Images of the upcoming BMW X7 concept have leaked online ahead of the Frankfurt motor show, showing a preview of Munich’s long and long-awaited full-size SUV that is already undergoing testing. The concept itself previews a production version that will go on sale about a year from now as a 2019 model, with three rows of seats, some off-road ability and an impressive footprint.
First things first: this is not the final look of a production X7, in case you are a little concerned. But the very vertical kidney grille is staying as evidenced by spy photos seen in the last few months. The design will be watered down a bit for production, but it remains to be seen if this front fascia signals the direction in which BMW SUVs will go. The latest X3 and X1 models have opted for a more horizontal and integrated headlight and kidney grille look, though this concept tries a different approach. The vertical slats integrated into the front and rear fascias may invite comparisons to recent Lexus and Toyota SUV designs, but the X7 concept nevertheless features a very horizontal set of taillights, as if lifted directly from a sedan model.
The production version of the X7 may be offered in hybrid form as well.
I finally got into one of these things months after my Detroit colleagues, and I was pleasantly surprised. Of course, in my mind (and in my bank account) I would never spend $72,805 for a car. So do I …
It’s also a little early to talk about engines, but there is no shortage of available powerplants for various markets that BMW will offer in the production version of the X7. At the lower end of the range we could see a 3.0-liter inline-six borrowed from the BMW X5 producing 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Mid-grade flavors could see the 4.4-liter TwinPower turbocharged V8 engine, good for 445 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque in the X6 and the X5. The top engine that BMW could put in the X7 could be the aluminum V12 borrowed from the 7-Series, churning out 600 hp and 590 lb-ft torque. As images of the X7 concept demonstrate, a plug-in hybrid version is also quite likely.
When the X7 finally goes on sale it will have no shortage of competitors (who have been on the market for ages), including the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class, Infiniti QX80, Range Rover, Lexus LX and Volvo XC90, just among foreign vehicles, though it’s closest rival in terms of size and price will likely be the GLS-Class.