BMW calls its compact, midsize and full-sized sedans and sport-utility vehicles “The Ultimate Driving Machine.” Of all the German automaker’s models, the X7 M50i may come closest to meeting that “ultimate” standard of performance, comfort and utility.

Our 2020 X7 M50i had a sticker price of $113,845, making it the most expensive car we’ve driven this year. The only one that approached that sticker-shocking number was the Volvo XC90 Inscription, at $86,990.

The base X7 comes with a turbocharged V-6 engine producing 335 horsepower, and starts at $73,900. The M50i’s turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 engine is rated at a staggering 523 horsepower and 554 pound-feet of torque. Yet its fuel economy, at 15 mpg city and 21 highway, is not far out of line with other, less muscular SUVs. BMW recommends the use of premium unleaded gasoline but does not require it.

We averaged about 20 mpg in mostly highway driving.

As is typical with high-end German vehicles, the X7 requires buyers to invest in a number of expensive options to attain true luxury status. Our test car’s options included a Cold Weather Package, $1,300; Dynamic Handling Package, $3,450; Drivers Assistance Pro Package, $1,700; Executive Package, $1,300; and Bowers and Wilkins sound system, $3,400. Second-row heated seats and front ventilated seats added $1,350.

There’s plenty of competition for the X7, which debuted in 2019. Among the leading large, luxury SUVs are the XC90, Audi Q7, Mercedes-Benz GLS, Lexus GX, Infiniti QX80, Cadillac XT6, Lincoln Aviator, Land Rover Discovery and Porsche Cayenne.

The X7 truly is a delight to drive. It has one of the quietest interiors we’ve experienced, and the accommodations are among the most comfortable on the market. Its technology also is of a high order, from infotainment to safety to climate control and phone connectivity. To BMW’s credit, the all-encompassing safety systems are standard.

We’re accustomed to firm suspensions and quick, responsive handling in BMW models, from the smallest to the biggest. The X7 rides softly, yet corners well for a large SUV. Yes, the smaller BMW SUVs we’ve driven deliver crisper handling, and we suspect the X7 with the V-6 engine, 21-inch wheels and about 300 pounds less weight, would take corners more enthusiastically than the test car did.

2020 BMW X7 M50i

Price: $113,845

Engine: 4.4-liter turbocharged V-8, 523 horsepower, 554 lb.-ft. torque

Transmission: 8-speed shiftable automatic

Drive: all-wheel

Ground clearance: 8.7 in.

Weight: 5,661 lb.

Suspension: control-arm front, five-link rear, air suspension with adaptive damping

Wheels: 22x10.5-in. alloy

Tires: 315/35R22 all-season

Seating capacity: 6

Maximum cargo capacity: 90.4 cu. ft.

Maximum payload: 1,190 lb.

Maximum towing capacity: 7,500 lb.

Fuel capacity: 21.9 gal.

Fuel economy: 15 mpg city, 21 mpg highway

Fuel type: premium unleaded gasoline (recommended)

While the X7 looks big, the interior has some unexpectedly small spaces. The luggage compartment behind the third-row seat is so cramped, we couldn’t find a measurement for it online or on BMW’s website. With the second- and third-row seats lowered, however, the X7 can swallow 90.4 cubic feet of cargo.

Some drivers found the controls unnecessarily complicated; indeed, the array of buttons and dials call to mind an airliner’s cockpit. Several controls surround the iDrive controller on the center console, and in some lighting conditions, they’re hard to read.

Steven Macoy ( is a longtime car enthusiast and full-time editor who lives in Bethel.