The darkened picture clearly shows the X7's front end, revealing the SUV's huge kidney grille and sleek blue-tinged laser headlights. It also looks to get a set of X5-inspired lower air intakes; we'll have to wait a little longer for our first look at the X7's interior.
Previously, BMW showed a selection of camouflaged images – as well as some of the car moving down the production line. The cars in those images weren't final production-ready models, but pre-production cars used by engineers to asses the X7's capabilities and fine tune the way it drives in a number of scenarios. Built at the Spartanburg plant in the United States, the mules were built to undergo vigorous testing in extreme conditions.
Though not quite the finished product, these cars are still a good indicator of what to expect when the wraps come fully off the firm's full-size Range Rover rival. Every image so far has suggested the production SUV will stick pretty close to the Concept X7 iPerformance revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2017.
Described as a “new model concept for the luxury segment”, the Concept X7 iPerformance moves the German carmaker’s large car design on from the current 7 Series – which the production X7 will share its platform with. The concept debuts a more exaggerated version of BMW’s trademark kidney grille, pinched LED ‘laser’ headlights and a horizontal chrome-lined lower air intake.
The shape of that intake is mirrored on the rear bumpers, while a single-piece light bar stretches across the tailgate with a chrome strip. Previous spy shots lead us to believe details will be toned down for production, including the elaborate door mirrors and flush-fitted handles.
BMW suggests that the large glasshouse and steeply raked rear tailgate means a light and airy cabin with “huge swathes of interior space”. The concept features three rows of two seats, with the second row chairs pushed towards each other to allow passengers a better view of the windscreen. We expect the production car to also be offered in a seven-seat configuration.
The cabin design adapts BMW’s current layout with more advanced materials and what’s described as “interactive LED choreography” – basically ambient lighting strips that react to the flow of communication within the car. Minimalist switchgear sees a pared-back display for the climate control, while a handful of haptic touch buttons surround the backlit crystal glass gear selector.
Unsurprisingly for a concept car in 2017, connectivity is a dominating theme. A 12.3-inch instrument cluster links with the central infotainment touchscreen through a single panel, with touchscreen monitors for the rear seats that link with the front displays. Passengers can pass information to others in the cabin or transfer an address to the navigation system via any screen.
The X7 concept on display is badged ‘iPerformance’, so is a plug-in hybrid using BMW’s TwinPower turbo petrol engine mated to electric motors. It’s said to offer an all-electric range for town use, but an actual distance figure hasn’t been release.
BMW’s board member for sales, Ian Robertson, describes the expansion of the carmaker’s luxury class presence as “one of the most important elements of our corporate strategy”. The X7 will sit alongside the 7 Series and forthcoming 8 Series as the brand flagships, with the SUV expected to feature a broader range of petrol, diesel and hybrid variants at launch. Prices will be slotting the X7 above the Land Rover Discovery and Mercedes GLS in the market.