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?

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