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BMW gets utilitarian with X7 Pick-up

X7 Pick-up makes surprising debut, but BMW still has no plans for series production

8 Jul 2019

FOLLOWING in the tyre tracks of Mercedes-Benz and its X-Class ute, BMW has shocked the automotive industry with the reveal of the X7 Pick-up, but not all is as it seems.
Two years on from describing X-Class as “appalling”, the Bavarian brand has turned its hand to developing a ute of its own, even though its global R&D chief, Klaus Froehlich, said at the Paris motor show in October last year that such a model’s business case does not stack up.
BMW has therefore dropped jaws with the X7 Pick-up, which is based on the company’s new upper-large SUV. As such, it sets a new standard for the combination of luxury and utility.
But, of course, there is a catch: the X7 Pick-up is a one-off vehicle, not a preview of the series-production model that some had hoped to see soon.
Instead, BMW followed the lead of Skoda and its Azubi Car Project by signing off on a unique conversion program for its vocational trainees who worked in cooperation with the brand’s Concept Vehicle Construction and Model Technology divisions at its Munich plant.
From the B-pillars forward, the road-legal X7 Pick-up is more or less business as usual after the 10-month program, but from that point backwards, the utilitarian focus bestowed upon it by 12 vocational trainees is undoubtedly on show.
With a tub that routinely accommodates loads measuring 1400mm in length (or 2000mm with the tailgate open), the X7 Pick-up is fair dinkum when it comes to serving its purpose.
The tub itself features handcrafted teakwood with a fine-polished finish, and 3D-printed parapet elements, handgrips and trim strips. Its addition comes at the cost of X7’s third row, although height-adjustable two-chamber air suspension makes loading bulkier items easier.
According to the company, the X7 Pick-up’s combination of exclusive Tanzanite Blue metallic paintwork and honey-coloured teakwood “was inspired by yachting sports and creates a sophisticated look”.
Despite being 100mm longer overall than the already-gargantuan X7, the X7 Pick-up weighs 200kg less thanks to the liberal use of Carbon-Fibre Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) for its roof, rear doors and tailgate.
Based on X7’s xDrive40i variant, the X7 Pick-up is motivated by a 3.0-litre turbo-petrol inline six-cylinder engine that produces 250kW of power and 450Nm of torque – outputs that would ensure it is one of the quickest stock utes on the dragstrip.
In keeping with BMW’s sustainability strategy, the X7 Pick-up was born into the world as an X7 test mule, with the vocational trainees later saving it from being scrapped once it had served its original purpose.
According to the brand, “the trainees were free to decide on conception and implementation but had to forgo the additional expert assistance normally provided in concept-car construction”.
“I am pleased about the synergies between BMW Group Vocational Training, Concept Vehicle Construction and Model Technology, allowing these young talents to prove their abilities with such an extraordinary project,” said BMW Group member of the board of human resources Milagros Caina-Andree.

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