BMW are knocking out a lot of new sexy product at the moment. Just recently, I jumped on a plane to Warsaw, Poland for a cross-country road trip to Prague, Czech Republic with BMW Group Middle East to test out the new and first-ever BMW X7. Yes… X-seven! BMW has finally made a jump into the seven-seater SUV (or in BMW lingo – SAV, Sports Activity Vehicle) segment and produced something quite special in the segment and it was worth the wait. The first day began in Warsaw, after checking out of a beautifully European hotel – Raffles Europejski. The trip was split into two days with two cars which broke up the road trip with an overnight stay halfway. The entire journey was over 800 kilometres so it gave us plenty of time to get a feel for each car.
The first day I partnered with the X7 and the second day with the new ‘facelifted’ 7 series. The X7 is big and bold. It’s BMW’s largest SUV to date and is 5.2m bumper to bumper and 2m wide. It certainly makes a statement and stands out from the rest of the X range.
This car is a genuine 7-seater, there is vast amounts of space and storage so that when there’s bums on all seats, even in the third row – there’s no inkling of claustrophobia.
Climbing into the car and sinking into the ultra-comfortable driver’s seat, I realised this was my home for the next 400 kilometres and I was just fine with that. The seats and cabin are like a first-class suite with luxury in every nook and cranny. Heated and cooling seats in Merino leather (all 7 seats), wireless charging pad for smartphones, head-up display and a generous 12.3” screen…the list goes on. Oh, did I mention the hot/cold thermo cup holders? Yup – that coffee ain’t going cold anytime soon. There are also climate controls, USB ports and cupholders in all three rows so no passenger will go too cold, too hot or more importantly – low on battery.
I’m a big fan of BMW’s iDrive – the communications and entertainment system, it’s user-friendly, intelligent and easy on the eyes. We had a bit of fun playing around with BMW’s ‘Intelligent Personal Assistant’. You tell the car “Hey BMW, I’m hot” to which the climate settings will be adjusted accordingly, or “Hey BMW, take me to the nearest gas station” which then fires up the sat-nav directions. Handy stuff.
The long journey begins as we depart from Raffles Europejski and make our way to the Polish city of Wroclaw and then head on towards the Czech Republic. We spent a lot of the time on the long-stretched motorways and I can tell you the X7 is wonderful for long distant and motorway driving. A feature I enjoyed most about the car was the driving-aid packed cruise control and lane assist; the car almost drives itself. It keeps you in the lane, will adjust the speed accordingly to how close the car is in front and use the brakes as required and of course accelerate backup. It’s slightly bizarre at first but the trust will soon kick in! It also works in traffic jams when you’re slow-moving…I didn’t have to touch the foot controls. It’s genius technology.
Trims of the X7 available in the Kingdom will be the 40i and the 50i. The 50i has a 4.4 litre V8 twin-turbo under the hood knocking out 462 horses, and when slipped into the sport mode, it sounds monsterous.
After a long and coffee-fuelled day of driving, we reached our halfway point where we would be staying for the night – Gola Dzierzoniowska, a small village in south-west Poland, about 400km out from Warsaw.
BMW has produced a spectacularly luxurious new seven-seater SUV and I would encourage you to book a test drive and take it for an entire day, so you can play around with each of the features and all the cool technology and get a real feel for the car and see just how well made and comfortable it is.
Stay tuned – part two of the road trip will continue in our September issue with the new and facelifted 7 series.