AUSTRALIANS have a love affair with big things. We have the Big Banana, the Big Pineapple and the Big Merino to name a few. Now that the 2019 BMW X7 M50d has landed, we have something else that’s big to fall in love with.
The feature packed large SUV might just be one of the hardest vehicles to ever hand the keys back for. It’s that good. Mind you it’s not quite as big as the Big Banana so that’s a little disappointing. We jest of course.
Its size will guarantee you not only stand out on the road, it’s sheer presence will have other motorists moving out of your way. The menacing grille and hexagonal BMW Laserlight LED headlights are a sight to behold in the rear-vision mirror.
Climb inside the BMW X7 and wow is the first word you’ll utter. It bombards the senses as you are met with various lighting touches, fine materials and utter space. During the day, the panoramic glass sunroof fills the cabin with natural light.
It opens up the interior to the outside world. At night, one of the main features of the big BMW SUV is light, but we’ll touch more on that later. First, to one of the key interior highlights; Crafted Clarity glass.
The artistic crystal glass is used for the gear selector, iDrive controller, Start/Stop button and the volume knob. When hit by natural or artificial light, these elements shine and sparkle, adding a level of sophistication seldom found in vehicles with a price tag of less than a quarter of a million dollars.
Rather ironically, ‘Merino’ leather is beautifully appointed throughout the interior, with supreme stitching quality that screams luxury and comfort. The seats, dashboard, door cards and the steering wheel are all adorned in this high-quality elegant leather.
As you push that glass crystal Start/Stop button however, this is where the M50d differentiates itself from the ‘base’ X7 Design Pure Excellence model.
Aside from some subtle exterior badging and ‘M’ insignia inside the cabin, once you fire the 3.0 Litre, Quad Turbo Diesel engine into life you know something is a little different.
Producing 294kW and 760Nm, the X7 M50d (if you are so inclined) will sprint from 0-100km/h in 5.4 seconds.
That’s right, this 2.4 tonne behemoth will out-perform many a hot hatch or sports saloon. And it sounds great doing it thanks to BMW’s M Sport exhaust system, making the M50d sound better than any diesel engine has the right to.
In addition to the exhaust system, BMW’s ‘M’ division have thrown in an M aerodynamics package, 8-speed Steptronic Sports transmission, M Sport Brake system and M Sport differential.
These features combined with the 22-inch BMW Individual light alloy wheels wrapped in 275/40 tyres on the front, and massive 315/35 tyres on the rear, mean the X7 M50d is surprisingly agile.
When engaged in Sports mode, the Executive Drive Pro suspension control system manages the ride and handling, thanks to active roll stabilisers, to deliver a comfortable and dynamic driving experience by reducing body movements to a minimum.
While you can trick science with power and traction in a straight line, there is a limit to how much you can control inertia and centre of gravity. It’s here you really notice the size and weight of the X7, but it is still impressive what the M50d can do given it’s mass.
Calm down and start to play around with the menus and you soon uncover some of the X7’s party pieces. Front row massage seats will have you relaxed or activated upon arrival at your destination, depending on which of the eight massage programs you choose.
Activated at the touch of a button, we don’t know how we’ve survived this long in a car without them. Also within the BMW Operating System 7.0 is the Experience Modes menu.
Depending on your mood, the X7 can vitalise or relax you by selecting one of these modes. By adjusting the ambient light, climate control, seat ventilation, sun protection and audio track, the X7 will become your personal life coach.
It’s set up to get you prepared for the next item on your agenda, or wind down after a long day. Another feature we loved was the reversing assistant, which stores the path of the last 50m of driving up to 35km/h.
It’s very handy in a vehicle this size, especially in the city where parking and maneuvering can be a nightmare. Simply select reverse, take your hands off the wheel, and control the speed as the X7 takes over and gets you in and out of tight spots. Brilliant.
Lastly for us, and definitely not least, is the night-time experience the X7 has to offer. Best experienced from the rear seats, the X7 comes to life after dark thanks to an atmosphere of ambient, indirect lighting and highlights that are a feast for the eyes.
Strategically placed LEDs, optical fibres and accents can all be adjusted through six colours to personalise an experience to your taste, that is dominated by the Panorama glass roof.
Thanks to 15,000 lighting elements in the glass roof, you travel under a blanket of brightly coloured stars that never ceases to amaze the eyes. It’s truly beautiful and has to be seen to be believed.
Priced from $184,792 drive away, the 2019 BMW X7 M50d is some $10,000 more expensive than the Audi SQ7, which is its main rival. The X7 though feels like it has that extra special edge, which the Audi can’t match.
While we can’t do the 2019 BMW X7 M50d justice entirely in this review, what we can say unequivocally though is that this is an exceptional vehicle that makes you feel special in a way many others cannot.
From the time you climb inside to the moment you park and walk away, few vehicles will leave you in amazement the way the 2019 BMW X7 M50d can.
Our test vehicle was provided by BMW Australia. To find out more about the 2019 BMW X7 M50d, contact your local BMW dealer.