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2023 BMW X7 Review: One of the Nimblest Behemoths on the Market

The 2023 BMW X7 gets some mid-cycle improvements Automotive columnist: , Updated:

2023 BMW X7 XDrive 40i - Profile
2023 BMW X7 XDrive 40i - Profile
Photo: V.Aubé

•    Auto123 reviews the 2023 BMW X7.

•    The xDrive40i variant gets more power from its inline 6-cylinder engine for 2023.

•    The interior of the big SUV welcomes BMW’s new curved screen.

•    Also note the availability of 23-inch wheels.

The BMW X7 has been in service since the 2019 model-year, so the 2023 model-year was the logical time to make some changes to the German brand's biggest SUV. 

The new two-tiered lighting up front is probably the most striking detail, but the tweaks and improvements to the three-row SUV don't stop there. Clearly, BMW wants to maintain market share in this very utilitarian and prestigious niche. 

After all, this more "accessible" version of the X7 still retails for $108,500. That's before you even consider any options or fees associated with the purchase of this imposing German SUV. This xDrive40i model also makes do with the brand's "small" inline 6-cylinder engine.

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2023 BMW X7 XDrive 40i - Rear
2023 BMW X7 XDrive 40i - Rear
Photo: V.Aubé

The brand's new face
Purists may balk, and they may squawk, but BMW's image is going to change a lot in the next few years. We’ve already seen it with the company’s early electric vehicles as well as with the M3/M4 tandem. The plastic surgery applied to the design signature hasn’t been to everyone’s taste, but BMW has maintained course. Now the X7, already a bit of a controversial model, has received the split-level front end. 

The traditional headlight clusters have been replaced by two thin LED strips for the daytime running lights, while the headlights are housed a little lower. The famous double grille is back, but its shape has also changed somewhat. The lower portion of the bumper gets new silver openings. 

The other notable redesigns are at the rear. The LED running lights have been redesigned somewhat and the bumper has a new signature. However, some will have noticed in our images the 23-inch (!) oversized wheels, a first for the “regular” X7. In the past, the only way to get such majestic wheels was with the XB7 Alpina, which requires a much heftier extra outlay of cash than the $2,000 required to upgrade to 23-inchers, you'll agree.

2023 BMW X7 XDrive 40i - Interior
2023 BMW X7 XDrive 40i - Interior
Photo: V.Aubé

New interior ambiance
For a few months now, BMW's interiors have been swapping their more traditional layout for a curved, floating-style screen. The automaker opted to go with a one-size-fits-all solution with the panel composed of two screens. 

Purists may not appreciate all that illuminated surface, but we found the touch portion easy to use - most of the time. There were a few moments of hesitation about where to go for a specific command, but then again, when you change vehicles more than once a week, you tend to get biased towards more simplified interfaces. Owners will surely get quickly used to their BMW system and think not of it again.

The presence of 23-inch wheels, however, affects the overall comfort of the SUV. Yes, they do sharpen the vehicle's handling somewhat, but it's clear that these wheels don't mix well with our bumpy roads. The mission of such a behemoth is to transport its occupants in as much comfort as possible, not to highlight for them the crevices of the road surface. 

In short, if you want a more comfortable SUV, save $2,000 and go home with 21-inch wheels; you won't regret it. 

As for the soft seats, they're very comfortable, while the silence on board is perfect for lengthier stints of highway driving.

Otherwise, the 2023 X7 is as roomy as the 2022 edition. I particularly liked the power controls for the two second-row captain's chairs in the driver's door. Overall, despite the mid-cycle changes, the X7 is true to itself and will satisfy the expectations of this slightly more demanding clientele... at least in terms of build quality. 

