Friday, October 19, 2018

Bucket Seat: BMW X7 - First Impressions

Earlier this week BMW announced the production version of its very first X7, this coming after months of teasing with images giving little detail on the vehicle. The X7 will be BMW's flagship offering in the X model line up, keeping in style with its new design language for the X models, the X7 bears the biggest BMW kidney grille to date and has been the controversial talking point for many after its announcement. BMW say that the X7 "is the first car to fuse the presence, exclusivity and spaciousness of a luxury model with the agile and versatile driving properties expected of a Sports Activity Vehicle" and it's quite evident from the design and images of the interior that this is aiming to take the thrown in it's segment as one of the best premium luxury SAV's in it's class. It will go head-to-head with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz GLS and the Range Rover Vogue, not to mention Toyota's Land Cruiser 100  and the Lexus LX. 

As mention before, the design of the X7 isn't sitting well with many on the internet, as following the release of the images and videos, a lot of negative comments have been coming in about the design being too "boxy", the large grilles are too big etc. Fair enough it won't be to everyones taste but I can't fault BMW on this one, it's very similar to the X7 Concept we saw not too long ago and the lines and edges on the car are breathtaking to me. Boxy? well of course it has to be, it seats 6 people in comfort so you can only give designers so much to work with, making the car visually appealing but still being practical, comfortable and spacious on the inside. The interior on the launch model epitomizes the luxury element that BMW is trying to achieve with the model. From the two-tone leather seats with nappa leather diamond pattern stitching, the light wood grain finishes and the glass gear selector just exudes luxury. In cabin ambient lighting it becoming quite popular with BMW of late, we've seen the various colour changing led strips tucked away in door panels and dashboard, and of recent in the speakers of the M5 but the the X7 launch images show some lighting built into the roof, a nice touch on this behemoth. 

Back to the outside of the car, I quite like the bold look of the car, after all it is the biggest in the X Line up so it must look the part. The long elongated lights match up with the ones on the back and with the new laser light system give it character. The 3 air-intake vents, with the horizontal slats also adds to the front facing presence of this beast. Credit has to be given to the design team, being the first BMW of it's kind and to come up with the design so close to the concept isn't an easy feat. The added metal and chrome accents to the exterior really highlight the luxury feel to the X7 but as much as this car is nice to look at, BMW say it's just as good to drive. That's where it all comes down to, will it drive like the BMW's we're used to? Also BMW say that this will also have off road capabilities like the new X5, with a standard two-axle air suspension for increased comfort and increased ground clearance, as well as off road spec differential lock and underguard for the front. 

The BMW X7 is expected in South Africa during March of next year and BMW have said that we will be only getting two models both of which feature diesel engines, the X7 xDrive30d and the M50d. Both of which are brilliant motors from the company and with the ever increasing price of fuel you can understand why the company is choosing to bring these specific engines down. I'm sure at launch they will re-investigate the possibility of bringing a petrol variant as well. Pricing is said to be in the R1,6 million mark for the xDrive 30d and R1.8million for the M50d. 

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