BMW customers don’t buy SUVs for their off-road capabilities as they typically go for an X model because it blends luxury and comfort with practicality and technology. But what if BMW were to have a reputable, go-anywhere SUV in its ever-growing portfolio? The folks at Manhart have an idea as they’ve worked on the X7 in the top-spec M50i to give it some off-road chops, but bear in mind this is no Mercedes-AMG G63 rival.
Work started on the fullsize SUV’s air suspension to increase ground clearance by approximately 40 millimetres (1.57 inches). The “high heels” were added not only to lend the X7 a beefier stance but to also make room for the custom 20-inch Black Rhino wheels with a beadlock design by Manhart. The new shoes are wrapped around in mud-terrain tyres measuring a chunky 305/50 R20.
Gallery: BMW X7 Dirt Edition by Manhart
With these two upgrades in place, the tuner says BMW’s range-topping SUV “can easily navigate through very stony or muddy terrain.” That being said, even Manhart admits very few X7 owners take their luxobarges off the beaten path as the typical large premium SUV rarely leaves the tarmac. Nevertheless, it’s still a nifty method to make Bavaria’s top-tier X model look more butch.
The pièce de résistance is a faux armoured car look courtesy of a full body wrap consisting of matte black brushed surfaces. It even has fake rivets that stick out to trick the untrained eye into believing the SUV actually has body armour. Should you actually want a real BMW X SUV with an armoured body straight from the factory, look no further than the X5 Protection VR6 specialty model.
Manhart also spent some time modifying the engine to squeeze 641 bhp and 920 Newton-metres (679 pound-feet) of torque out of the twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8, which generates 523 bhp and 750 Nm (553 lb-ft) in standard specification.
This isn't actually the first time the Wuppertal-based tuner has given one of BMW's SUVs the "Dirt" treatment as the previous-generation X6 also got a rugged look, which even included a snorkel. Going back in time, the original X6 also got a Dirt Edition for the 2012 Essen Motor Show.