The BMW X7 has quickly become one of those SUVs. You know the type; when they come out, everyone in the school drop-off procession has one, a drive through a gated community sees them parked alongside manicured lawns, and they fit in just as well in the mall or country club parking lot. In the build-up to and subsequent market reaction to the X7, we noted how there seemed to be pent-up demand for a three-row BMW SAV. And since you’ve been able to buy one, sales have been strong, with the X7 joining the ranks of the X5 and X3 as one of the brand’s volume sellers, leaving no question as to whether or not a market exists for the largest BMW yet.
BMW loves special editions. Anniversary editions, M Heritage edition, First Editions, etcetera; when presented with an opportunity to give an already exceptional model a bit more flair, shall we say, the automaker rarely hesitates. In some cases, these cars are truly remarkable in terms of their special equipment, while in others, they’re not much more than a special paint finish and some aesthetic add-ons.
The X7 Dark Shadow Edition seems to strike a decent balance between the two. To be fair, the changes and selected treatments are all aesthetic, but there’s a good reason why offering them all together in a single, cohesive package makes a lot of sense. As we mentioned above, the X7 is one of the new must-have models for individuals of certain status.
You’ve seen blacked-out Mercedes-Benz G Wagens before, and if not, perhaps you’ve laid eyes upon a blacked-out Cadillac Escalade of one generation or another. For 2020, Chevrolet offers Midnight Editions of their Suburban and Tahoe, and last year, one of the biggest BMW-related stories was the Vantablack X6 exhibited by the automaker at IAA Frankfurt. Rolls-Royce has found great success with its Black Badge cars, perhaps most notably the Cullinan, so why not a Dark Shadow Edition X7? It’s the first special edition of the X7, and it seems fitting.
High Gloss Shadowline trim is by no means a new addition to the BMW design palette. E46 3 Series ZHP aficionados will be familiar with it, as will drivers of more modern M Sport and M Performance models. In the case of the X7 Dark Shadow Edition, the trim is used extensively, beyond acting as a transition from glass window panes to body panels. A similar black chrome finish complements the mirror-like Shadowline trim in places like kidney grille, air breathers, and tailpipe covers. BMW says it contrasts nicely with the shimmering body lines of the matte finish surface—more on that later—while the roof rails are also finished in High Gloss Shadowline. Twenty-two-inch wheels are also finished in Jet Black. The only things missing are tinted light lenses, something BMW offers for other models.
Interior appointments follow a similar methodology. Wherever possible, BMW has chosen dark colors and accents to create an immersive environment that captivates occupants. The dash and instrument panel, door panels, and seating use a distinct extended bicolor leather design of Night Blue—one of the best current BMW interior colors—and black. The steering wheel is also one of the best components from the BMW parts bin; the current M leather design. Fineline Black trim with aluminum inlays complete the aesthetic, while the center console uses Piano Black trim with what appear to be glass control surfaces. The Black Shadow Edition badge reminds you of what you’re driving.
The exterior finish is BMW Individual Frozen Arctic Grey metallic, which is a matte version of the X7’s launch color. Although Arctic Grey Metallic can be specified on other current BMW models, it sounds like the frozen version may be exclusive to the X7 Dark Shadow, at least for now. If you’re in the market for an X5 or X6 though, you may be in luck, as BMW will be offering new finishes for these cars in conjunction with the special edition X7, which include Urban Green and Grigio Telesto metallic.
According to BMW, “about” 500 units of the X7 Dark Shadow Edition will be produced at Group Plant Spartanburg in South Carolina. Other sources say production will be limited to 600 units, 75 of which will be offered to U.S. customers.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]