Evolution sometimes is a matter of perspective. To us, diehard sportscar fans, the perfect BMW should have the maximum size of an E 46 3 series but we all know that this is quite anachronistic. Take the M4 CS for example: it’s the size of an Audi A4 Avant and it’s a nimble and hi-performance coupé which is indeed one of the best cars we’ve ever tested.
So, size matters? Well, to some extent and it’s a matter of perspective. You see, when thinking back at the E32 and E38 7 Series of the 90ies and early 2000’s… you thought how on Earth a car such as this would exist with a BMW badge. Never on our wish-list because it was big, bulky and fit only for businessmen, it seemed like a giant whale with a powerful engine. Yet, today… we look at them and marvel at their compact and elegant lines and harmonious volumes.
Bimmers got bigger, like all the rest. Never we would have thought to see an advertisement campaign based only on… size. The new X7 is perhaps the latest Russian Playboy’s new toy to get around town and it is opulent, ginormous and… incredibly good to drive. It’s powered by one of the best diesel engines ever developed by the M Division, the quad-turbo B57 3.0 litre in-line six. Packing well over 700 Nm of torque, it makes the 2+ tones X7 sprint with satisfying vigor. The refinement level is quite astounding: you sit high, in your giant and suspended living-room, surrounded by silence as you watch the world go by. It’s egoistical and a complete nonsense using all this space just for two people but it’s a quite remarkable vehicle.
It consumes like your average 320d and drives with such poise that you hardly feel the need to press down on the accelerator. Is this oversize SUV what was needed in the BMW range? Yes and no. Yes because it truly offers higher levels of refinement over the X5 and no because it interpreted the word “high class” in a posh and somewhat decadent way. Did we need a car with this huge amount of space? It might work for some people, but sometimes you hardly doubt about how much use the third seat bench will get with the clientele buying this behemoth.
Besides, it’s not an impractical vehicle. It surely is giant and will cause some problems while parking, but if you’ve got plenty of friends and traveling with supreme comfort is what you look for, the X7 might just be the right car for you. While BMW put that wide grille in front is beyond our understanding. Imagine if Sauron’s of the Lord of the Rings would design a car to his image… he would draw the X7! But we understand the appeal this car has in countries such as Russia and China, where demonstrating everyone the status is a matter of great pride.
In the end, difference sometimes is a matter of perspective. As much as we would have loved to stress out the futility of the X7, we came to the conclusion that it’s a pretty well-thought after SUV. Spacious more than enough to fit 5 people with comfort, extravagant enough to be loved to those who cannot renounce post-modernist poshness but refined enough to make us enthusiast appreciate the skills of BMW engineers. What once was perceived as big, now is not enough. When the world is demanding more, the X7 is the right vehicle at the right time. For us, it’s a refined motorcar and we see it as a modern interpretation of the old 7 Series. But as a package, is perhaps what a whole new army of motorists wants and is willing to buy, immediately.