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2019 BMW X7. Photo: BMW

This week I'm driving the 2019 BMW X7, the newest and largest SUV in the German luxury manufacturer's lineup, with a sticker price of $85,445.

Why it matters: BMW is best known for producing ultimate driving machines, so I zeroed in on the ample driver-assistance features in this jumbo-size Bimmer to see how well the machine actually does the driving.

Details: Besides standard driver-assistance warnings for blind-spot detection, lane departure and front and rear collision, the X7 xDrive40i also comes with BMW's $1,700 Drivers Assistance Pro package.

  • The package includes an active lane-keeping feature for highway driving and can assist in stop-and-go traffic up to 37 miles per hour.
  • The system uses a driver-facing camera in the instrument cluster to monitor the driver’s eye and nose position to determine if the person is paying attention.
  • As long as they're attentive, they can take their hands off the wheel for 30 to 50 seconds at a time.

The bottom line: Compared to other driver-assistance technologies I've tried, the BMW X7 seemed heavy-handed. I often felt like I was competing for control, rather than being assisted.

  • But the traffic jam assistance was a welcome relief when we hit heavy traffic outside Toronto.

One other fun feature: The X7 also has the gesture-control feature introduced on the BMW 7 Series sedan, which lets you adjust the audio volume with the twirl of a finger. We had fun talking with our hands and playing around with different gestures to see what would happen.

  • But in the end, we were left wondering: What's wrong with a knob?

Go deeper

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.

11 hours ago - Health

CDC extends interval between COVID vaccine doses for exceptional cases

Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty

Patients can space out the two doses of the coronavirus vaccine by up to six weeks if it’s "not feasible" to follow the shorter recommended window, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

Driving the news: With the prospect of vaccine shortages and a low likelihood that supply will expand before April, the latest changes could provide a path to vaccinate more Americans — a top priority for President Biden.