2020 BMW X7 M
More power for BMW’s largest SUV yet!by Ciprian Florea, on
Confirmed in 2014, the BMW X7 arrived in 2018 to take its place as the company’s flagship SUV. Now that the full-size rig is finally here, we can’t help but wonder whether an M version is underway. Does it make sense? Should BMW build one?
The large SUV market is pretty big in the U.S., where BMW is building the X7, but neither the Cadillac Escalade nor the Lincoln Navigator are powerful enough to create demand for an M version. However, Mercedes-Benz is making an AMG version of the GLS, which is taking all market share in the performance department. The AMG-prepped GLS alone is a reason enough for BMW to roll out an X7 M, but it should also be part of the company’s plans to expand the nameplate now that all crossovers are set to be offered in M form. Let’s find out what it may bring to the table in the speculative review below.
Continue reading to learn more about the upcoming BMW X7 M.
2020 BMW X7 M
BMW X7 M Exterior
- Sporty bumpers
- Black trim
- Bespoke, lighter wheels
- Lowered suspension
Since we've already seen the standard X7 and a few test versions of the X7 M, the higher performance SUV isn't much of a mystery as far as styling goes.
Both the headlamps and the grille are identical to the standard model. The former have the same LED layout as the X5, but they’re slimmer and run into the kidney grille. Coupled with the massive grille that’s taller than on any other Bimmer, they give the X7 a very aggressive look. The standard SUV’s bumper is already massive and sports big intakes at the corners, but these are likely to grow even bigger on the X7 M. Actually, the bigger vents, the black trim on the grille, and some sort of splitter will be the only features that will set the M version apart.
The SUV shouldn’t change much onto the sides either. You’ll get the same utilitarian profile with the boxy rear end and a rather simple beltline that connects the front bumper to the taillight by passing just below the door handles. The truck-like side steps should remain in place too. As for different features, look for a slightly lowered ride height, black trim around the windows, and new, lighter wheels in a sportier design.
BMW could also use carbon-fiber mirror caps on this model.
Much like other M-badged SUVs, the X7 M won’t differ much around back. Thankfully enough though, the really slim taillights and the fact that the rear end is broken up by horizontal lines give the X7 a somewhat sporty look. The bumper is obviously too sturdy for a performance vehicle, but hopefully BMW will add a new pair of exhaust pipes and a diffuser-like element for a bit of extra aggressiveness.
BMW X7 M Interior
- Black upholstery
- Extra Alcantara
- Carbon-fiber trim
- Custom displays
- Extra standard features
If you’ve seen the X5 on the inside, you’ve seen the X7 as well. The full-size SUV is identical to its smaller sibling and this won’t change for the M version. So look for the same clean structures overall and dashboard that flows smoothly into the door panels.
The center console should remain unchanged too and incorporate features like the iDrive Controller, the new gear selector, start/stop button, Driving Experience Control switches, electronic parking brake switch, and controls for the air suspension.
There are finer materials all over the place in the X7. But while the standard model comes with SensaTec standard, BMW will offer the X7 M with leather upholstery. Most like in black as standard, but hopefully we’ll see lighter and more colorful combos on the options list. Of course, you’ll be able to get the expensive Extended Merino Leather interior too.
It remains to be seen whether the leather dashboard will be standard, but you will definitely have to pay extra for glass controls for the start/stop button, gear shift lever, iDrive Controller and radio volume knob.
The Panoramic Sky Lounge LED roof is yet another cool option that BMW will offer. Included in the Executive Package, it lights up when it gets dark outside and displays a starlit sky in more than 15,000 graphic patterns. Just like Rolls-Royce, which is owned by the BMW Group, offers in its vehicles.
More features come with the Cold Weather Package and the Premium Package. The former includes a five-zone automatic climate control system, heated front and rear seats, and heated front seat armrests and steering wheel. The latter adds soft-close automatic doors, rear electric side window shades, heated and cooled cup holders, a heads-up display, and gesture control. Both should remain optional on the X7 M.
Look for the same tech features too, starting with BMW’s new Live Cockpit Professional infotainment system, which includes a 12.3-inch instrument cluster, a 12.3-inch display on the center stack, new haptic controls for the iDrive controller, and a tablet-like touch surface. New apps for news, weather, office, and online search are joined by Intelligent Emergency Call, which automatically calls for assistance in the event of an emergency, Concierge Services, On-Street Parking Information, and Real-Time Traffic Information.