.Strong points Weak points
 Comfort  Complex multimedia system
 Build quality  
 Impressive new screen 
 Very roomy 



2023 BMW X7 XDrive 40i - Steering wheel, dash
2023 BMW X7 XDrive 40i - Steering wheel, dash
Photo: V.Aubé

On the road
The xDrive40i designation means that the engine under the long hood is a 3.0L turbocharged inline-6. A less muscular choice than the twin-turbo V8, it goes without saying. But with the price of gas these days, the “small” engine is a wise choice for those who don't need the crazy acceleration provided by the bigger V8.

In fact, the 3.0L engine is more powerful this year, with 375 hp (up 40) and 398 lb-ft of torque (up 52). This additional injection of power is good for the SUV, which after all weighs in at over three tons. It takes a lot of energy to move that much mass.

The BMW X7 may be one of the best in its segment for overall agility, just don’t go thinking it can make like an M2 coupe. Even the X7's new, highly connected interior with its large floating screen only goes so far in distracting from the big Beemer’s big weight. The X7 drives like any other big three-row SUV: it's heavy, it's large and it gets bad gas mileage. 

Still, the X7 xDrive40i is not a slouch, especially when Sport mode is selected. In fact, even the lightweight 48V hybrid system helps things move off the line, though it's not quite perfected yet. There's still a delay when you get on the right pedal. On the highway or on a boulevard, however, pickup is very satisfying.

2023 BMW X7 XDrive 40i - Seating
2023 BMW X7 XDrive 40i - Seating
Photo: V.Aubé

The sound of the inline 6-cylinder engine is as convincing as ever - thanks to the M Sport package, which incorporates a performance exhaust system. At the same time, the X7's interior environment is very serene, thanks in part to the use of laminated windows. Handling is still one of the X7's strengths, although the presence of all-season tires limited our enthusiasm in sharper corners. The laws of physics must be respected and grip was not optimal once the sun dropped out of sight. 

Steering wasn't competent, although the low-profile tires had a hard time dealing with ruts on the highway. And when the lane departure warning system kicks in, driving gets a bit more tiring as you have to constantly make corrections with the steering wheel. Those few caveats aside, overall, the BMW X7 is a charm to drive.

.Strong pointsWeak points
 Quite sporty Vehicle weight
 More fuel-efficient 6-cylinder engine Big wheels (optional)
 Good acceleration  
 Road handling 
2023 BMW X7 XDrive 40i - Screen
2023 BMW X7 XDrive 40i - Screen
Photo: V.Aubé

The final word
The 2023 BMW X7 xDrive40i may not be as plush as the V8-powered offerings, but that doesn't stop it's not a great choice for buyers in the segment, particularly those who don't care to have the extra muscle.

The "small" 6-in-line works pretty well with the full-size SUV chassis and the build quality is definitely there.Those big 23-inch wheels, which make enemies of our beat-up Canadian roads? Probably not the best option. But it's an option, so your choice. For the rest, the BMW X7 has to be on your short list of luxury SUVs to consider.

2023 BMW X7 XDrive 40i - Wheel
2023 BMW X7 XDrive 40i - Wheel
Photo: V.Aubé

We like

The quality of the assembly 
The amazing agility 
The new dashboard

We like less

The cost of the options
The 23-inch wheels (!)
Some complicated functions

The competition

Audi Q7
Bentley Bentayga
Cadillac Escalade
GMC Sierra Denali
Infiniti QX80
Land Rover Range Rover
Lincoln Navigator
Jeep Grand Wagoneer
Mercedes-Benz GLS
Rolls-Royce Cullinan

Some of your questions about the 2023 BMW X7:

What are the horsepower and torque ratings for this inline 6-cylinder engine?
We're talking 375 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque.

What model will replace the X7 at the top of BMW’s SUV lineup?
The BMW XM designed exclusively by the M division.

Is the 2023 X7 already available on the Canadian market?
Yes, you'll be able to find it (in principle!) at dealerships right now.

2023 BMW X7 XDrive 40i - Logo
2023 BMW X7 XDrive 40i - Logo
Photo: V.Aubé