MANY PEOPLE PROBABLY IMAGINE THAT TO GET A LARGER SAV, BMW SIMPLY TAKES A BMW X5 OR X6 AND MAKES IT A BIT BIGGER. WHY DOESN'T THIS APPROACH WORK?
From the very beginning, we knew that we wanted to develop a completely self-contained car for this luxury segment – and I think we have succeeded very well. It makes me think of something that was written about the car. In the year before the launch we had an unusually early pre-drive for journalists. The car had no direct predecessor and we wanted to introduce the concept. The headline in a car magazine that has a reputation for being very critical was: “With the X7, BMW has degraded the X5 to a compact SUV.”
Details like the standard third row of seats with room for two people make a big difference. The seats are proper, comfortable, captain-style seats, with armrests, cup holders and USB ports.The car doesn’t feature any components from other models, with the exception of the exterior mirrors and windscreen, which come from the BMW X5, and the wheel bolts which come from Rolls-Royce.
WHAT DID YOU FEEL WHEN YOU SAT IN THE BMW X7 FOR THE FIRST TIME?
We had invested a lot of time in simulations and conceptualization. When I finally stood in front of the hardware for the very first time, I have to admit that I had goosebumps. Being able to actually turn on the ignition of the BMW X7, seeing that everything worked was incredible. At the beginning of 2017, I drove the X7 on the test site in Munich, then in South Africa, and both times it was a fascinating experience. Before that, the car had consisted of paperwork, plans and PowerPoint. Now, it was reality and I could see that the car’s DNA was a perfect match.
HOW COULD YOU TELL?
Although the car may look quite bulky to some, the finely-tuned suspension makes it very agile and supremely comfortable on long distances. It’s definitely a case of “I drive the car”, rather than the car driving me. It has exactly the degree of sportiness that a BMW should have. The additional features, such as rear wheel steering and roll stabilization, make a big contribution, meaning that the car feels 30 centimeters shorter and significantly more agile than you would expect from its size.
SO WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO BE DRIVEN IN THE BMW X7?
I have sat for thousands of kilometers in the second row, and I must say that I have never enjoyed such a comfortable ride, some of which was on truly rough roads. Even the third row is comfortable over long distances.