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BAIC ‘Beijing’ X7 280T: Newcomer is a convincing, competitive crossover

By Ghaith Madadha - May 16,2022 - Last updated at May 16,2022

Photos courtesy of BAIC

With Chinese cars just as quickly winning over many Jordanian and international drivers as the products themselves have dramatically and swiftly improved over recent years, the BAIC Beijing X7 is one of the latest and most convincing of such recent arrivals.

Produced by one of China’s largest and most experienced auto manufacturers — boasting collaborations with several foreign manufacturers — the X7 proved to be a refined, confident, elegant, spacious, well-equipped and good value proposition, even next to other moderately priced and impressive new generation co-national competitors.

 

Elegantly athletic

 

Under new management in Jordan since earlier this year and with a auto building history going back to 1958, the Chinese manufacturer is marketing the X7 and other models from different sub-brands under the core BAIC brand in the region instead. Known elsewhere as a product of the Beijing brand, the BAIC X7 is a handsome and sleek mid-size front-drive crossover that well hides its height and size with sharp, crisp lines, smoothly muscular surfacing, subtle lower black cladding and an assertive yet elegantly athletic fascia treatment. 

With slim, heavily browed headlights, and similarly narrow and a jutting upper grille element contrasting with a wide and tall — almost Aston Martin-like — lower grill, flanked by blistered side gills, the X7 cuts a dramatic figure with a sense of momentum. Its sportily flavoured styling also features a stepped clamshell bonnet emphasising height at the centre, but minimising sheet metal above the wheel-arches. Meanwhile an elegantly descending “floating” effect roofline, jutting slim rear lights and evocative Coke-bottle haunches further play to the X7’s urgent demeanour.

 

Quiet conviction

 

Offered with a single, small but prodigious engine option in Jordan, the X7 280T is powered by a transversely-mounted turbocharged 1.5-litre 4-cylinder motor driving the front wheels through a smooth shifting 7-speed automated dual-clutch gearbox. Developing 185BHP at 5,500rpm and 203lb/ft torque throughout a broad, accessible and versatile 1,500-4,500rpm plateau, the X7 is estimated to be able to propel its 1,665kg mass through the 0-100km/h acceleration benchmark in approximately 10-seconds or less. Meanwhile combined cycle fuel consumption is frugal for its class at 6.8l/100km.

Smooth and quietly well-insulated, the X7’s engine is quick-spooling and responsive, with only faint evidence of the lag often associated with turbo engines. At its best throughout its wide, rich and flexibly useful peak torque band, the X7 pulls hard through revs, and overtakes with conviction, even on briskly driven inclines. Underwritten by generous torque, the X7’s engine meanwhile builds power progressively to a comparatively low-revving maximum, where it feels confidently capable, before the next gear engages and revs drop to its mid-range sweet spot.

 

Refined ride

 

Intuitive in finding the right gear for the right moment in response to throttle input, whether in default or more responsive “sport” driving modes, the X7’s gearbox can be shifted in a sequential manual mode through the gear lever. Shifting so gives added driver control, but with shift speed-favouring smoothness over snappiness, and no steering mounted shift buttons, the X7’s gearbox is best in auto mode. Its stylishly elegant gear lever button locations meanwhile take a few minutes to get accustomed to when first manoeuvring in tight confines.

A refined and relaxing ride with terrific stability at speed and cabin noise suppression — including active noise cancellation tech — the X7 meanwhile fluently dispatches uneven and lumpy road surfacing, without the pronounced side to side jostling of occupants that some significantly more up-market competitors suffer from. Similarly better-settled and comfortable in vertical movements than many costlier crossovers, the X7 dismounts large bumps with poise and control. Forgivingly comfortable and poised over most potholes, the X7 finds a good balance between comfort and cornering body control.

 

Confident comfort

 

A comfortable, high-riding front-driven cruiser, the X7’s handling nevertheless proved to be unexpectedly adept. Turning tidily and precisely into corners, with above average agility for its class, the X7 meanwhile displayed reassuring road-holding at the rear. With dampers pushing tyres firmly into the tarmac, the X7 — unlike some better-known rivals — resisted any unintended mid-corner skips or slides on brisk, narrow and poorly paved switchbacks. Braking was similarly reassuring, while well-damped steering was accurate, intuitive and light, if not especially textured in nuance, feel and feedback.

Competitively priced, the X7 looks and drives above expectation, and is thoroughly equipped with numerous convenience, infotainment, safety and driver assistance systems, including 8-speaker sound system, three touchscreens, 360° camera, lane departure assistance, blind spot and forward collision warnings, adaptive cruise control, and parking assistance. Elegant inside, the X7 has an airy and fresh ambiance, with modern trim and good quality textures. Its driving position is supportive and well-adjustable, while rear space and cabin access is comfortable and generous, even for larger and taller occupants.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Engine: 1.5-litre, transverse, turbocharged 4-cylinders

Valve-train: 16-valve, DOHC

Gearbox: 7-speed dual-clutch automated, front-wheel-drive

Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 185 (188) [138] @5,500rpm

Specific power: 123.4BHP/litre

Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 203 (275) @1,500-4,500rpm

Specific torque: 183.4Nm/litre

0-100km/h: approximately 10-seconds (estimate)

Fuel consumption, combined: 6.8-litres/100km

Fuel capacity: 60-litres

Length: 4,710mm

Width: 1,892mm

Height: 1,715mm

Wheelbase: 2,800mm

Ground clearance: 200mm

Kerb weight: 1,665kg (estimate)

Suspension, F/R: MacPherson struts/multi-link

Steering: Electric-assisted rack & pinion

Brakes, F/R: Ventilated discs/discs

Tyres: 235/55R19

Price, on-the-road, with third party insurance: JD27,000

Warranty: 6-years or 200,000km

 

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