BMW has unveiled the 2023 X7 SUV, and there’s a good chance some of you are begging it to put it down again.
Spy photos and renderings had already given us a solid indication of what BMW had planned for the facelifted X7, but it’s still a shock to see the new face with its dramatically split light clusters. But better get used to it. BMW says this is the new corporate look for its luxury models, meaning the upcoming 7 Series, i7 and Alpina XB7 are also in line for the same treatment.
Related: BMW and Audi jump on the design trend with split headlights
The narrow strip of lights mounted just below the bonnet is not really headlights, but LED daytime running lights that act as turn signals. The real headlights are sneakily placed in a dark wrap at the bottom of the bumper, and the idea is that other road users will not even notice that they are there unless an X7 comes towards them at night.
With your eyes naturally attracted to the new lighting arrangements and satin-aluminum inserts in the bottom of the bumper, you could almost forget the fuss we all made about the X7’s jumbo grill a few years back. It has not gotten bigger for 2023, but now has a two-tone design, and X7 xDrive40i buyers can pay extra for the illuminated grill function that is standard on the M60i. Style changes at the rear are limited to two new LED headlight units and a chrome-plated glass cover that connects them.
Do not wait for an XM7, but the M Sport and M60i look good
Go for the optional M Sport package, and your X7 xDrive40i comes equipped with M-specific front and rear bumpers and side skirts, lashings of high-gloss black trim, dark finishes, trapezoidal exhaust pipes and double spokes, two-tone 21-inch wheels.
The flagship M60i goes a step further with air-friendly M side mirrors, gaping air intakes, an M-marked grille, quad exhaust pipes and 22-inch rims, and if you really want to hit the motorsport theme home, the M Sport Professional package includes extra Shadowline trim and black or blue brake calipers. Or better yet, specify “BMW M 50 Years” emblems for the bonnet, tailgate and center hubs of the wheel to show your appreciation of the half-century of the M Division by making BMWs go (or in this case just see) faster.
New curved dashboard display, but where’s the gearshift?
However, the biggest visual change after the headlights is found inside the X7. Instead of the old car’s traditional instrument cluster and separate touchscreen display, the facelifted SUV gets a combined curved display consisting of a 12.3-inch digital gauge package and a 14.9-inch touch screen with BMW’s latest iDrive 8 software. The screen is subtly angled towards the driver, as most BMW dashboards have been for the past 45 years, but can still be seen and operated by the passenger.
Another big change is the absence of a traditional gearshift for the ZF eight-speed automatic transmission, the old car’s joystick handle makes room for a much smaller shifter located next to the trusty iDrive rotary controller. How long does it take before that thing bites?
We hope there are a few years left yet, though it may be wishful thinking, now that the voice-activated BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant’s roles have been expanded to even include opening windows and panoramic sunroofs. Other labor-saving technologies include the Digital Key Plus option, which lets drivers lock and unlock their X7 using a smartphone.
Welcome to the power boost for xDrive M40i at entry level
The X7 interior can be configured with six or seven seats, and to ensure you always have enough performance at hand, even if you pull seven bodies, the base xDrive40i gets a boost of 40 hp (41 hp) to 375 hp (380 hp) PS), while the torque is up 52 lb-ft (71 Nm) to 383 lb-ft (519 Nm) and can reach as high as 398 lb-ft (540 Nm) when 48V mild-hybrid technology germinates to help out 3.0-liter inline sixes. Send that part to the sidewalk through the standard xDrive four-wheel drive system and you will hit 60 mph (96 km / h) in 5.6 seconds, says BMW.
But if you like the idea of cutting more than a second from that number, upgrade to the M60i. The warmer X7’s 4.4-liter V8 also benefits from 48V mild-hybrid technology for 2023 and breathes through a standard sports exhaust. Oddly enough, despite the technical upgrades, the 2023 M60i delivers the same 523 hp (530 PS) and 553 lb-ft (750 Nm) as the older M50i it replaces, sending an identical 4.5 seconds zero to 60 mph (96 km / h)) time.
Which may be reason enough for you to wait for the upcoming Alpina XB7, whose 4.4-liter V8 BMW says climbs from 612 hp (621 hp) to 630 hp (639 hp). Again, however, the torque is unchanged at 590 lb-ft (800 Nm), and 4.0 seconds zero to 60 mph time and 180 mph (290 km / h) top speed statistics are no better than the current car.
But the 2023 X7 models may feel a little faster on the street thanks to a new Sprint feature: Pull the left gearshift and the transmission drops to the lowest available gear, while the engine and chassis settings all shift to their sportiest settings.
The chassis includes standard air suspension on both models. The M60i adds active roll stabilization and rear-wheel steering, but if you want one of those on the xDrive40i, you’ll need to check some boxes in the selection list. Get too carried away by adding a set like BMW’s first ever 23-inch wheel option, and you might find your $ 77,850 (plus $ 995 destination) xDrive40i is starting to get so close to the $ 103,100 M60i that you might as well go for the big one. Dog. American cars arrive in the fall of 2022, so you have some time to decide, and even longer if you consider the Alpina XB7, which only lands in early 2023.
Do you like BMW’s styling revisions for the X7? Or are these new lights even worse than the grill gate? Leave a comment and tell us.