For 2019, the BMW X7 xDrive50i was selected as the best full-size luxury vehicle at the Northwest Outdoor Activity Vehicle Awards. During the testing by members of the Northwest Automotive Press Association, it impressed both on-road and off, and showed that BMW’s Ultimate Driving Machine mantra doesn’t just extend to the sportier models in its lineup.
Motivation is provided by a 4.4-liter V8 which pumps out 456 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque, which allows it to make the jump from zero to 60 in just 5.4 seconds. Power is sent to all four corners via an eight-speed automatic transmission, and there are paddle shifters, so you can wind out each gear until your heart’s content.
Now, while the BMW was great in the dirt, climbing steep grades and splashing through mud puddles without complaint, it particularly shined on the paved sections of the testing. We had a blast flinging it through the slalom and around the go-kart track, where the stiffer settings of its sport mode were much appreciated.
As we’ve said before, nobody buys a large SUV solely to carve corners, but the X7 proved you don’t have to sacrifice handling just because you’re carrying a bunch of passengers and cargo.
The runner up for the full-size luxury class was the Mercedes-Benz G550 — and make no mistake, it’s a fine rig.
Under the hood, the beefy Benz is packing a 4.0-liter twin turbo V8 good for 416 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque. Inside, it features all the elegant touches and creature comforts you’d expect from a proper German luxury sled, and it’s got the utilitarian, brick-like shape of a military vehicle, which we love. So it’s sure not lacking for charm.
Where it did lose some ground to the BMW X7 was on road portions of the test. When we took it through the slalom course and around the go-kart track, the G550’s suspension revealed it’s designed more for brutal trails than the urban jungle. On that note, it was the only luxury vehicle which was cleared to tackle the the extreme off-road course, which it navigated effortlessly. But more on that later…
For a complete write up on the G550, read Derek Shieki’s full review.
While the votes are in, if you’re considering a BMW X7 or Mercedes G550, you should definitely form your own opinion on their various merits. So schedule a test drive at your local AutoNation-affiliated dealership today!
Images: Ryan Douthit, MediaSpigot LLC.
NWAPA (www.nwapa.org) is a professional organization of automotive journalists and media members from throughout the Pacific Northwest and Southwest Canada. Founded in 1991, NWAPA includes 54 voting members representing more than 700 newspapers, magazines, radio stations, media groups, and the internet. Members of the organization have been testing SUVs and crossovers since the advent of the modern sport-utility vehicle in the mid-1990s. Non-voting NWAPA members include representatives from automotive manufacturers and related industry professionals.