Like it or not, the X7 is here, and it’s here to stay

The BMW X7 has arrived, and it’s poised to take the reigns from the X5 as Bavaria’s new flagship SUV. The full-sized behemoth will have its hands full competing against the likes of the Mercedes GLS-Class and the Land Rover Range Rover. For the time being, at least, the X7 will also draw comparisons to the model it’s replacing atop the BMW SUV food chain. Fair or not, the X7 will be compared to the X5, in part to judge the merits of the X7 as Bimmer’s new flagship SUV. The latter now holds the keys to BMW’s SUV kingdom as all eyes will be on it to see if it can elevate the German automaker’s status in the market.

Is the 2019 BMW X7 Just a Larger X5?

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On the surface, the BMW X7 looks larger than the BMW X5, but you’d be surprised that the latter isn’t that far off in the size department.

Sure, the X7 is taller by almost three inches — 71.06 inches to 68.7 inches, but the X5 is actually wider than the X7.

It’s not by much — 78.9 inches to 78.7 inches — but it’s still a little surprising considering that the X7 was packaged as a full-sized SUV. The surprising similarities don’t end there, either. The front sections of both models look like dead ringers for one another. The X7 has the bigger headlamps and the bigger grille, but the design is roughly the same compared to the X5. There’s a bit of a difference in the lower section, namely the chrome applications that give the X7 a more premium look. The bigger hood also gives the X7 a more chiseled appearance, but when you package the designs of both SUVs, the X7 really is just a more brutish version of the X5. That’s a surprise in it of itself.

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Speaking of surprising, you can’t really tell the difference between the X7 and the X5 from the side unless you line them up side-by-side.

That’s where you’re going to see the length of the X7, which stretches 203.3 inches. That’s almost a foot longer than the 193.8-inch X5.

Those numbers mean something, too, because nine inches is enough space for a full-blown third-row for passengers with enough space left over compared to an optional third-row that doubles as cargo space. That extra nine inches is where the X7 establishes itself as BMW’s flagship full-sized SUV. In terms of design, the X7’s profile is more robust than the X5, and it has more creative character lines than the X5. But other than that and the design elements in the front and rear that bleed into the side profile of both SUVs, there’s not a lot here that really separates the X7’s styling from the X5.

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In keeping with the theme that both these SUVs look more alike than they probably should, the rear section provides the latest evidence of that.

The X7’s short height advantage is more noticeable from this angle and the chrome bar that connects both taillamps add a touch of premium quality to the flagship SUV.

The placement of the small brake lamps is also different — the ones on the X7 are integrated into the bumper while the ones on the X5 sit just above the bumper — but other than that, it’s startling to see just how similar they look, right down to the distribution of the body layers. I don’t know if BMW intended it to be this way or it should have spent more time giving the X7 a more unique look. Either way, it’s all very surprising.

BMW X7 vs. BMW X5 exterior dimensions

BMW X7 BMW X5
Length inches 203.3 193.77
Width inches 78.7 78.89
Height inches 71.1 68.7
Wheelbase inches 122.2 117.1

Spot the Difference Inside if You Can

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The layout of the dashboard is startling, largely because they look about as identical as they can get. The instrument cluster and the infotainment system are mirror images of each other. The layout of the buttons in the center console is the same. Even the tunnels look like doppelgängers.

I assume that BMW has a few extra pieces to offer as far as options and accessories are concerned, but as they look now, the respective dashboards of the X7 and X5 might as well be classified as twins.

That said, interior space is where the X7 trumps the X5. No more is that evident than in the cargo space department where the X7 boasts a voluminous 48.6 cubic-feet in space when all the rows are in their full and upright positions. By comparison, the X5 “only” has 22.8 cubic-feet in space in the same setup. Drop the seats entirely, and the X7 improves its space to 90.4 cubic-feet while the X5 can only get up to 65.7 cubic-feet in space when its seats are folded.

BMW X7 vs. BMW X5 interior dimensions

BMW X7 BMW X5
Shoulder width front inches 60.0 60.0
Shoulder room 2nd row inches 58.1 58.1
Shoulder room 3rd row Inches 47.9 -
Legroom front inches 39.8 39.8
Legroom 2nd row inches 37.6 37.4
Legroom 3rd row inches 33.3 -
Headroom front inches 41.9 40.8
Headroom 2nd row inches 39.9 38.7
Headroom 3rd row inches 36.6 -
Trunk volume (SAE) ft³ 48.6 – 90.4 33.9-72.3

The 2019 BMW X5 is Faster than the 2019 BMW X7

2019 BMW X7 Exterior
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Just like the BMW X5, the BMW X7 comes with a number of engine options, including a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six cylinder engine and a meatier 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine. The former produces 335 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque, good enough to help the X7 accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds.

For its part, the twin-turbo V-8 can churn out 456 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque on its way to a 0-to-60-mph time of 5.2 seconds.

Customers in Europe won’t get the V-8-powered X7, but in its place are a couple of diesel options, including a 3.0-liter inline-six diesel that produces 261 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque and a 3.0-liter quad-turbo diesel engine with 395 horsepower and 551 pound-feet of torque on tap.

2019 BMW X5
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The X5 boasts the same engine lineup, albeit tuned to produce different amounts of power. The 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six cylinder, for example, surprisingly has slightly more power — 340 horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque — than its X7 counterpart. That translates to the SUV’s acceleration time, too, as the X5 can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, 0.3 seconds quicker than the X7. It’s the same story with the 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8.

The X5’s engine produces 462 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, allowing it to hit 60 mph from an idle position in 4.7 seconds. That’s half-a-second quicker than the X7.

Diesel versions of the X5 are also available in Europe with the same engine lineup. The 3.0-liter inline-six produces 265 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque while the quad-turbo unit rolls out 400 ponies and 560 pound-feet of torque.

The performance times aren’t surprising considering that the X7 is bigger than the X5. But the big discrepancy is eyebrow-raising, as is the fact that, by all accounts, the X5 beats the X7 in the amount of power it can provide.

BMW X7 vs. BMW X5 specifications

BMW X7 xDr40i BMW X7 xDr50i BMW X5 xDr40i BMW X5 xDr50i
Cylinders 6 8 6 8
Valves per cylinder 4 4 4 4
Displacement cm³ 2,998 4,395 2,998 4,395
Engine power hp 335 456 335 456
at rpm 1/min 5,500 – 6,500 5,250 – 6,000 5,500 – 6,500 5,250 – 6,000
Engine torque ft. lbs. 330 479 330 479
at rpm 1/min 1,500 – 5,200 1,500 – 4,750 1,500 – 5,200 1,500 – 4,750
Curb weight lbs. 5,370 5,617 4,813 5,170
0-60 mph seconds 5.8 5.2 5.3 4.6
Top speed mph 130 130 130 130

Food for thought

2019 BMW X7 Exterior
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All of this isn’t going to take away from the new car smell of the BMW X7. Its debut as BMW’s new flagship SUV should be celebrated. It deserves its place in Bimmer’s SUV hierarchy, and it puts the X5 in a far more comfortable place itself. But it is surprising that BMW didn’t establish the X7 more emphatically. There are far too many similarities with the X5 that makes you wonder if the X7 even has its own identity.

Further reading

2019 BMW X7 Exterior
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Read our full review on the2019 BMW X7.

2019 BMW X5
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Read our full review on the 2019 BMW X5.

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