Both wireless charging and WiFi hotspot are standard on the regular X7 and it should be the same on the X7 M. However, the rear-seat entertainment system, includes a pair of 10.2-inch full-HD touchscreen displays, a Blu-ray-compatible DVD player, an HDMI socket, and two headphone jacks, will be optional.
Comfort-wise, the seven-seat layout of the X7 should be standard on the M version too.
However, you’ll be able to go with a six-seat version with two captain’s chairs for the second row. Practicality should remain unchanged at 48.6 cubic feet of luggage room with the seats in place and a maximum of 90.4 cubic feet with both second and third rows folded flat. That’s almost 10 cubic feet more than the competing Mercedes-AMG GLS63, but some four cubic feet less than the current Cadillac Escalade.
The standard air suspension will allow for the X7 M to be lowered to make loading the trunk easier, while the two-section split tailgate will come with electric operation.
Just like the regular SUV, it will have over-the-air updates for all systems via the BMW Connected app.
On top of these X7-specific features, the X7 M should also feature custom displays for both screens and sportier rev counter and speedo. It will also have carbon-fiber trim on the dash, center console, and door panels, as well as sportier seats for the driver and front passenger.
BMW X7 M Drivetrain
- Beefed-up 4.4-liter V-8
- Sporty automatic transmission
- Around 600 horsepower
- Retuned chassis
- 0 to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds
Like any Bimmer out there, the X7 comes with a selection of gasoline and diesel engines globally. The lineup includes both 3.0-liter six-cylinder and 4.4-liter V-8 mills. But the X7 M needs more oomph so BMW will probably go with a beefed-up version of the V-8.
Naturally, the German firm will borrow an existing engine from an M-prepped car.
The latest interations can be found in the M850i and M5. The former cranks out 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, while the latter has the exact same torque, but generates 591 horses. Given that the xDrive50i version of the X7 comes with 456 horsepower and 479 pound-feet on tap, BMW will probably choose the M5’s more powerful unit for the X7 M. The engine probably won’t have the exact same output, so look for anything between 580 and 600 horsepower, if not a bit more.
Expect the SUV to hit 60 mph from a standing start in less than five seconds.
An eight-speed automatic transmission should route all that power to the wheels, but it will be a bit different than the usual Steptronic. BMW will probably rework the radio spread and the electronics to improve both performance and efficiency.
Just like in the standard model, the transmission will work in conjunction with the SUV’s intelligent connectivity to adapt its shift strategy. It will basically "see" the road ahead through the navigation system and will combine data with information from the Active Cruise Control system’s radar sensor to shift properly.
Of course, the xDrive AWD system will be standard on the X7 M. However, there’s no need to despair if you’re a fan of AWD. The latest xDrive system offers a rear-biased setup for spirited driving and it can also direct all torque to the rear wheels when AWD is not required. Not that you’ll take the X7 M on the Nurburgring, but just in case you want that RWD feeling.
The engine, transmission, and AWD system will be joined by an electronically controlled rear M differential.
Optional on the X7, it will be standard here and improve power transfer in all driving situations. The X7 M will also feature a four-wheel steering system. By turning the rear wheels in the same direction as the front, it enhances stability in high-speed maneuvers. When turning them in the opposite direction, it improves low-speed agility by decreasing the turning radius.
It remains to be seen whether the X7 M will get the same towing capability of up to 7,500 pounds as its standard sibling.
BMW X7 M Chassis and Suspension
- Retuned suspension
- Dynamic Damper Control
- air suspension
- M Sport brakes
- M Sport differential
The X7 M will probably ride on a suspension setup similar to the standard SUV.
The layout includes a double wishbone at the front and five-link arms to the rear. It will also feature the Dynamic Damper Control system with air suspension for improved handling and increased ride comfort. However, BMW will make several adjustments so that the chassis will be able to handle the extra power.
Most likely, the Dynamic Handling Package that’s optional on the X7 will be included as standard equipment on this version. The bundle includes Active Comfort Drive with road preview, Integral Active Steering, M Sport Brakes and the M Sport rear Differential. The upgrade will enhance the SUVs agility and make it more suitable for dynamic driving.
