BMW’S mas­sive new X7 SUV

Six-seater points to fu­ture lux­ury SUV from Ger­man brand Pro­duc­tion car due next year

Auto Express - - Contents - Lawrence Al­lan Lawrence_al­lan@den­ @Lobal­lan

AF­TER a healthy sup­ply of spy shots, BMW has pro­vided the clear­est glimpse yet of its Range Rover ri­val by un­veil­ing its Con­cept X7 iper­for­mance at this week’s Frank­furt Mo­tor Show. It’s set to morph into a pro­duc­tion car in 2018 as the brand looks to ex­pand its in­flu­ence in the SUV and lux­ury sec­tors.

De­scribed as a “new model con­cept for the lux­ury seg­ment”, the flag­ship SUV moves the Ger­man com­pany’s large car de­sign on from the cur­rent 7 Se­ries – with which the pro­duc­tion X7 will share its plat­form. The con­cept in­tro­duces a more ex­ag­ger­ated ver­sion of BMW’S trade­mark kid­ney grille, pinched LED ‘laser’ head­lamps and a hor­i­zon­tal chrome-lined lower air in­take.

The shape of that in­take is mir­rored on the rear bumpers, while a sin­gle­piece light bar stretches across the tail­gate with a chrome strip. Pre­vi­ous spy shots led us to be­lieve the de­tails will be toned down for pro­duc­tion, in­clud­ing the elab­o­rate door mir­rors and flush-fit­ted han­dles.

BMW sug­gests that the large glasshouse and steeply raked tail­gate mean the in­side will be light and airy with “huge swathes of space”.

The con­cept fea­tures three rows of two seats, with the sec­ond-row chairs pushed to­wards each other to give pas­sen­gers a bet­ter view out of the front. We ex­pect the pro­duc­tion car to be of­fered in a seven-seat con­fig­u­ra­tion as well.

The cabin de­sign adapts BMW’S cur­rent lay­out with more ad­vanced ma­te­ri­als and what’s de­scribed as “in­ter­ac­tive LED chore­og­ra­phy”. Min­i­mal­ist switchgear sees a pared-back dis­play for the climate con­trol, while a hand­ful of hap­tic touch but­tons sur­round the back­lit crys­tal glass gear se­lec­tor.

Un­sur­pris­ingly for a con­cept car in 2017, con­nec­tiv­ity is a dom­i­nant theme. A 12.3-inch in­stru­ment clus­ter links with the cen­tral touch­screen through a sin­gle panel, with touch­screen mon­i­tors for the rear seats that con­nect with the front dis­plays. Pas­sen­gers can pass in­for­ma­tion or in­struc­tions to other screens in the cabin.

The Con­cept X7 on dis­play is badged ‘iper­for­mance’ and fea­tures a plug-in hy­brid pow­er­train us­ing BMW’S Twin­power turbo petrol en­gine paired with an elec­tric mo­tor. It’s said to of­fer an all-elec­tric range for town use, but an ac­tual fig­ure hasn’t been re­leased.

When it goes on sale, the X7 will sit along­side the 7 Se­ries and forth­com­ing 8 Se­ries, with the SUV ex­pected to fea­ture a broader range of petrol, diesel and hy­brid vari­ants at launch. Prices are ex­pected to start from around £70,000.

“Con­cept fea­tures a plug-in hy­brid pow­er­train pair­ing BMW’S Twin­power turbo petrol with an elec­tric mo­tor”

Min­i­mal­ist dash uses hap­tic con­trols; large touch­screen of­fers great con­nec­tiv­ity

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