BMW Goes Bigger Than Ever with Three-row 2020 X7

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New X7 flagship SUV offers turbocharged I6 and V8 power plants and semi-autonomous driving features.

Times of crisis reveal character. In the automotive world, times of opportunity reveal holes in an automaker’s lineup. The boom in the popularity of family haulers in recent years has made it clear to certain manufacturers which gaps they need to fill in their portfolios. Lexus now offers a two-row version of the LX 570 and a three-row model of the RX. BMW has made the X1, X2, X3, X4, X5, and X6 for buyers looking for space and utility in a variety of shapes and sizes. Now it’s finally making a full-size three-row SUV (Sports Activity Vehicle in BMW speak): the 2020 X7.

MotorWeek‘s Greg Carloss recently experienced BMW’s newest flagship people carrier for the first time on a road trip from Tallahassee, Florida to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It’s available in two configurations. Carloss says, “The standard setup includes second-row bench seating, which maximizes passenger capacity at seven people – two in the front, three in the second row, and two in the third row.” The optional layout replaces the middle bench with two captain’s chairs. MotorWeek Tests the 2020 BMW X7

The power sliding middle seats enable relatively easy access to the rearmost seats. Carloss has a decent amount of legroom back there, but the standard glass roof cuts into available headroom. However, Carloss adds, “Anyone six feet and under should be just fine.” MotorWeek Tests the 2020 BMW X7

The entry-level X7 xDrive40i comes standard with a single-turbo I6 that produces 335 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque. A twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 with 456 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque gets the X7 xDrive50i down the road. Both models feature BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system and an eight-speed automatic transmission that incorporates information from the GPS system and cameras to read the road ahead and shift accordingly. MotorWeek Tests the 2020 BMW X7

To make commuting and long trips easier, the X7 is available with advanced hands-free driving technologies, which BMW calls Active Driving Assisted Professional and Extended Traffic Jam Assistant. They’re optional on the base model and standard on the top-level X7. According to Carloss, “The system is capable of changing lanes at highway speeds and taking over in traffic jam situations under 38 mph without requiring the driver’s hands on the wheel. However, the driver must be looking forward and paying attention.” MotorWeek Tests the 2020 BMW X7

Look for the X7 in BMW dealerships this month. The entry-level model has a base price of $73,900; the V8-powered X7 has a starting price of $92,600.

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Derek Shiekhi's father raised him on cars. As a boy, Derek accompanied his dad as he bought classics such as post-WWII GM trucks and early Ford Mustang convertibles.

After loving cars for years and getting a bachelor's degree in Business Management, Derek decided to get an associate degree in journalism. His networking put him in contact with the editor of the Austin-American Statesman newspaper, who hired him to write freelance about automotive culture and events in Austin, Texas in 2013. One particular story led to him getting a certificate for learning the foundations of road racing.

While watching TV with his parents one fateful evening, he saw a commercial that changed his life. In it, Jeep touted the Wrangler as the Texas Auto Writers Association's "SUV of Texas." Derek knew he had to join the organization if he was going to advance as an automotive writer. He joined the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) in 2014 and was fortunate to meet several nice people who connected him to the representatives of several automakers and the people who could give him access to press vehicles (the first one he ever got the keys to was a Lexus LX 570). He's now a regular at TAWA's two main events: the Texas Auto Roundup in the spring and the Texas Truck Rodeo in the fall.

Over the past several years, Derek has learned how to drive off-road in various four-wheel-drive SUVs (he even camped out for two nights in a Land Rover), and driven around various tracks in hot hatches, muscle cars, and exotics. Several of his pieces, including his article about the 2015 Ford F-150 being crowned TAWA's 2014 "Truck of Texas" and his review of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, have won awards in TAWA's annual Excellence in Craft Competition. Last year, his JK Forum profile of Wagonmaster, a business that restores Jeep Wagoneers, won prizes in TAWA’s signature writing contest and its pickup- and SUV-focused Texas Truck Invitational.

In addition to writing for a variety of Internet Brands sites, including JK Forum, H-D Forums, The Mustang Source, Mustang Forums, LS1Tech, HondaTech, Jaguar Forums, YotaTech, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts. Derek also started There Will Be Cars on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

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