BMW has confirmed that it will bring its flagship luxury SUV, the X7, to India. This was confirmed by BMW’s senior vice-president Hendrik von Kuenheim. He said: “In the future we will have the entire X range in India and at the top will be the new X7.” BMW’s X7 follows a global trend where luxury carmakers are increasingly crafting flagship SUVs to mop up global demand that currently exists in that rarified space. The model is expected to comes to showrooms towards the end of 2018. The right-hand-drive X7, however, is only likely to see the light of day towards the end of the year. And that’s when BMW is likely to get it to India as a full import.
But why has the king of SUV not done a similar range-topper before? It, after all, has explored every SUV niche that exists and has even created its fair share of unique SUVs and crossovers. Its range of X cars or SUVs starts from the X1 and goes all the way to X6, no Xs missed in between. It’s been nothing but prolific. But just what is it that makes the X7 different from the current range-topper, the X5.
Let’s start with the edgy look of the prototype. While the final car will differ from this one, the Concept X7 iPerformance, like the 7-series concept before it, gives us a very good idea of what the new flagship luxury SUV will look like.
The focal point of the new X7 is that massive upright kidney grille that stands out and clearly marks it out as a BMW. Borrowed from classic BMW cars of the ’50s like the 502 and others, this exaggerated version of the grille is considered to be a bit over the top by many. It’s a bit too large, has a bit too much chrome and looks a bit like an add-on. This is likely to be toned down on cars closer to production.
The skinning of the X7 is also quite different from the norm. The German carmaker says a very modern luxury aesthetic has been used to push boundaries. The design employs just a few precise lines and subtle surface work, and what BMW is looking for more than anything else is a sophisticated feel, thanks to its understated form.
Features such as the vertical chrome inlet on the bumper, the similarly finished air-breather behind the front wheel arch and the brushed aluminium window surrounds really do stand out and deliver an imperious air of cutting-edge luxury. And aren’t those door handles unique?
The 23-inch wheels are, of course, two or three inches too big for the production car, and the headlights are likely to be fleshed out a bit more too; but this broadly is what the X7 will look like. And to make it seem more upmarket, the X7 gets a black-and-white version of the company’s traditional roundel with its full name, ‘Bayerische Motoren Werke’ written across.
The dimensions of the concept are said to similar to the production car, and this will mean the X7 will be a substantial-looking SUV. Its length of 5,020mm and width of 2,020mm mean it is almost as long as, and wider than, the Merc GLS, its most direct rival. And there’ll be ample space for passengers on the inside, with its 3,010mm long wheelbase.
Inside, the Concept X7 can seat six occupants, however the production version has been conceived to offer seating for up to seven, and it will be this version that will make it to India. What’s significant is that the X7 will debut BMW’s new SUV style sheet that will be used as a template for the rest of the range in the future. This importantly means a new screen-based instrument panel, an all-new style for the centre console and a new steering wheel.
The car will be powered by engines similar to those used on the 7-series. The mainstay is likely to be the 30d motor, while the 40d with its multiple turbo setup is also likely to feature on the bill. The X7, unlike the rest of the X cars, however, will also have a hybrid version with an all-electric range of 100km.
The system relies on the same setup as the 740e xDrive iPerformance. It uses a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine and an electric motor in the forward section of the gearbox housing, along with a larger capacity battery. And there’s likely to be a xDrive 50i version as well, powered by a 4.4-litre, twin-turbo petrol V8. Expect the range to start at around Rs 1.3 crore and go up to Rs 2 crore for the hybrid.
SUPER SUVS INCOMING
At 5,020mm long, 2,040mm wide and with a wheelbase that is 3,000mm, the Q8 concept is larger than the Range Rover, but it stands 210mm shorter at 1,700mm. The SUV is powered by a 3.0-litre turbo-petrol producing 333hp and 500Nm of torque, combined with an electric motor generating 136hp. The complete system produces 450hp and a huge 700Nm of torque.
The brand’s second SUV after the LM002, the Urus concept is 4,990mm long, 1,990mm wide and 1,660mm tall; making it 114mm longer, 7mm wider and 24mm lower than the BMW X6. Under the bonnet is a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 that puts out 650hp and 1,000Nm of torque.
Rolls-Royce’s ‘all-terrain, high-sided vehicle’ is expected to posses significantly larger dimensions than the Phantom that is 5,762mm long and 2,018mm wide. Space on the inside is said to be massive and it will have the ability to do a limited amount of off-roading. Power is likely to come from the 570hp/900Nm, turbocharged 6.75-litre V12 motor that also powers the Phantom.