Power play: BMW releases new X7 model in the Middle East

With the German marque beefing up its luxury SAV, we take a closer look at what’s changed in the X7 M50i

BMW is introducing extra power to its Middle East range with the launch of the X7 M50i, a fearsome new vehicle that will likely be a great presence both on city streets and where concrete is in much shorter supply.

Look through the photo gallery above to see more of the car.

The marque has given this incarnation a 4.4-litre V8 engine. As it's the same engine BMW uses in its M850i coupe, it will chuck the best part of 530bhp down and do 0-100 kilometres per hour in a meagre 4.7 seconds. They're calling this an SAV, or sports activity vehicle, but if the extra oomph is as impressive as it sounds, you might as well call it a sports attack vehicle.

Have we mentioned it's heavy? BMW has taken this into account, though, by increasing the size of the turbochargers, while the direct petrol injection performs at a new maximum pressure level. The company has also upgraded the crankcase, cylinder barrels, pistons, crankshaft and cylinder head. At full whack, it'll do 250kph.

All this comes from a car with a third row of seats, which means any driver unmannerly enough can give six passengers more than a bit of a fright if he or she is showing off the car's Sport Plus mode on a convenient track or craggy bit of off-roading terrain. The designers and technicians behind the early people carriers from the 1980s probably didn't envisage the kind of vehicles their early creations would morph into.

Unsurprisingly, the people in charge of making the new X7 M50i pretty have done their best on the inside, too. The M logo appears on the steering wheel and gear lever (lest you forget what you're driving and need a reminder) and the upholstery is largely contrast-stitched leather. Much of the hard surface area is high-gloss wood and metal, which raises it above some of the more basic entrants in the off-road, or people mover, markets.

The X7 was launched in 2014 as a direct rival to the Mercedes-Benz GLS and has shown itself as a serious contender in its field. This latest version was unveiled in the UAE last month at the locally organised BMW X Roadshow.

It remains to be seen whether the new X7 can put all that fresh power down in an effective way. We'll be testing one in the near future, so we'll find out.