BMW will show the Concept X7 iPerformance at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, ahead of launching a production version in 2018 that aims to further bolster BMW’s presence in the luxury car sector. It is, says BMW board member Ian Robertson, “the X family’s new top model”.
As the name suggests, it will be a plug-in hybrid, using electric drive combined with a BMW TwinPower Turbo petrol engine. The firm is saving up exact details of the powertrain, though: for now, it’s all about the styling and interior of the 7 Series-derived Range Rover-rivalling SUV.
Even BMW admits the dimensions are “imposing” and the exterior “spectacular”. Design chief Adrian van Hooydonk reckons it’s all about “just a few, extremely precise lines and subtle surface-work… [which] raise the bar in terms of presence and prestige”.
The front end look is a new one for BMW. The kidney grille is massive, dominating the upright front end. It’s made from a single, solid piece of metal, that’s both polished and finished in matt across its surfaces. The headlights, meanwhile, are slim and elongated. BMW says it’s solid, muscular, yet cohesive.
Similar to the front, the rear end is almost vertical: a modern look, says BMW, but also one that gives sufficient headroom for the third row of passengers within – yes, it’s a six-seater (presumably seven by the time it reaches production).
The overall design language is a new one, feels BMW, one intentionally clean and more that gives a look, it says, of “modernity, presence and exclusivity”. You’ll know it “as an X model without the need to look twice”…
And BMW has sweated the details. The wheelarches, for example, are fully circular, for the first time on a BMW X model. Why? For added exclusivity and elegance. Check all the chrome on the exterior too, including the prominent strip on the door sills. Oh, and the wild-looking wheels are 23 inches in diameter.
The lavish interior gives “an interior experience unmatched by any BMW past or present”. It’s minimalist, laden with touchscreen (and gesture control) technology yet also uses the open-pore, dark-stained wood similar to that so well loved in the little i3. It’s certainly a new style of interior look for BMW, one that seems very upscale indeed.
This machine is unquestionably imposing and standout. It’s hardly subtle. Some people really won’t like it: you sense BMW is almost acknowledging that by making it so prominent and decadent. But we’d better get used to it: posh Range Rovers will be facing this new rival in less than a year’s time.
The X7 will grow BMW’s luxury cars further, helping create a standalone category within its product range, says the firm. A new badge will depict them: a black and white version of the BMW roundel, with ‘Bayerische Motoren Werke’ written out in full. We’ll see it for the first time at the Frankfurt show next week. Will you be joining us?
BMW Concept X7 iPerformance: in pictures