The popular consensus in the automotive community is that BMW has done a great job with its latest crop of vehicles, including the likes of the X3, X5, 3 Series, and others. The X6, now available in its third generation, is also included in that group, and so is the X7, which was available for the time starting with the 2019 model year. Driving dynamics have improved, power is up across the board, and interior quality is closer what first drew many of us into BMW ownership to begin with. Technology is more prevalent than ever, but compared with the days of the E65 7 Series, usability and interface have now reached a point of seamlessness in our lives.
Last month, WardsAuto, the same publication that has perennially recognized BMW engines as being among the best on the market, has awarded the X7 and the X6 M. In the case of the X7, the three-row SAV that happens to be the largest BMW ever, the recognition is for user experience, criteria the focuses heavily on iDrive and the supporting interfaces like the all-digital instrument display and center-console control pad, among others. The X6 M, on the other hand, has been awarded for having one of the 10 best interiors for 2020.
According to BMW, “The seven-passenger BMW X7 arrived in 2019 and immediately resonated with BMW customers looking for the increased space and comfort of a three-row Sports Activity Vehicle without any compromises in performance or handling, which BMW is renowned for.”
The numbers don’t lie, and since the X7 reached widespread availability last year, it’s been one of the stronger selling models in the lineup, joining the ranks of the X3 (the most popular current BMW model) and the X5. With Audi and Mercedes-Benz already having long occupied the segment, it seems the notion that there was pent-up demand for a three-row BMW SAV has been proven correct. Putting the market segment discussions aside, WardsAuto recognized the X7 for offering an exceptional user experience. Tom Murphy, WardsAuto Managing Editor, offered the following commentary:
“The X7, BMW’s largest vehicle ever, incorporates the first-rate drivetrain and interior one would expect from the German luxury brand, but it’s also designed to sooth the soul with a user experience beyond compare. The X7 has a “Caring Car” menu as part of the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, which serves as a portal to personal wellness and rejuvenation. The X7’s infotainment system also has ‘Experience Modes’ to tailor your ride for optimum comfort. The driver can toggle through “Executive,” “Expressive” and “Well Being,” each one adjusting comfort settings based on your mood or situation. Beyond all that, the X7 has quick phone pairing, wireless charging, WiFi connectivity, up to eight USB ports, brilliant graphics, an intuitive iDrive user interface, and top-notch driver-assistance systems. You can’t ask for much more.”
In terms of styling and design, the X6 is one of the most compelling BMW models on sale right now, and the X6 M takes the presence to another level. Muscular is perhaps the most apt descriptor for the current X6 M, both in terms of its chiseled appearance and 600-plus horsepower rating. For WardsAuto though, it’s all about the interior, more specifically the excellent seats of the X6 M. Tom Murphy of WardsAuto had the following to say:
“There are certain design and styling elements that make a BMW interior unmistakable. The dramatic coupe-like profile makes the X6 look much sportier than a conventional SUV, and the interior amplifies these themes with carbon-fiber trim, tri-color stitching and a color scheme that demands your attention. But it’s the seats, with hexagonal quilting on Merino leather, that shine as the brightest star in the X6 M interior, with integrated head restraints and massive shoulder and hip bolsters that secure front-row occupants for the full experience of the Ultimate Driving Machine.”
To some staunch enthusiasts, BMW’s SAVs and SACs remain divisive, even a full two decades removed from the introduction of the initial X5. The automotive world has long since embraced them, however, and every year, they accumulate more awards.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]