The standard eight-speed automatic gearbox, meanwhile, is excellent, with a quick and resolute shift action no matter how hard the engine is working. New here for the X7 xDrive40i is launch control and a sprint function that bypasses gears to automatically select the lowest possible gear and higher performance drive modes when the left shift paddle is held. Altogether, there are four driving modes: Personal, Sport, Eco and Individual. 

An official time of 5.8sec makes the facelifted model 0.3sec quicker from 0-62mph than its predecessor, reflecting the added urgency brought by the electrification measures. Punchy, then. But it is also more refined, with truly hushed qualities during constant throttle running in automatic mode on the motorway. 

Fuel consumption has also improved. BMW claims a WLTP average of up to 30.7mpg in Eco mode. This betters the 29.4mpg of the old model.

Given its outright size and weight, the facelifted X7 xDrive40i is not the sort of SUV you’d expect to excel when driven briskly. Like its predecessor, however, it is pleasingly agile and composed when extended on challenging canyon roads like those we experienced at its launch in Palm Springs.

The basis to the impressive dynamic character is the latest version of BMW’s dual-axle air suspension with adaptive damping and an automatic self-levelling system. It all brings outstanding stability, excellent rolling comfort and an ability to smooth out undulating sections of bitumen. 

The steering, light but precise in the context of these cars, serves to build confidence. It is supported by optional Integral Active Steering, which comes as part of a Dynamic Handling Package. This enables between 3.0deg and 4.0deg of steering angle for the rear wheels, depending on the speed, and gives the big BMW sharp and immediate turn-in. 

With the quick-acting latest evolution of BMW’s xDrive four-wheel drive system, there is also an abundance of grip and impressive levels of traction. Lean is very well controlled during sudden changes of direction, too. Overall, the X7 is a class dynamic act. 

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