BMW Banks on 2023 X7 to Remain ‘Conquest Machine’

2023 bmw x7
BMW Banks on 2023 X7 to Remain ‘Conquest Machine’BMW
  • The 2023 X7 was mildly improved on the outside, moreso on the inside, where the instrument panel was redesigned to accommodate a large, curved screen and new driver interface.

  • Power comes from the turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder (375 hp) in the X7 xDrive40i, or from the 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 (523 hp) in the X7 M60i xDrive. The sticker price has ballooned $10,000 for this top model since 2019.

  • BMW X7 Program Manager Christian Bold says the three-row SUV has drawn in lots of new customers for the German luxury brand.

BMW was wading into unfamiliar waters in 1995 when it launched the X5, its first “sport activity vehicle.” It quickly found popularity, and to this day it’s BMW’s best-selling vehicle in the US, inspiring multiple flavors of crossovers—some smaller, some larger.

It’s dicey business to make a BMW much bigger than an X5, for fear of further turning off brand loyalists who pine for the days of low-slung, lightweight corner carvers with six-cylinder power and (preferably) a manual transmission.

To see an early X5 on the road today is like stepping back in time to observe the awkwardly proportioned back end and modestly sized twin-kidney grille, but the biggest problem was inside, where an optional third row was laughably cramped. BMW’s US dealers had been screaming for a three-row vehicle, and the designers in Munich did their best within the packaging limitations.

Today, BMW dealers have a much better option to show a young, affluent family with kids, pets, and a summer home on the lake. The X7 first arrived in the US in 2019—assembled in Spartanburg, South Carolina, along with the X5 and other crossovers—with a lot more room and a third row that actually fits two adults comfortably.

For the 2023 model year, the X7 now on sale gets a series of mid-cycle enhancements, although they do little to satisfy the haters who think the Bavarians have sold out to mainstream utilitarianism.

On the outside, the X7 is mildly improved with a new front fascia and horizontally split adaptive matrix LED headlights positioned below sleek new daytime running lamps and turn indicators. If you’re fond of the twin-kidney grille, you can have it illuminated as an option (that’s standard on the top-grade X7 M60i).

The back end was barely retouched, although the lighting profile of the taillamps was reconfigured. Available for the first time on the X7 are 23-inch rims. A new available exterior color is Sparkling Copper Grey, and exclusively available on the new M60i is another new shade—Marina Blue Metallic. The M Sport Pro package comes with the twin kidneys painted matte black.

2023 bmw x7
BMW X7 instrument panel.BMW

The most significant X7 upgrades are found inside, where a large screen above the center stack of the original X7 stood independent of the gauge cluster, which was covered with a brow.

Now for ’23, that enhanced 12.3-inch central screen is curved and extends leftward to incorporate the new 14.9-inch digital gauge cluster in front of the driver, all under one sheet of glass. It’s a cleaner look, and the new graphics are fantastic, but the lack of a brow for the gauges means there’s no shielding from glare.

The instrument panel was redesigned to accommodate this new driver interface and to be less cluttered, with reshaped air vents and new metallic and wood trim. The steering wheel was also restyled.

The center console for ’23 has been streamlined, essentially following the overall design of the new 7-Series sedan. The upright gear shifter extending from the center console has been replaced by a compact lever for changing gears, and the iDrive controller, now in its eighth generation, keeps its place in the center console, to the right of the shifter.

Overall, the ’23 X7’s cockpit configuration works nicely, and the new standard Sensafin imitation leather is considered vegan-friendly. You can pay extra for the BMW Individual Merino leather in Ivory White or Atlas Grey. Seven-passenger seating is standard, or the optional second-row captain’s chairs means there’s space for six.

The ’23 X7 xDrive40i with the B58 turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six gets an extra 40 hp (375 hp overall) and 398 lb-ft of torque, good for a 0-60 mph sprint of 5.8 seconds.

Stepping up to the X7 M60i xDrive with the 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 brings 523 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque, shaving that 0-60 mph time to 4.5 seconds. Both these engines see a top speed of 155 mph and employ 48-volt mild-hybrid stop/start systems. About 60% of X7 buyers in the US opt for xDrive all-wheel drive.

Meanwhile, the new Alpina XB7 will launch in early 2023 with 630 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque and has been clocked at 3.9 seconds 0-60.

BMW X7 Program Manager Christian Bold describes the three-row SUV as a “conquest machine” that has drawn in lots of new customers for the German luxury brand.

That popularity has come along with a boost in prices.

2023 bmw x7
2023 BMW X7 twins.BMW

When the X7 xDrive40i first arrived in 2019, its base price was $74,895. For ’23, that same trim starts at $78,845. The V8 model launched in 2019 with a starting price of $93,595, but the ’23 iteration starts at $104,095. More than a little price creep here.

Still, after three years in the market, the X7 remains the No.2 player in the large luxury crossover segment as tracked by Wards Intelligence.

Through October this year, the X7 logged nearly 20,000 sales, beating the Audi Q7 and Q8, Cadillac XT6, Infiniti QX60, Lincoln Aviator, Mercedes-Benz GLS, and, yes, even the Tesla Model X. But they’re all trailing the new Acura MDX, which recorded a brisk 33,000 US deliveries for the same period.

BMW’s X5 did the heavy lifting for Munich in the early days of the luxury crossover market. But it’s the X7 that benefits from that hard work, and now this refreshed version will try to move the ball further downfield.

Is the BMW X7 appealing to you as a three-row luxury SUV? Please comment below.