To be clear, the X7 looks brand new, despite receiving simply a midcycle refresh
A “midcycle refresh” occurs between the introduction of an all-new vehicle and its replacement with a completely revamped model. To produce a somewhat fresher appearance (thus the word “refresh”), the manufacturer upgrades a few bolt-on, readily changeable pieces, such as bumpers and external lights, and it may also swap in some new paint colours, wheel designs, and features. It’s generally only enough to keep an automobile running for a few more years. BMW put its relatively new X7 three-row luxury SUV through the paces for 2023, with an all-new dashboard topped by its newest displays, new six- and eight-cylinder engines, and the brand’s first-ever 23-inch wheel option.
The three primary models are reduced to two: the six-cylinder X7 xDrive40i and the eight-cylinder X7 M60.
Face It: The X7’s Face Will Be Talked About
For a moment, we’ll put on our tinfoil hats and speculate: All of this newness serves to balance off the 2023 BMW X7’s most striking update—its visage. We’re not suggesting there’s a plot afoot, but take a look at the X7. BMW going above and beyond the normal slew of midcycle alterations three years into the new-for-2019 X7’s life has us stroking our chins and wondering if there were any worries in Munich about how the brutalist mug would play with buyers.
After all, BMW’s designers appear to have blended the pre-refresh X7’s headlights, foglights, intakes, and kidney grilles, then splattered it all over the SUV’s nose Jackson Pollock-style. The makeover is similar to that given to BMW’s current 7 Series car and its electric cousin, the i7. We’re still not sure what to make of it all, but one thing is certain: the new X7 is impossible to ignore.
The inside of the 2023 BMW X7 remains on the smaller side among full-size luxury three-row SUVs, but BMW’s modifications have made it a lot better overall. A retuned (and standard) four-corner air suspension, variable dampers, and rear-wheel steering (standard on the M60, optional on the xDrive40i) improve the ride and handling, while the pair of new engines that replace last year’s turbocharged I-6 and twin-turbo V-8 options provide a lot more punch. While the six-cylinder X7 keeps its xDrive40i designation, the V-8 variant gets a new xDrive M60 badge.
We spent the majority of our time in the xDrive40i during our drive near BMW’s Spartanburg, South Carolina, facility, where it makes its X-badged SUV models for America and other worldwide markets. A quick ride in the 523-hp M60, although enjoyable, largely underlined how powerful the volume-seller I-6 engine is. The six-cylinder engine isn’t new, but it’s new to the X7, and it uses the Miller combustion cycle for lower fuel usage, as well as 48-volt mild-hybrid augmentation.
It produces 40 horsepower more than the inline-six it replaces, for a total output of 375 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque. The vast majority of X7s are outfitted in this manner, and they now rocket forward with enthusiasm and plenty of power for family-hauling tasks (and beyond—go ahead, parents, have a little fun pressing the go-pedal). BMW boasts that the new six-cylinder X7 is 0.5 second faster to 60 mph, clocking in at 5.8 seconds. BMW’s powertrain polish is outstanding, as usual, with the I-6 giving a muffled but delightful growl and nary a tremor and matching wonderfully with the retuned eight-speed automatic gearbox.
The 4.4-liter V-8 engine in the M60 is also new, although it delivers the same 523 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque as the engine in the previous X7 M50i. The formerly available X7 xDrive50i with a lower-output V-8 is no longer available. Before you invest on the M60, you should have a strong reason for requiring that much power, albeit it also comes with a slew of M performance bits and a stiffer suspension tuning. The kidney grilles on the nose also light up. The I-6 and V-8 engines are joined by a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that includes a 12-hp, 148-lb-ft electric motor wedged between them and the transmission.
This not only increases low-engine-speed torque, but it also provides smooth engine stop-start capability for fuel savings while stationary. In addition, both engines are more efficient than the ones they replace, increasing overall fuel efficiency by 1 mpg.
BMW is proud of the newly optional 23-inch wheels, a rim-size first for the brand, and while we’d probably forgo them—can you image replacing a 23-inch tire?—they underlined the X7’s riding improvements. The huge 23s were on the xDrive40i we spent most of our time in, and aside from some tire-slap over expansion joints and increased tyre noise overall, they didn’t appear to have much of an influence on the ride, which was more pleasant and well-isolated than previously. The 22s on the stiffer-sprung M60 we tested rode roughly the same as the 23s on the non-M X7, implying that smaller rims (20s are normal) might provide an even better ride on those less sporty variants.
Cabin with a View!
The inside of the 2023 BMW X7 undergoes an even more extensive transformation than that of the brutalist schnoz, adopting a redesigned dashboard with the 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and 14.9-inch touchscreen from the iX electric SUV. Those two screens are housed in a single curved-glass panel, leaving only a few tactile buttons on the dashboard.
A volume knob is located underneath the centre screen, near to some defroster settings, and headlight controls are located to the left of the steering wheel—all. that’s The central console houses the starting button, as well as ride-height, drive-mode, and shortcut buttons to important menus (together with the iDrive control knob).
Integrating BMW’s “Operating System 8,” which is both a software and hardware moniker for its newest displays and their underlying electrical architecture, proved more difficult than simply finding a space to install those panels. Regardless of the effort, the effect is effortless—these screens appear to have always belonged here. Whereas late-add displays on other refurbished cars might look bolted on or weird, the X7’s all-new dashboard appears to have been created with these displays in mind from the start. The images on the panels are also crisp, as is the touchscreen’s reaction to inputs.
BMW also added a trailer back-up assist that uses the iDrive knob or on-screen touch inputs to “steer” a trailer where you want it to go when backing up, expanded sensor capabilities for the collision warning system, and enhanced “learning” capabilities that allow drivers to “record” low-speed parking movements—say, pulling into their driveway and garage—and then exit the X7 and send it on its way.
Every X7 now comes standard with heated front seats, a SensaTec (faux-leather)-wrapped dashboard, keyless Comfort Access, a panoramic sunroof, four-zone temperature control, and a wireless phone charger.
The xDrive40i starts at $78,845 for the 2023 BMW X7, while the more powerful M60 starts at $104,095. Both prices include a reasonably low (at least for 2022) $995 destination and delivery charge—remember, the X7 is made in America, so it doesn’t have to travel far to reach dealerships. If you like the new design, the X7 is noticeably better than before, with improved engines, ride quality, and technology. Even if we wish the aesthetic hadn’t gone as far as the other improvements, it’s so much more than a regular update.