isn’t.

As is appropriate in such a large SUV, you climb up into the driver’s seat of an X7 and find yourself positioned commandingly in a cabin that’s high in quality but perhaps lacking a little in terms of sheer specialness. It’s hard to fault the cabin ergonomics, which see you perfectly positioned on brilliantly supportive multifunctional ‘Comfort’ seats trimmed in stitched Merino leather. And viewing digital screen technology delivered by the ‘Live Cockpit Professional’ package that combines a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster display with a centre-dash infotainment monitor of the same size, all of it accessible via touchscreen, the usual lower iDrive touch controller or voice control.

And the boot? Well the powered two-piece tailgate can be operated by gesture control and opens to reveal a cargo area that offers 326-litres of space.

What To Look For

Our owner survey came across some minor issues with the suspension; in a few cases, there was suspension damage due to wear and tear, which made the system slow to react. We also heard of an issue with steering rack pinion teeth, which can crack under heavy pressure. Other reported issues concern corrosion for the alloy wheels, occasional instances of failure with the high pressure fuel pump, a leaky oil filler gasket, electric window malfunctions and a faulty hydraulic unit for the braking system. The braking system actually attracted a few complaints, some owners reporting that the brakes weren’t as strong as they ought to have been when slowing from cruising speeds. Check the powered seat mechanisms thoroughly when you inspect the car. Otherwise, it’s just the usual things. Insist on a fully stamped-up service record and check the alloys for scratches and scuffs.

On The Road

The X7 manages to be a deal more agile than you’d expect it might be, particularly if you happen to be in a variant fitted out with ‘Integral Active Steering’, which steers the rear wheels for greater cornering stability. Or a model featuring the brand’s ‘Anti-roll stabilisation’ technology. This set-up uses automatically-adjustable anti-roll bars that give you lots of suspension movement for a great ride in a straight line, yet spring into action through the bends to compensate for the body roll you’d otherwise get. All models got standard air suspension – and of course xDrive 4WD.

You’ll want to know about engines. Most buyers for models made and sold in the 2019 model year will opt for the ‘xDrive 30d’ variant which uses a 265hp version of the brand’s usual straight-six single-turbo 3.0-litre diesel, combined with the 8-speed Steptronic Sport auto gearbox that features across the range. This engine was updated with a more powerful xDrive40d diesel unit in 2020. The petrol alternative is the 340hp ‘xDrive40i’ derivative. But a typical X7 buyer will more greatly prioritise on-tarmac performance and in that case may very possibly be interested in the two full-M-spec variants also on offer, the 530hp petrol M50i and the 400hp diesel M50d.


In an SUV market full of so-called ‘seven-seaters’ that can actually only take small children in their rearmost pews, the X7’s capacity to properly accommodate seven adults is refreshing. This X7 will have a distinctive appeal if you like the brand's cool sporting vibe, have a large family and want the very best. Size matters. But then you always knew that didn't you...