- BMW‘s X7 is the company’s biggest and most high-end SUV.
- It’s packed with tech features such as lane keep, dynamic cruise control, and parking assistant.
- We tested all of the features and everything was helpful except the parking assistant and gesture controls.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Following is a transcript of the video.
Matt DeBord: Make sure that the wheel is turning. The wheel is turning. Wow, OK, it’s an act of faith here.
Today, we’re testing out BMW’s largest SUV ever, the X7. I’m Matt DeBord. I get behind the wheel of the hottest cars and test them in real-world scenarios. Today, I’m testing all of the tech and driver-assistance features in the BMW X7 to see what’s actually helpful and what’s a gimmick. This is “Real Reviews” from Cars INSIDER.
BMW has added a seven-seater to its well-known lineup of SUVs. The new kid on the block is a big boy. It’s an SUV version of the 7 Series Sedan, and what that means is that it’s packed with premium features and lots of technology to assist in driving the ultimate driving machine. But before we hit the road, let’s talk about the styling of the X7 and everything it has to offer.
The BMW X7 is, quite frankly, huge. It weighs in at nearly 3 tons and is 17 feet long. For the most part, it looks like what it’s supposed to be: a mashup of the flagship 7 Series Sedan and a very beefed-up X5 SUV, but you can’t ignore the most obvious feature: that absurdly massive kidney grill. It looks like it was borrowed from a 1920s Bentley. Love it or hate it, I sorta love it, there’s no question that it’s large and in charge. Inside the X7 is a den of luxury, just like the 7 Series. Everywhere you look, there’s rich leather and gorgeous details, including a three-pane moonroof that floods the cabin with natural light. For the driver, some of the more hardcore sport-driving aspects have been sacrificed for outrageous comfort. You’re surrounded by glossy black surfaces, brushed metal, and a lot of knobs, buttons, and shimmery screens. It’s definitely over the top, and it should be for a $US108,000 price tag. As for that third row, well, it’s cosy, and if you have kids, they might like it way back there. But enough talking, let’s put the X7 to the test.
I’m gonna take the X7 on a one-hour journey from downtown Manhattan to Montclair, New Jersey. Along the way, I’ll test driving semi-autonomously with its dynamic cruise-control and lane-keep functions, I’ll use my hands and voice to control the infotainment system, and I’ll see if it can park and back up on its own.
OK, so now we’re out on the highway in stop-and-go traffic, and I was able to activate the semi-self-driving feature that we were using in the city. So I’ve set the speed at 20. I’m gonna take it up to 50, and I set the following distance pretty far, which is the way I like it, and what will happen now is the adaptive cruise control and the lane-keep assist will keep the car in its lane. So I’m not using any brakes or accelerator here, I’m gonna just see if it will whip me around the car that’s in front of me, which it does. So this is this the experience I had driving it the other day, it’s a little bit, it can be a little bit tentative at times. I think it’s erring on the side of caution. This vehicle wants to be real careful about it speeding up when the system is on. So that’s interesting, it should have warned me that guy was coming over into my lane, and I did not get a warning from the system, so you gotta be paying attention. You absolutely have to be paying attention. But overall, I think lane keep and dynamic cruise control are helpful features, not gimmicks.
So there’s different gestures you can allegedly use within different functions on the infotainment system. So now we’re in full-on nav, you see if I wave my hand like that, it throws up the menu, and if I sweep it back like that, it’s supposed to go back to, see it’s supposed to go back to being, to being not like it with these menus, but it doesn’t always work. So if you do this, it turns the volume up. It’s supposed to anyway. See, and then if you do that, it turns it back down. It’s just, it’s very confusing, y’know? There’s a series of gestures that you should be able to use, sweeping gestures like that, OK, that wiped it clean, but now it’s back. These gestures are a cool idea that don’t always work as well as advertised, so I think this is a bit of a work in progress for BMW. I’ve had this experience on every BMW I’ve tested out that has this feature. The biggest gimmick is the gesture-control aspect of the infotainment system. Sounds good, never really works the way it’s supposed to, and at times, because you’re waving your hands around, it changes something that you don’t want to change.
All right, let’s try some voice-command features. You push this button on the steering wheel, the microphone button. Tune to 91.1FM.
BMW: I’m playing the frequency 91.1.
Matt: That was a little slower than what I’m used to. I use this system a lot to tune the radio nowadays, and it’s pretty good for navigation, but it won’t do things like… raise the temperature.
BMW: What temperature should I set?
Matt: Oh, wait, look at that! 72 degrees.
BMW: I’m setting the temperature on the driver’s side to 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Matt: Ah, look at that, it does work! I was sceptical about that. I don’t use it to change the temperature very much, but it will do it. Increase the fan.
BMW: The fan intensity can be set by voice only in automatic mode.
Matt: Oh, I don’t know what that means. So as you can see, there’s a couple of things you can do with it that are quite useful. You can somewhat manage the climate-control system, you can change the radio station or the SiriusXM station, and you can manage the navigation system.
OK, we’ve come to the end of our mini road trip, and we’re going to test out the automated-parking feature to see if the BMW X7 can locate and parallel park itself. All right, it has not located the spot. Let’s try it again. Oh, there we go, it found that spot. It’s just not doing it, see? That’s gonna crash into that car. OK, fail. Sorry, didn’t work. It’s kind of a gimmick, what do you think? Gimmick? I think it’s a gimmick.
OK, now that our parking assistant, the automated-parking feature, has failed, we’re gonna give the backup assistant a shot. Now we’re gonna see if the car can back up. Seventy-six feet seems to know what it’s doing. Does it make sure that the wheel is turning? The wheel is turning. And… It… Wow, OK, it’s an act of faith here. That was a… That worked. That worked. Did you see the wheel spinning like crazy there though?
So there you have it, the BMW X7. As far as driving performance goes, it lives up to BMW’s reputation. Now, as far as the stuff inside that we tested out, the features, I didn’t like the gesture control in the infotainment system, and I think the parking-assist features either don’t work very well or are downright scary when they do work. So the big question is, is it worth $US108,000? And I think the answer is: yes. It’s worth $US108,000. BMW has done a good job with its largest-ever SUV.
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