2020 BMW X7 vs. 2021 Volkswagen Atlas

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/10/27

The X7’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Atlas doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the middle seat shoulder belts of the BMW X7 are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Volkswagen Atlas doesn’t offer height-adjustable middle seat belts.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the X7. But it costs extra on the Atlas.

The X7’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Atlas doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the X7 and the Atlas have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning and available around view monitors.

The BMW X7 weighs 642 to 1428 pounds more than the Volkswagen Atlas. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

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The X7’s corrosion warranty is 5 years and unlimited miles longer than the Atlas’ (12/unlimited vs. 7/100,000).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the X7 for 1 year and 16000 miles longer than Volkswagen pays for maintenance for the Atlas (3/36,000 vs. 2/20,000).

Reliability

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The battery on the X7 is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the X7’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Atlas’ battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 20th in initial quality. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 25th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 9 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 12th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 10 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.

Engine

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The X7 has more powerful engines than the Atlas:

Horsepower

Torque

X7 xDrive40i 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder

335 HP

330 lbs.-ft.

X7 xDrive50i 4.4 turbo V8

456 HP

479 lbs.-ft.

X7 M50i 4.4 turbo V8

523 HP

553 lbs.-ft.

Atlas 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

235 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

Atlas 3.6 DOHC V6

276 HP

266 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the BMW X7 is faster than the Volkswagen Atlas V6:

X7 xDrive40i

X7 xDrive50i

Atlas

Zero to 60 MPH

5.7 sec

4.7 sec

7.9 sec

Quarter Mile

14.2 sec

13.2 sec

16 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97.8 MPH

107.3 MPH

81.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/10/27

On the EPA test cycle the X7 xDrive40i gets better fuel mileage than the Atlas 4Motion V6 (20 city/25 hwy vs. 16 city/22 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the X7’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Atlas doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

The X7 has 3.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Atlas (21.9 vs. 18.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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The X7’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Atlas doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the X7’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Atlas:

X7 xDrive40i

X7 M Sport

Atlas

Front Rotors

13.7 inches

15.6 inches

13.2 inches

Rear Rotors

13.6 inches

14.6 inches

12.2 inches

The X7 stops shorter than the Atlas:

X7

Atlas

70 to 0 MPH

169 feet

174 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

136 feet

139 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the X7 has larger standard tires than the Atlas (F:275/40R22 & R:315/35R22 vs. 245/60R18). The X7’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Atlas (285/45R21 vs. 265/45R21).

The X7’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Atlas’ standard 60 series tires. The X7’s optional 275/40R22 front and 315/35R22 rear tires have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile than the Atlas SEL Premium’s optional 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the X7 has standard 21-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Atlas. The X7’s optional 22-inch wheels are larger than the 21-inch wheels optional on the Atlas SEL Premium.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the X7 can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Atlas doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The X7 has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the X7 flat and controlled during cornering. The Atlas’ suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The front and rear suspension of the X7 uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the Atlas, which uses coil springs. Air springs maintain proper ride height and ride more smoothly.

The X7 has a standard driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Atlas’ suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The X7 has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The X7’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The Atlas doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the X7’s wheelbase is 4.9 inches longer than on the Atlas (122.2 inches vs. 117.3 inches).

The X7’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (51% to 49%) than the Atlas’ (55.1% to 44.9%). This gives the X7 more stable handling and braking.

The X7 xDrive50i executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Atlas SEL 4Motion (27 seconds @ .69 average G’s vs. 27.9 seconds @ .61 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the X7 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Atlas (8.7 vs. 8 inches), allowing the X7 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/10/27

The front grille of the X7 uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Atlas doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Cargo Capacity

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Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the X7’s second and third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Atlas doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

The X7’s rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the tailgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The Atlas’ rear cargo window doesn’t open.

Towing

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The X7’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Atlas’ (5950 vs. 2000 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Volkswagen Atlas is only 5000 pounds. The X7 offers up to a 7500 lbs. towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

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The engine in the X7 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Atlas. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Atlas SEL/SEL Premium/R-Line, the X7 offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The X7’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Atlas doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The X7 offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Atlas doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

If the windows are left open on the X7 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Atlas can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

The X7’s standard rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Atlas has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The X7 has standard heated front and optional heated second and third row seats, which keep the driver and passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Volkswagen doesn’t offer heated seats in the third row of the Atlas.

The X7 offers optional massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the Atlas.

The X7 has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Atlas SE/SEL/SEL Premium.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the BMW X7 has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. Only the Atlas SE/SEL/SEL Premium/R-Line offers wireless charging.

The X7’s optional Parking Assistant Plus can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Atlas SEL Premium’s automatic parking system requires operating the brakes and transmission to safely park.

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