X7 Breaks Ground

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Shortly after our print deadline for the first issue of idrive, the X7 arrived on our shores. While this meant waiting another year to bring a feature on the first BMW in the supersized SUV segment, after the drive we feel it was worth waiting for. South Yarra BMW graciously allowed us to satiate our curiosity for the new flagship SUV.

BMW’s styling language as a whole has moved toward a stronger emphasis on the grille that dominates the front fascia of most new series BMWs. The X7 is no exception, but the already bold proportions of the vehicle seem to fit right in with this new aesthetic. While structurally a single grille piece like many new models in the range, the vertical pinch in the centre still creates the visual effect of a more traditional double kidney. The headlights featuring BMW’s laserlight technology take up less real estate in the front, further accentuating the upper and lower intakes.

Overall the X7’s squarer, harder-lined body means that while this is an all-new vehicle, it’s almost as if decades of former BMW design DNA is still present; the Hofmeister Kink in the rear quarter windows is more traditional and defined than other current offerings, as is the squared-off tailgate.

Stepping inside, the increased cabin space is immediately obvious. Headroom is abundant, the third-row seats feel almost miles away, but the overall feel is somewhat familiar, especially to anyone with experience behind the wheel of the present G05 X5. Adjustable height suspension makes ingress and egress a breeze despite the vehicle’s tall stature, and the all-digital dash should keep the pilot feeling ahead of the technology curve for years to come.

The drive was similarly familiar having experienced many G05 X5 drives, though there’s no denying the increased dimensions. That said, the flat, squared-off bonnet actually does a great job of helping the driver place the vehicle on the road, along with the short front overhangs making light work of parking in spaces that should be too tight for the X7.

Our shoot with the X7 took us through some Melbourne backstreets on an eerily quiet day. Neither cobblestone alleyways nor narrow city streets could upset its footing, and when opening up onto the freeway ramp it reeled in the asphalt effortlessly. True to Melbourne form, heavy rain cut short our shoot, but we’re already looking forward to our next chance to drive it.

Words and images: Leigh Kelly and Cam Dawes / Minami Media Production

Originally published in BMWDCM’s idrive edition 2

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