Last week, I was fortunate to get the chance to experience driving two of BMW’s exciting models: the X5 and the first-ever X7. From the BMW dealership in Libis, I took the majestic X7 to Tagaytay City. We then munched on sumptuous food at the Escala Hotel, where we were blessed with a breathtaking view of Taal Lake which, to me, was the icing on the cake after such a great driving experience with the X7.
After lunch, we headed back to Manila; this time, however, in the dynamic X5. Both drives were quite exceptional, given the different types of roads and locations covered, from busy Manila streets and the fast-paced expressways, to the narrower, bumpier streets heading to and from Tagaytay.
Even at first glance, you can already see the X7’s elegant fusion of presence and personality with its imposing design and athletic styling. When I first sat inside, I could immediately feel the luxury, as its modern design is paired with aesthetic precision and great comfort. The Merino leather seats add a classy vibe, while its ivory white-and-night blue combination create a sleek color scheme.
Regardless of which among the 7 seats you occupy, you will have ample leg and head room, as well as outstanding comfort on top of that. What stood out to me was the Crafted Clarity glass application for its gear shift, giving off a novel look as well as a unique feel, as if you were handling crystals in the palm of your hand.
Given that the X7 is the largest among the X series, it has a very large and broad appearance and boss-like exterior. Featuring a highly upsized version of BMW’s iconic kidney grille and the innovative BMW laserlight at the front, the X7 gives off both a sporty and authoritative look.
In terms of the drive, the swift and easy shifting through modes— sport, comfort, eco pro and adaptive —made the driving experience much more pleasant and smooth, especially given the route we traveled. Whether in stop-and-go traffic in Manila, driving fast along SLEX or heading up to Tagaytay in relatively rockier terrain, the X7’s adaptiveness allows for versatility to suit whatever situation you may find yourself in. As the first SAV (Sport Activity Vehicle) to be equipped with the M Sport exhaust unit, the X7 has great mobility and power despite its large size, as if it were an agile beast. However, not only does it merely possess modes and facets for different driving situations, but all are still able to keep that same standard of BMW excellence all throughout.
To be completely honest, the number of features that the X7 has was a bit overwhelming at first. It was like entering a control room with various different buttons and controls that differed in purpose and usages. Then again, for a vehicle with the BMW stature, there might not be such a thing as too many features. From effortlessly starting your car on the Digital Key app, being guided by the Parking Space Assistant and Reversing Assistant, being greeted with the Welcome Light Carpet as you approach the car, setting the mood with the Sky Lounge light graphics in the Panorama sunroof to many more, the X7 is littered with amazing features, to say the least.
As previously mentioned, on our way back to the city, we switched to the more compact yet just-as-impressive X5. Similar to that of its big brother, the X5 also gives off a sporty and boss-like appearance with its characterful kidney grilles and laserlights. Although the X5 may not possess all the features and modes that the X7 has, that definitely isn’t an indication that the former lacks certain aspects or has its shortcomings. Instead, it’s an indication of just how extravagant the latter is.
Still, the X5 has many features that can be greatly appreciated, from the digital services and intelligent driver assistance systems, Parking Space Assistant, Panorama glass roof with Sky Lounge, Ambient Air Package to set natural fragrances, Bowers & Wilkes Diamond Surround Sound System, to many more. Its interior’s premium feel gives off quite the luxurious essence from the leather seats, steering wheel, dashboard, infotainment system and the various different controls. The X5 also has a very generous amount of space, whether you’re seated at the front or at the back row. Furthermore, the comfort levels are, as expected, very high.
In terms of the drive, the experience was once again exceptional as we headed back through the same route. Although the X5 isn’t equipped with an M Sport exhaust, its engine is still very powerful and responsive. Shifting through the different modes is likewise easy and swift, allowing for a smooth and satisfying ride. Especially pairing this with the beautiful 22-inch light alloy wheels, you’d definitely have a pleasant ride in whatever environment you would find yourself in.
Having driven these two cars and experiencing what they truly have to offer, I must say that switching back to other vehicles definitely don’t give you that same BMW experience. During my test drive, I was actually trying to make the most out of it yet trying to be as cautious as possible, being fully aware that these are two of the most expensive cars I’ve driven myself. After experiencing the X5 and X7, I can say that both exude and embody what a BMW vehicle is: dynamic, powerful and just outright beautiful.