IN A surprise move, BMW Australia has announced that the entry-level variant of its two-strong X7 SUV line-up, due to go on sale in May, will be priced at $119,900; just $12,000 more expensive than the similar-engined X5 xDrive 30d.
The keen pricing seems set to get the large SUV flagship off to a solid start when sales start in Australia, especially as the 5151mm-long behemoth offers genuine seven-adult accommodation.
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By comparison, the X5 only offers a third-row seat as an option, and is 230mm shorter overall on a wheelbase 130mm smaller than the X7 flagship.
Globally, the X7 is offered with four engines -two petrols (a 3.0-litre turbo six and a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8) and two diesels - but, initially at least, Australia will get only the diesel pair.
The twin-turbo 3.0-litre six powering the X7 xDrive 30d produces 195kW and 620Nm, giving it 0-100km/h performance of 7.0 seconds and official combined consumption of 6.5l/100km.
Above this sits the X7 M50d running a diesel six also displacing 3.0-litres, but it features four turbochargers – two conventional, two with variable geometry – to boost outputs to 294kW/760Nm, which in (standard-for-Australia) M Performance spec, pushes the price to $169,900.
Claimed 0-100km/h is 5.4 seconds. The M Performance additions include a firmer suspension set-up, faster steering response, bigger brakes, sports exhaust, and M Sport rear differential.
Both models will come standard with self-levelling air suspension, while the M50d adds rear-wheel steering to improve agility – a relative term with a vehicle of this size and weight – and provide a tighter turning circle.
Standard equipment for the 30d includes electric operation of all seats, specific buttons to raise or fold both second and third rows, 20-inch wheels running runflat tyres, soft-close function for all doors, heated front seats, head-up display, digital instrument panel, a 12.3-inch multimedia screen with voice control, and a full suite of safety and driver-assist systems.
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To this, the M50d adds 22-inch wheels, body styling package, Shadow Line exterior trim, Laserlight headlights, extended leather trim, Alcantara headliner, Harman/Kardon audio, plus of course the M Performance additions mentioned earlier.
A full drive impression will appear here on the WhichCar site on Monday March 11, and in the April edition of Wheels.