It’s also worth noting that the air suspension works in conjunction with the Dynamic Stability Control system. This means that the SUV’s load is registered by its sensors and can be factored into braking calculations.
In Sport mode, for instance, the X7's ride height is automatically lowered by 0.8 inches.
A similar setup should be offered here too.
Additionally, the new suspension can be raised in two stages up to a maximum of 1.6 inches above the standard setting. This will make the X7 M off-road capable.
BMW X7 M Driving Assist and Safety Features
The X7 M will borrow all driving assist and safety features from the X7.
Standard features on the regular SUV include Active Protection and Active Driving Assistant with Blind Spot Detection, Lane Departure Warning, Rear Collision Warning, Frontal Collision Warning and Pedestrian Warning with City Collision Mitigation, Cross Traffic Alert Rear, and Speed Limit Information.
The X7 M will probably get the extras that come with the xDrive50i too, so look for all of the above plus Parking Assistant Plus with Top View, Panorama View, and 3D View, Active Driving Assistant Professional with Active Lane Keeping Assistant, and Extended Traffic Jam Assistant.
The Driving Assistant Professional package combines the Extended Traffic Jam Assist and Lane Keeping Assistant with Active Side-Collision protection. Extended Traffic Jam Assist provides assistance in stop-and-go traffic. The bundle also includes Evasion Aid, a system that can help avoid collisions with vehicle or pedestrians that appear suddenly in your path.
Then there’s Emergency Stop Assistant, which is a new development in the field of safety systems. Designed to be used in case of medical emergency, it’s activated by pulling the parking brake switch. When activated, the vehicle brings the SUV to a stop at the edge of the road, enables the hazard warning lights, and the Intelligent Emergency Call function that automatically notifies the BMW Assist call center so the emergency services can be alerted.
Parking Assistant Professional enables automatic selection and use of parallel parking spaces, while Back-Up Assistant provides help when leaving a parking space or entering a confined area.
It takes over steering to maneuver the SUV and can reverse the vehicle for a distance of up to 50 yards. You still have to operate the acceleration and brakes, and monitor the surrounding area though.
BMW X7 M Prices
Pricing for the standard X7 is likely to start from $73,900, which will put it on par with competitors from Cadillac and Lincoln. However, the M version will be much more expensive and fetch in excess of $100,000 before options. With the AMG-tuned GLS priced from $125,300, the X7 M could come in at a similar sticker. Basically it could retail from anywhere between $120,000 and $130,000.
BMW X7 M Competition
The GLS63 is basically the only performance SUV in this niche, but it’s been around for a few years, and it’s getting a bit long in the tooth. A new-generation GLS should arrive by the end of the year, with a redesigned AMG likely to follow in 2019. The current model features a 5.5-liter V-8 that’s plenty powerful at 577 horsepower and 561 pound-feet of torque. However, the old mill will be replaced by the twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 that motivates almost every other AMG model out there. Should Mercedes go with the familiar two-model lineup, there should be an AMG GLS63 model with 563 horsepower and 550 pound-feet of torque as a "base" model. The AMG GLS63 S version should get more oomph, likely at 603 horses and 630 pound-feet, like the E-Class-based model. The current AMG GLS63 retails from $125,300, but the new-generation model could start from close to $130,000.
Read our full driven review of the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS63.
The Escalade is also due for a redesign, with the new-generation SUV likely to arrive for the 2020 model year. Granted, the current Escalade is nowhere near as powerful with 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque coming from the 6.2-liter V-8, but word has it Cadillac may add a more powerful unit. Similar to a V-Sport model, the Escalade could have a second, more powerful engine in the form of a supercharged V-8. This mill would deliver well in excess of 500 horsepower and it may even surpass the 600-horsepower mark by a bit. Naturally, this model will fetch way more than $120,000.
Read our speculative review of the next-generation Cadillac Escalade.
An M version of the massive X7 SUV may seem like a crazy idea, but BMW definitely needs a competitor for the Mercedes-AMG GLS63. With Cadillac also likely to add a V-Sport version of the Escalade, the X7 M makes that much more sense, especially in the United States. The German firm has yet to confirm that such a model is underway, but chances are BMW will make one soon enough.
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