Carpages Garage Presents: BMW’s new X7 (and M5, too)
Words by: Adam Allen
Toronto, Ontario- BMW wants to make an impact with its upcoming six passenger X7 SAV (that’s sports activity vehicle) so they set up a pop-up store in downtown Toronto’s financial district. The term pop-up doesn’t quite fit with BMW’s strategic offensive to move more of their products up-market, and so a ramshackle portable display simply wouldn’t do. To that end, BMW summoned its Luxury Excellence Pavilion to the Bay-Adelaide Centre, its only North American stop on its world tour. This “pop-up” is slick enough to rival even a high-end dealership, albeit on a much smaller scale.
But we didn’t fight the seemingly hopeless morning rush hour traffic to check out temporary structures, as impressive as they may be. No, we were more interested in seeing BMW’s new concept in the flesh, as well as take a peek at the upcoming M5 super sedan.
First, the X7. After siting on the sidelines for too long, this is BMW’s first plunge into the foray of the full-size luxury SUV space with the striking concept you see here. Like the X5 did many years ago, this new entry is ground-breaking for the brand not only because it is a new arrival in a competitive segment, but also because it’s a forbearer of BMW’s Number One>Next strategy of a greater offensive of new product for the luxury market. Additionally, you can view at this as a glimpse into how BMW’s design language is changing and adapting to the future.
Stand next to the X7, and its presence is palpable. Massive wheels and tires nicely fill the fenders and the twin kidney grille is imposing and makes a quite a statement. The subtle curves and gentle creases run the length of the car and work well with the X7’s size. We fawned over the crisp LED taillights and the super cool laser headlights, but the real story is inside. You’d expect a BMW to be lavished in sumptuous leather and artfully rendered woods and metals, but the number of high-resolution screens throughout is what made the biggest impact. Even the HVAC vents have little digital readouts that show the selected temperature which means each passenger can set their ideal climate according to his or her needs. We were impressed by the rear screens for the rear passengers, which can send files to one another with a swipe of the wrist, and a similar action can send a music file right to the infotainment system. This is the height of possibility of BMW’s Connected Drive technologies, and we hope that these bits of tech make it into the production version.
The model you see hear is designated as an iPerformance meaning it’s a plug-in hybrid. In current models featuring this drivetrain, you’ll find a turbocharged four cylinder under the hood augmented by electrification. BMW was tight lipped about additional engines and powertrains, but we think the twin turbo inline six and V8 found in current products are good bets to power the X7. All these details will come to light in early 2019 when it starts arriving at dealerships.
Next, we headed outside to get a closer look at the mighty M5. Using a familiar version of the S63 twin turbo V8, it’s said to be making in excess of 600 horsepower. Helping transmit the weaponized output is a new 8-speed automatic- no more M-DCT here, folks. Normally that would worry us, but the 8-speeder is much more refined around town and can still perform lighting quick gear changes when the mood strikes. This will also be the first M car fitted with all-wheel drive, but its calibration is befitting its badge. That will mean the power will be heavily biased to the rear, and if that isn’t good enough, you’ll be able to disconnect the front axle from the proceedings so lurid burnouts and power slides will still be on the menu for those who like to indulge their inner child (read: us.) The M5 is much closer to arriving in showrooms, and should start hitting the streets this spring. We can gladly tell you that you’ll hear this one coming from far away- BMW proudly started it up and demonstrated that yes, the optional sports exhaust is fantastic and it’s a must have.
BMW has never undertaken the herculean task of launching so many models in a relatively short period of time throughout its history. Not only that, but the plan to add another veneer of luxury for many of these upcoming models shows ambition to take on the world’s best. We look forward to seeing how this story unfolds, and of course, we’ll bring you all the details as soon as we can.