Could the BMW X7 be the ultimate SUV of 2018?

04th January 2018
Bob Murray

Twenty eighteen is sure to be the year of the super-SUV as all corners of the market are finally covered by new high-riding 4x4s, from the super-performance Lamborghini Urus to the super-luxury Rolls-Royce Cullinan (if indeed it is called that). Meanwhile in Spartanburg, South Carolina, BMW is putting the finishing touches to its own super-SUV…


Shown here officially for the first time is the BMW X7, 12 months ahead of when you will be able to buy one. Not all is being revealed yet – that will come later at one of this year’s motor shows – but under that protective wrap it is clear there’s a big and bold new BMW here, just as imposingly bluff-fronted as the X7 Concept we saw at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2017

That was sufficiently controversial-looking to recall Chris Bangle’s design reinvention of the 1990s. The production version of the X7 may not be quite as wild but even so, it is expected to introduce a new design language for BMW, distancing it from the X5 (on which it is based) and creating a separate and more exclusive image as the firm’s new luxury flagship. 

What exactly do the pictures show? The first pre-production models being built in BMW’s X family plant in Spartanburg –  strange but true, this US facility is now BMW’s largest plant worldwide, showing just what the power of X means to BMW these days. 

The X7 will be the fifth X model to be built in Spartanburg, and will take production towards the 450,000 cars a year plant maximum. With almost three quarters of them exported, in value terms, BMW is America’s largest vehicle exporter. 


And the X7 itself? According to BMW’s design chief Adrian van Hooydonk the look is centred on few “intently focused” lines, combining “horizontal dynamism and vertical solidity”. Along with plenty of chrome and that oversized kidney grille, you won’t miss it. 

It is well in the lwb Range Rover/Mercedes GLS size class, with three rows of seats, those in the back likely to be individual and fully adjustable armchairs. There’s no single vast panoramic glass roof like the concept but instead opening glass sections front and rear. The concept’s emphasis on interior luxury through minimalist design and discreet technology is likely to be carried over, with a simple dash of large displays based around a new interactive operating system and seamless connectivity. 

Full info will be revealed later in the year, along of course with details of what’s under the bonnet. The concept had a turbocharged petrol/electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain capable of emissions-free electric-only running, linking it to the iPerformance family of cars like the i8. It’d be nice to think the V12 could make it but only a great optimist would vote against the hybrid being main engine option.

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