BMW has joined the seven-seat SUV segment with the new X7. The SUV targets Cadillac’s money maker with three rows of seats, brash design and a certain German cache.
The two SUVs are nearly tit for tat when it comes to dimensions. The BMW X7 measures in at 203.3 inches in length, 78.7 inches wide and 71.1 inches tall and a wheelbase length of 122.2 inches. The Cadillac Escalade is slightly longer at 203.9 inches, wider at 80.5 inches, taller at 74.4 inches, and its wheelbase is just four inches longer.
Matching the big Bimmer’s proportions are an exaggerated kidney bean grille, slim headlights and taillights, and rear doors that are actually longer than the front to emphasize the space inside. BMW said the longer rear doors also help ease entry and exit in the X7. The rear is typical BMW design with a chrome strip spanning the taillights to maximize its behemoth-like presence.
SUVs like the X7 quickly make the Escalade begin to look dated, and that’s especially true when seeing the X7’s interior. This is certainly no GM interior with trim surfaces framed with electroplated accents on the instrument panel and center console. The final design feels more exquisite, and that’s saying something since the Escalade arguably offers Cadillac’s poshest interior. The Escalade is just starting to look rather old in comparison.
Inside, customers can make do with the standard seating configuration with two full-size seats in the third row, or opt for a six-seater configuration. The latter places captain’s chairs in the second row, which offer identical support and comfort to the front seats. Armrests and comfort cushions are included, should six seats make do over seven.
On the powertrain front, the X7 will feature a standard 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six engine with 335 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque. While that’s a far cry from the 6.2-liter V8 engine making 420 hp stuffed in the Escalade, an optional 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 engine outdoes the Cadillac’s small-block. The boosted V8 makes a healthy 456 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are matched with an eight-speed automatic transmission and BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system with an optional locking rear differential.
The standard Escalade rings in at $74,500, including destination, for a base model, which matches up well with the X7’s $74,895 starting price, also including a $995 destination fee. However, those looking for V8 power will be required to spend at least $93,595 for the xDrive50i model. By that point, an Escalade customer can have a very well optioned Escalade with standard V8 power.
And it’s Cadillac’s move; the brand will have an all-new Escalade for the 2020 model year.