Johannesburg - If you want your BMW Sports Activity Vehicle supersized then you might want to set your sights on the first-ever X7, which has just touched down in South Africa, only months after its international launch.
The 5151mm long X7 takes pride of place as the flagship of BMW’s X range, and it can seat seven occupants in reasonable comfort, although that does not leave too much of a boot, which swallows just 326 litres when all seats are in place.
The X7 will initially be offered in two variants in the form of an xDrive30d, at R1 554 500, and M50d, at R1 853 200. The 30d is powered by BMW’s familiar 3-litre turbodiesel six, rated at 195kW and 620Nm, and the M50d gets the far mightier quad-turbo version of that engine, which is good for 294kW and 760Nm. The M50d will screech from 0-100km/h in 5.4 seconds, BMW says, while its 30d counterpart should take seven seconds flat.
But if for some reason those diesels don’t satisfy your performance appetite, there is a V8 powered M50i coming in October this year with a price tag of R1 871 542.
All engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox and xDrive all-wheel-drive system with variable torque distribution, and all models get adaptive air suspension on both axles. The system lowers the car at highway speeds and can also raise it for off-road driving. On that note, the X7 can be ordered with an Off-Road package (R27 600) that brings additional underguard trim and a terrain management system with four selectable modes.
As for spec packages, while the M50d comes standard with M-flavoured packaging, the 30d can be optionally ordered with one of two packages - Design Pure Excellence (which comes at a R43 100 premium) and M Sport (R69 000).
How do you tell them apart?
Design Pure Excellence has various High-gloss Chrome trim elements on the outside, as well as Aluminium Matt grille bars and a ‘Y-spoke’ wheel design. The M Sport pack can be told apart by its High-gloss Black and Black Chrome trim elements as well as larger air intakes, bolder front apron and side skirts, and M twin-spoke wheels.
20 inch rims come standard on base models, but the packs add 21-inch alloys and if that’s still not big enough for you, there are 22-inch options available.
So what do you get as standard on the X7?
For starters, all X7s ship with the BMW Live Cockpit 31.2cm touchscreen infotainment system with Gesture Control, BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant and a 205W 10-speaker sound system.
Other standard features include five-zone automatic climate control, Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Steering and Lane Control Assist, Crossing Traffic Warning, Head-up Display, BMW’s digital Display Key, Vernasca leather seats (with electric adjustment and active ventilation upfront), rear sunblinds, automatic tailgate and Adaptive LED headlights.
Yes the X7 might be expensive, but it’s so well appointed that you could get away without running up too big an options tab.
If you can’t resist that urge, there are still a few options and packages available, the highlights of which include a 1508W, 20-speaker Bowers & Wilkins Diamond surround sound system (R72 500), Rear Seat Entertainment Professional with two high-res touchscreens (R38 400), BMW Night Vision with object recognition (R32 000), BMW Laserlights (R21 900), Sky Lounge panoramic glass sunroof (R17 800), massaging front seats (R15 800) and individual middle-row seats (R9600).
To recap, the X7 xDrive30d costs R1 554 500 and M50d is yours for R1 853 200.