Between an all-new vehicle’s debut and its replacement with a completely redesigned model, it typically receives a “mid-cycle refresh.” The manufacturer is updating a few bolt-on, easy-to-change items, such as the bumpers and exterior lights, to get a slightly fresher look (hence the term “refresh”), and maybe it’s swapping new paint colors, wheel designs and new features too. It’s usually just enough to tide over a car for a few more years. For 2023, BMW has put its relatively new X7 three-row luxury SUV through the rigmarole, incorporating an all-new dashboard topped with its latest screens, replacing the six- and eight-cylinder engines with new ones and upgrading offering the brand’s first-ever 23-inch wheel option. The range drops from three main variants to two: the six-cylinder X7 xDrive40i and the eight-cylinder X7 M60.
Let’s face it: people will talk about the face of the X7
Donning our tinfoil hats for a moment, we have a theory: All this novelty serves to counterbalance the 2023 BMW X7’s most striking update: its face. We’re not saying a plot is brewing, but just look at the X7. BMW is going way beyond the usual round of mid-cycle changes three years into the new X7’s existence for 2019, we’re rubbing our chins and thinking maybe, just maybe, it were reservations in Munich about how the brutalist cup would play with customers.
After all, BMW designers appear to have put the headlights, fog lights, air intakes and kidney grilles of the pre-refresh X7 in a blender, then splattered it Jackson Pollock style onto the SUV’s nose. . The treatment mimics what BMW did to the latest 7 Series sedan and its electric counterpart, the i7. We’re not sure what to make of all this yet, but one thing is for sure: it’s hard not notice the new X7.
The 2023 BMW X7’s cabin remains narrower among full-size three-row luxury SUVs, but BMW’s changes have made it much nicer overall. Ride and handling improve with retuned (and standard) four-corner air suspension, adaptive dampers and rear-wheel steering (standard on the M60, optional on the xDrive40i), and the pair of new engines that replace last year’s turbocharged twin-turbo I-6 and V-8 choices bring a lot more muscle. While the X7, the volume-leading six-cylinder model, retains its xDrive40i moniker, the V-8 model adopts a new xDrive M60 badge.
During our drive near BMW’s plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where it builds its X-badged SUV models for America and other global markets, we spent most of our time in the xDrive40i. . A brief spin in the 523-horsepower M60, while fun, mostly bolstered the power of the volume-selling I-6 engine. The six-cylinder engine itself isn’t new, but it’s new to the X7 and runs the Miller combustion cycle for reduced fuel consumption, in addition to the sporty mild-hybrid boost of 48 volts. It develops 40 hp more than the straight-six it replaces, bringing its total output to 375 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque. The majority of the X7s are so equipped and now move forward with gusto and plenty of power for family-hauling duties (and beyond, go ahead, parents, have a little fun pressing the pedal). BMW claims the new six-cylinder X7 is 0.5 seconds quicker to 60 mph, hitting that speed in 5.8 seconds. As always, BMW’s powertrain polish is excellent, with the I-6 producing a quiet but pleasing rumble and no vibration, and pairing beautifully with the retuned eight-speed automatic transmission.
The M60’s 4.4-liter V8 engine is also new, but produces the same 523 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque as the old X7 M50i engine. The previously available X7 xDrive50i with a low-output V-8 disappears from the lineup. With the M60, you really should have a good reason to need that extra power before you splurge, although it also comes with a host of M performance bits and firmer suspension tuning. Oh, and the kidney grilles on the nose light up. The I-6 and V-8 are complemented by a 48-volt mild-hybrid setup incorporating a 12-hp, 148-lb-ft electric motor sandwiched between them and the transmission. Not only does this increase low-end torque, it also provides seamless engine stopping and starting capability to save fuel from a standstill as well. Speaking of which, both engines are more efficient than the ones they replace, boosting fuel economy figures across the board by 1 mpg.
BMW is proud of the newly available 23-inch wheels, a first for the brand in rim size, and while we’d probably ignore them – can you imagine replacing a 23-inch tyre? – they highlighted the improvements made to the driving of the X7. The xDrive40i we spent most of our time in had the big 23s, and other than some tire slap on the expansion joints and loud tire noise overall, they didn’t seem to have much of an impact on the driving, which was more comfortable and better insulated than before. We noticed that the 22s on the stiffer spring-loaded M60 we drove rolled about the same as the 23s on the non-M X7, suggesting that the smaller rims (20s are standard) would offer an even better ride on these less sporty models.
The cabin of the 2023 BMW X7 gets an even more thorough change than the brutalist schnoz, adopting a new instrument cluster with the iX electric SUV’s 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and 14.9-inch touchscreen. Both of these screens live in a single curved glass panel, leaving very few physical buttons anywhere else on the dash. A volume knob sits next to some defroster controls below the center display, the headlight controls sit to the left of the steering wheel, and that’s it. The center console hosts the start button, as well as ride height, drive mode and shortcut buttons (plus the iDrive control button) to key menus.
Integrating what BMW calls its “Operating System 8,” which is both a software and hardware designation for its latest displays and their underlying electrical architecture, was more complicated than finding a place to mount those displays. No matter the effort, the result seems effortless – these screens seem to belong here from the start. While the late displays of some refreshed cars can look tacky or weird, the all-new X7’s dashboard looks like it was designed from the ground up with those displays in mind. The screens’ graphics are also crisp, as is the touchscreen’s response to inputs.
BMW has also incorporated a few new features, including Trailer Backing Assist that uses the iDrive button or on-screen touch inputs to “steer” a trailer where you want it to go when backing up, expanded sensors for the collision warning system, and enhanced “learning” capabilities with which drivers can “record” low-speed parking movements – for example, entering their driveway and garage – and being able to exit the X7 and send it on its way. Standard equipment also gets more generous, with every X7 featuring heated front seats, SensaTec (leatherette)-wrapped dashboard, keyless comfort access, panoramic sunroof, air conditioning with four zones and a wireless phone charger.
Pricing for the 2023 BMW X7 is $78,845 for the xDrive40i, while the more powerful M60 starts at $104,095. Both prices include a relatively modest (for 2022, at least) destination and delivery charge of $995 – remember the X7 is built right here in America, so it doesn’t need to travel far to reach the dealers. If you dig the new look, the X7 is significantly better than it was before, with better engines, better ride quality and better tech. It’s more than a typical refresh, though we wish the styling hadn’t gone as far as the other changes.
This seems good! More details?
|Specifications of the 2023 BMW X7 xDrive 40i and M60|
|STARTING PRICE||$78,845 (xDrive40i);
|ARRANGEMENT||Front engine, all wheel drive, 6-7 pass, 4 door SUV|
|MOTORS||3.0L/375 hp/384 lb-ft Miller Cycle DOHC 24-valve I-6 turbo engine, plus 12 hp/148 lb-ft electric motor; comb 375 hp / 398 lb-ft; 4.4L/523 hp/553 lb-ft 32-valve DOHC twin-turbo V8 plus 12 hp/148 lb-ft electric motor; 523 hp / 553 lb-ft comb|
|UNLOADED WEIGHT||5,500 to 6,000 pounds (manufacturer)|
|L x W x H||204.0 x 78.7 x 72.2 inches|
|0-60MPH||4.7-5.8s (mfr east)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECONOMY||16-21/21-25/18-22 mpg|
|EPA RANGE, COMB||390-480 miles|