2019 BMW X7 SAV & 2019 BMW i8 Coupe
Trailblazers in luxury and technology
By Davio Rodriguez
BMW is a brand synonymous with luxury. With such a long history and a strong cultural presence, there’s no questioning this fact—people buy their cars expecting a luxury product. Innovation is something people associate with the brand after-the-fact, even though BMW has adopted many progressive designs way before other automakers caught on (their telescopic front suspension was considered “ahead of its time,” but is now standard across the board). Two of BMW’s newest models continue this tradition of innovative designs: the 2019 BMW X7 SAV and the 2019 BMW i8 Coupe. The 2019 X7 has been called the biggest BMW ever manufactured, properly accommodating past promises of more cargo space and legroom for passengers. The 2019 i8 lands on the opposite end of this spectrum—trading size for power. Both machines are notable for their gas-saving engines, with a plug-in hybrid option available for the X7 and a plug-in hybrid standard for the latter.
2019 BMW X7 SAV Trying something new is the hardest thing a brand can do, especially when a brand is hyper-conscious of what the market expects. This anxiety can cause many companies to buckle under pressure and run an unchanging formula until milked completely dry—a phenomenon with no name except in Hollywood—“franchise fatigue.” The X7 is the German automotive group’s first attempt to escape such a fate. But, BMW’s biggest car faces an even bigger hurdle—a reputation for fast, easy-handling vehicles, which makes their careful tip-toe into the full-size three-row luxury crossover market impressive. Because of this, its concept unveiling back in 2014 plunged the X7 into an overwhelm-ing, possibly well-founded, frenzy within the auto world. Described as too “intimidating” to be a BMW, there was a fear rampant among auto media that the legendary German firm had lost its touch. However, much like the underdog in any heart-touching 90s sports film, BMW has made a satisfying comeback.
Operating on the same CLAR architecture that services series 3 to 7, the X7 has the same creamy handling expected of its smaller relatives. Four different models will be available: The xDrive40i, xDrive50i, xDrive30d, and the M50d. Of the four, only three will have a six-cylinder engine with eight-speed transmission and a MPG rating reaching as high as 43.5, while the xDrive50i will have a V8 engine for higher capacity and output. Slated for arrival in March 2019, and currently available for pre-order, the X7 will be the most lux SAV on the road.
2019 BMW i8 Coupe
Usually, when someone describes a car as like a space-ship—the bubble-domed cars of the 1950s might come to mind. Despite this, many recent reviews of the 2019 i8 are redefining the term for its modern, starbound appearance. The i8’s design philosophy is sleek and smart—metallic gold and grey, plus other striking color options, curves and a forward-leaning posture suggest dynamic motion. Some have even made the mistake of comparing it to Tesla’s Roadster. But, as BMW executive Klaus Fröhlich said during the 2017 LA Auto Show, “Unlike some in the industry, we do not just Twitter, we deliver on our promises.” True to form, the 2019 i8 is a revolution-on-wheels—a plug-in hybrid that pairs a 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine with a 11.6 kWh lithium-ion battery and two electric motors for a total of 369 horsepower. A fuel tank capacity of 11.1 gallons and a stellar combined MPG rating of 69 means less stopping for gas. With steely looks and great specs to match, the i8 will be the dream car of 2019.