Down the Road
BMW’S Concept X7 iperformance
The Concept X7 iperformance, BMW’S take on what the Munich-based manufacturer terms an “innovative new vehicle concept for the luxury class”, recently celebrated its world premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
Essentially, it is an over the-top precursor to a luxurious new SUV positioned above the X5, with styling reminiscent to the Vision Future Luxury Concept shown at the 2014 Beijing motor show.
According to BMW sources, the new six-seat SUV heralds a production version of the X7 (with seven-seat configuration), which is set for release late next year. Apart from traditional petrol and diesel drivetrains, it will also be available as a plug-in petrol-electric hybrid.
The exterior design of the first uberluxurious Sports Activity Vehicle is headlined by “imposing dimensions and a captivating presence”, in BMW’S view.
With a length of 5,020 mm, width of 2,020 mm, and height of 1,800 mm, the Concept X7 is longer, wider, and taller than the X5, with a 76 mm longer wheelbase. In terms of size, it will rival the Mercedesbenz GLS and Range Rover Vogue, as well as the mooted luxury Audi Q8 from Ingolstadt.
BIG, BOLD AND BRASH
The Concept X7 represents quite a departure from the current design language of BMW. It is big, bold and brash, with taut lines and oversized features. The ornate kidney grille of the Concept is simply huge, and flanked by long, sleek LED headlights.
It seems as if BMW is taking the Rolls Royce route with this ostentatious design approach, using bold and enormous design elements, but keeping body lines and creases to a minimum.
According to Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President for BMW Group Design, this design language employs just a few extremely precise lines and subtle surface-work to raise the bar in terms of presence and prestige.
Together with the prominent and upright grille, the mighty air inlets and elegantly accentuated surfaces produce an authoritative overall image which radiates greatness and grandeur.
While Van Hooydonk describes the styling as “discreet”, it seems nothing of the sort. Rather the opposite; and we will have to wait and see how this new design dimension translates into the production version.
Inside, the Concept X7 underscores the progressive sense of opulence, with generous space for six people, exquisite materials, and an infotainment system brimming with intelligent connectivity.
Features such as the futuristic steering wheel, idrive controller, glass shift lever, and fully digital gauge cluster, are reminiscent of the interior of the BMW 8 Series Concept. Whereas the exterior is sophisticated and imposing, the interior is minimalistic in a Volvo-esque sense.
The Concept X7 has four single captain’s chairs behind the front passengers (expect the production model which will have seven seats as standard), and massive screens behind the front seatbacks provide the second-row passengers with on-road entertainment. Interactive LED choreography via the doors and instrument panel traces the communication flow between the rear screens and the display at the front of the cabin.
Another notable feature is the massive glass roof that provides an open-air feeling to all passengers on board. The roof will probably not make it to production in its current form, but the X7 will have something similar once it is introduced. Until that time, we eagerly await the luxury SUV to reach our shores.