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X7 ‘to cement BMW's SUV dominance’

Great X: BMW's X7 will add another facet to its market-leading range of high-riders, most likely sharing the platform of its 7 Series or a stretched X5 architecture.

Australia to be ‘one of the biggest’ markets for BMW new X7 flagship SUV

BMW logo22 Oct 2015

BMW Group Australia says it expects Australia to become one of the biggest markets in the world for its new flagship X7 high rider, thus helping it to maintain its dominant luxury SUV position in this market.

The German car-maker kept the SUV ball rolling in Australia this week by launching the all-new X1 small SUV in xDrive guise. That will be followed by more affordable front-wheel-drive sDrive variants in December.

However, a new offering at the opposite end of the scale eventually will create even more propeller badge choice, BMW says.

Speaking at the X1's local launch this week, BMW Group Australia CEO Marc Werner told GoAuto that the company had high expectations for its seven-seat SUV range-topper.

“The Australian market will be one of the biggest when it comes to X7,” he said. “We see good opportunities for that car, and it's a logical next step for us in order to extend the existing product line-up.”

Mr Werner said that with a combination of more practicality for large families, BMW's typical build quality and driving dynamics, the vehicle was a perfect fit for Australia where his company was getting on with launch plans.

“It's not only on the wish list, it's now becoming a reality,” he said.

BMW's arch rivals are mounting constant assaults on the current market leader with vehicles such as the Audi Q7 and Mercedes-Benz's GLE and GLE Coupe.

In the case of the X7, BMW would get one back by going head to head with Mercedes' largely uncontested GL and its GLS replacement.

According to Mr Werner, the enticing blend of typical BMW SUV features in a larger vehicle would re-arm the brand against its rivals and assist in maintaining its position in the market.

“There are always competitors in the market,” he said. “We believe with the existing product line-up that we have on our sports activity vehicles that we are doing exceptionally well.

“We are the market and segment leader and we want to continue being the segment leader.”

Timing and pricing are too far off to be revealed, but the X7 is expected to arrive in late 2017 or early 2018.

Mr Werner said it was logical to speculate that the SUV flagship would be the most expensive in its line-up.

“If you just look at the pure number, X7 is an extension of X6 so you would expect it to be more expensive.”

That would position the X7 somewhere above the current most expensive offering – the X6, which kicks off at $115,400 before on-road costs.

While BMW has confirmed the production of a new larger SUV in its ranks, a smaller offering to sit under X1 is still up in the air.

The Australian-born designer who penned the all-new X1, Calvin Luk, told GoAuto the company would gauge the reception of the new X1 before considering a rival to smaller competitors such as the Mazda CX-3 and freshly launched Jeep Renegade.

“Anything is possible in the future of course, but I think we cover the whole X-range quite well right now, from this being the compact of the family to the X5 and X6,” he said.

“We will have to see how the reaction is to this newer model, because this is a very interesting offer, being compact but then having tons of room. So we will see what the reaction is.”

Mr Luk said that while radical models such as the X6 and X4 might appear flights of fancy, every new BMW model had been fiercely scrutinised and evaluated before being signed off for production.

“It's very carefully considered before we go into a new product,” he said. “X6 – some people love it and some people don't really understand it.

“It's been extremely popular and a huge model for the company. The influence on the industry now is huge.”

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