One of the features we rarely speak about is rear-wheel steering, or as BMW calls it, Integral Active Steering. It’s not exactly a novelty in the automotive industry as many models from Munich have had it long before the X7. As a matter of fact, the technology has been around since 1985 as Nissan pioneered this system on the Skyline R31 before the Honda Prelude popularized it a couple of years later.
Standard on the M60i and optional on the regular xDrive40i, rear-wheel steering makes the fullsize SUV’s slightly more maneuverable. It does so by turning the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the front ones, thus making it easier to control in tight spaces. It works from 5 to 37 mph (8 to 60 km/h) by turning the wheels by up to three degrees and reduces the turning circle by roughly 3.28 feet (one meter).
From 37 mph (60 km/h) and up, Integral Active Steering turns the rear wheels in the same direction as the front ones to increase stability while you’re changing lanes and tackling corners. It’s worth mentioning the system is not as advanced compared to what Mercedes has installed in the latest S-Class and EQS where the rear wheels have a maximum steering angle of 10 degrees.
A new video highlights this feature on the 2023 BMW X7 M60i by showing how Integral Active Steering works. While some of the technology found in today’s luxury cars can be labeled as nothing more than gimmicks purely for bragging rights, rear-wheel steering serves a functional role and it’s especially useful on larger vehicles such as SUVs like this with an extended wheelbase.
If for whatever reason you want this feature deactivated, Integral Active Steering can be automatically disabled by selecting the Tire Chains functionality in the infotainment. Turning it on and off can be a good idea to determine the difference it makes.
Source: BMW of Morristown / YouTube