2018 BMW X7 – first glimpse of Range Rover rival
First sightings of the forthcoming BMW X7 have been trickling in as the prototype vehicles begins road testing in Germany. Despite the model being put through its paces being heavily disguised, the scale and design of the SUV are apparent for the first time.
The X7 is aimed as being a rival for the Mercedes GLS and the Range Rover. It will be the largest SUV ever produced by BMW, and has adopted a typical SUV body shape, complete with a boxy cabin and flat-faced nose. Hidden beneath the camouflage will be the regular BMW design features, such as the halo day running lights and kidney grilles.
The X7, a seven seater, has been primarily designed with the US and Chinese markets in mind. Head of sales and marketing at BMW, Ian Robertson said that the vehicle would be available to buy in the UK as well.
Speaking at the New York motor show earlier in the year, Robertson said, “We will have some versions that are top-end luxury, as well as more mainstream versions. I can’t talk about pricing now, but given that this car will have all the technology and luxury of the 7 Series, it gives you a pretty good idea of the price point we’re talking about.”
Before the spy shots became available, it was widely believed that the X7 would be built on an extended format of the X5’s underpinnings, but Robertson revealed that a wide range of parts are bespoke for the new vehicle. “If you put both cars next to each other, the resemblance is small in terms of wheelbase etc. We’re not going to just extend the wheelbase, it’s a complete new panel cell.”
It’s too early for the German carmaker to reveal what engines they intend to use on the X7, but sources have predicted that it will be a selection of six to eight cylinder engines, perhaps the 3.0-litre diesel in 30d, 40d and 50d editions and the twin-turbo 4.4-litre petrol V8 from the X6 xDrive50i.
Robertson did hint that the X7 may be using engines from a wide range of BMW models instead of just the X5 and X6. There will also be a hybrid edition because BMW “sold more hybrids to the UK in the first two months of 2016 than in all of 2015 put together.”
The X7 is slated to be manufactured at the car makers facility at Spartanburg in the States, and will have three rows of seats, putting it into competition with the Cadillac Escalade and the Lincoln Navigator both in the US and China.
It’s not thought that the X7 will be on sale until 2018, sources don’t believe we’re likely to see it before the close of 2017.
Prior to the recent pictures, the only other sightings of the X7 were of a chassis mule based on a 7 Series. The vehicle, spied during testing in Scandinavia, was fitted with large weights on the roof to recreate the higher centre of gravity of the future SUV.