BMW’s bizarre diesel move with new X7 SUV
BMW's new flagship X7 SUV is on its way Down Under.
The new seven-seat high-rider launches with a two-tier range in May.
Prices start at $119,900 (before on-road costs) for the base X7 30d and jumps to $169,900 for the top-shelf X7 M50d.
The price tag puts it roughly on par with the ageing Mercedes-Benz GLS - an overhauled version is due out in 2020. The BMW range-topper costs slightly less than the Audi SQ7 while the X7 30d comes with circa-$20,000 premium over the relevant Q7.
Power for the X7 30d comes from a six-cylinder turbo diesel (195kW/620kW) while the M50d gets a quad-turbo six (294kW/760Nm).
Surprisingly the X7 has several petrol options available - a 3.0-litre turbo six (250kW/450Nm) and a 4.4-litre V8 twin-turbo (340kW/650Nm) - but these won't be brought to Australia, at least initially.
Diesel power is sometime preferred for larger machines because of its increased pulling power (torque) and lower fuel use. But the fuel has been on the nose in Europe - and most of the world - due to its effect on air pollution and damaging emissions cheating scandals by Volkswagen.
Porsche has ditched diesel power from its Cayenne and Macan SUVs. Late last year Audi pulled the 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel powered Q7 SUVs from sale to make sure its AdBlue exhaust treatment worked properly and met the company's claimed emissions.
Many European cities are also committed to phasing out diesel-powered cars in the near future.
BMW hasn't acknowledged anything yet but, with the downfall of diesel accelerating, a petrol-powered version should be headed here in the near future.
The new flagship SUV will bring a high level of standard equipment and tech.
The dash is dominated by a 12.3-inch digital instrument display and an infotainment screen of the same size. But the exciting part is the brand's latest infotainment technology - which can be controlled via a digital personal assistant and responds to the prompt "Hey BMW".
BMW's assistant differs from that of other manufacturers by allowing owners to give the assistant a name to which it will respond. The assistant can be commanded in a more conversational tone with drivers simply saying "I'm cold" and the car will raise the temperature by 1 degree.
The technology will also explain to owners how certain safety features work and can provide current status - for example, a driver can ask "is the oil level OK?" and the AI assistant will respond accordingly. These features are in addition to the technology's ability to control climate and infotainment functions.
There are also a high number of driver aids including autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, parking assist, rear cross traffic warning, lane departure warning and speed limit information.
Other luxurious features include giant alloy wheels - 20 or 22-inch - plus panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery and premium audio.