First, you have to get back there. This being a super-expensive luxury mobile, the whole process is powered, requiring little in the way of physical activity (but a lot in the way of time). Check out our quick walkthrough on the sequence of events in the video below.
Once there, you’re met with far more amenities and features than third-row riders typically receive, even in luxury cars. The Cognac Vernasca leather and fancy stitching extends all the way back here. So does the “Fineline Black Wood” trim — cheap plastic is nowhere in sight. The massive panoramic sunroof is cut off above the second-row’s head, but BMW has a solution to that. Yes, the third row has its own mini glass panel to look out to the sky above. It doesn’t open, but it does cut down on the feeling of claustrophobia in the back (the big quarter windows help, too).
You’re also at no risk of being a prisoner to other passengers’ climate control preferences. If equipped with the Cold Weather Package, the X7 has five-zone climate control. A panel to select your temperature and fan settings is positioned just above your head in the third row where it’s easy to reach and see what you’re doing. Also on that panel, are buttons for heated seats. So yes, you can draw the short straw on your rich friend’s skiing trip and still have a toasty butt on the way to the mountain. That is luxury. Two USB charge ports are also placed in the third row, letting both riders charge one device apiece.
Up above your head is the soft and sumptuous Alcantara headliner. It’s bejeweled with metal speaker grilles, courtesy of the $3,400 Bowers and Wilkins audio system. The audio quality is still excellent all the way in the back, too.
At 33.3 inches of third-row legroom and 36.6 inches of headroom, it’s spacious enough for an adult to sit back there. At 5-foot 10-inches tall, I could hang out back there for a short road trip. Any more than a couple hours, and I’d be asking the person in front of me to slide their seat forward an inch or two to give my knees some breathing room. I’ll also note that it’s 1.3 inches smaller than the legroom in the new Mercedes-Benz GLS, but the Mercedes is also a slightly longer vehicle.
BMW also gives you options to raise or lower the third row automatically in preparation for passengers. The easiest way is to use the buttons positioned right next to the second-row seats. Each button controls one of the third-row seats. The big advantage for you here, is that there’s no need to yank seats up and down to get the third row in place.
If you happen to be in the back hatch area, there’s a quick way to raise and lower the seats there, too. Pick the “maximum seating capacity” switch and the X7 raises all seats to attention, or vice versa with the maximum luggage capacity switch. Check it out in action below.
However, notice that the second-row seats didn’t fold. That’s because they cannot, at least not the captain’s chairs fitted to this X7. That significantly reduces the functionality of such a giant SUV, but rest assured that the standard second-row bench still folds.