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Frankfurt show: BMW unwraps X7 concept

Seventh heaven: The production version of the X7 is likely to be built on the same platform as the 5 and 7 Series.

BMW’s Concept X7 iPerformance previews upcoming production seven-seat SUV

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BMW logo11 Sep 2017

By TIM NICHOLSON

BMW has taken the wraps off its Concept X7 iPerformance ahead of this week’s Frankfurt motor show, previewing the design, powertrain and technology features of the forthcoming production-ready three-row X7 upper large SUV.

The bold design of the concept is expected to be toned down for the production version that BMW says will make its debut in 2018 before taking place in the Bavarian brand’s line-up above the five-seat X5 and X6 SUV twins.

BMW Australia general manager of corporate communications Lenore Fletcher told GoAuto that the car-maker’s local arm was “definitely interested” in a future production version of the X7 given Australia’s “love affair with SUVs, premium brands and performance vehicles”.

Ms Fletcher said she was not sure of timing should it get the green light for Australia, and added “we will certainly be interested in securing and relaying more information to our customers and media as soon as possible”.

When the X7 comes to market it will face competitors including the Mercedes-Benz GLS, Range Rover, Infiniti QX80 and Lexus LX570 as well as the ultra-luxury Bentley Bentayga.

BMW has not revealed dimensions but the X7 concept is likely to exceed the 4886mm length and 2933mm wheelbase of the X5 to accommodate the extra row of seats.

It will be built in BMW’s ‘CLAR’ platform that underpins the latest 5 and 7 Series models and is expected to carry across much of the tech from the two sedans.

The car-maker says the design brings traditional BMW styling elements into the future. The front end is dominated by the massive kidney grille, surrounded by slimline LED headlights that sit above large lower air intakes.

The tall SUV has huge 23-inch wheels, door handles that sit flush with the body, chrome elements running the length of the lower part of the vehicle and three-dimensional L-shaped tail-lights that meet in the middle of the tailgate.

A large panoramic roof is framed by a chrome strip and features a transparent Y-shaped supporting structure.

Inside, the Concept X7 updates BMW’s familiar cabin design with a 12.3-inch instrument cluster and central touchscreen display, minimal approach to buttons and switches and a new-look centre console set up.

There is a clear focus on luxury motoring with high-end materials throughout the cabin and two individual seats in the second row and a further two in the third row.

The second-row occupants have personalised infotainment with the touchscreen monitors that feature access to digital services and office content. Users can also send a song they want to hear to the vehicle’s music system using touch gesture, as well as send an article to the person sitting next to them.

While BMW has not gone into much detail about what is under the bonnet, the X7 concept falls under the company’s iPerformance electrified powertrain banner and uses a TwinPower turbo-petrol engine matched with its eDrive plug-in hybrid electric technology.

The production version will likely be offered with the PHEV drivetrain as well as a selection of six- and eight-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, while some reports have suggested a fire-breathing ‘M’ variant could get the 6.0-litre V12 from the M760Li sedan.

BMW AG board member responsible for sales and brand BMW Ian Robertson said the X7 concept will help the company grow its market share in the premium segment.

“Since BMW founded the Sports Activity Vehicle segment with the first X5 back in 1999, every subsequent X vehicle has broken new ground,” he said. “The BMW X7 continues this tradition: the X family’s new top model extends BMW’s offering in the luxury class and redefines the concept of luxury for the BMW brand and beyond.

“It also embodies one of the most important elements of our corporate strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT, to grow our presence in the luxury class. Furthermore, the BMW Concept X7 demonstrates it’s perfectly possible to combine a large sports activity vehicle with an electrified drivetrain.” BMW announced its plans for a full-size three-row SUV back in 2014, confirming that it would be built at the company’s Spartanburg, South Carolina factory.

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