BMW has already begun work on sportier M variants of its upcoming Mercedes GLS rival, the X7 full-size SUV. Due to be revealed at the Los Angeles motor show in November, the range-topping SUV is heavily inspired by the X7 iPerformance concept at last year's Frankfurt motor show.
BMW's upcoming seven seater will initially feature a naturally aspirated engine, rather than the hybrid powertrain of the X7 iPerformance. However, a hybrid variant will come later. Sitting alongside the 7-series at the top of BMW's line-up, the X7 will be built in Spartanburg, in the US state of South Carolina.
The X7 will be the largest SUV yet by BMW and adopts a typical SUV body shape with a boxy passenger area and a flat-faced front end that will be been toned down from the controversial styling of the X7 iPerformance. The extra large kidney grilles and slim headlight clusters will remain, however.
The production version’s dimensions are likely to remain the same as the concept. This means a length of 5020mm, 2020mm width and 1800mm in height, as well as a 3010mm wheelbase, will all remain largely the same, while the car will be roughly 113mm longer, 82mm wider and 37mm higher than the existing third-generation X5, with a 76mm longer wheelbase.
The SUV will get familiar BMW design features, such as halo daytime running lights and kidney grilles. The light bar that was seen on the X7 iPerformance is not carried over to the production model.
Previously, it was thought that the X7 would be built on an extended version of the X5’s underpinnings, but many parts are actually bespoke. It is too soon for BMW to confirm which engines will go into the X7, but sources have previously speculated that it will feature a selection of six and eight-cylinder engines, such as the 3.0-litre diesel in 30d, 40d and 50d guises and the twin-turbo 4.4-litre petrol V8 from the X6 xDrive 50i. An M Performance model is more likely than a full-blown M version given the car's luxury positioning. There could be an equivalent to the M760Li as well which could feature a X7 xDrive M60i badging.
The X7 will have three rows of seats, making it a rival for the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator in the US and China. It's around 110mm shorter and a little wider than the Mercedes-Benz GLS and around 30mm longer than the Range Rover.