BMW customers don’t belong to the stereotypical McDonald’s demographic, but they’re clearly not averse to a bit of supersizing — and here’s proof. You’re looking at the first images of the XXL production-spec X7 that will be publicly revealed at next month’s Los Angeles motor show before it launches in our market next March-April.
As reflected by its numeric designation, the newcomer will sit atop the Bavarian brand’s ‘X’ pyramid, of which the numbers 1 through 6 have already been filled since the X5 got the ball rolling two decades ago. The X7 will join the range with the aim of targeting customers in the market for a full-size seven-seater SUV — a segment that’s particularly strong in the US and China, not to mention the Middle East.
The new X flagship will be built at the same Spartanburg plant in South Carolina that currently manufactures the X3, X4, X5 and X6, which is fitting given that the US is expected to account for the majority of X7 sales. Stretching 5,151mm from bumper to bumper and with a lengthy wheelbase of 3,105mm, the X7 is a proper seven-seater (rather than just a 5+2), and this wheels scribe was able to glean this first-hand via a sneak preview of the vehicle in Munich. Accessing the third-row seats is simplified by an electrified tilt-and-slide function of the second row (which can be ordered as two individual pews or as a three-seat bench).
Perched in one of the third-row seats, there’s ample headroom and decent kneeroom for anyone up to 1.83m, which is more than can be said for some so-called seven-seaters. That said, there isn’t much lateral room to spare, and visibility is also limited by the small rear quarter window. Luggage space is a modest 326 litres with all seven seats in situ, but this can be boosted to 740 litres by folding down the third row, or a cavernous 2,120 litres by dispensing with the second-row seats as well.
Befitting its flagship status, the X7 comes loaded as standard with goodies such as front and rear air suspension, LED headlights, 20in rims (21s and 22s are optional), Vernasca leather trim, four-zone automatic climate control, a three-section panoramic glass roof and Dynamic Interior Light. Optional kit includes five-zone automatic climate control, Ambient Air package (fragrance dispenser), Panorama glass roof Sky Lounge (with 1,500 LEDs), a Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System and BMW Laserlight with a high-beam range of 600m.
As evident from the accompanying images, the X7 is distinguished by a massive twin-kidney grille, slimline headlights and a much taller, boxier stance than any of the other X models. The front is pure BMW, but the rear end is somewhat generic and the only real clue to its identity back here is the blue-and-white roundel on the tailgate.
Two variants will be offered in our market — the 335bhp xDrive40i, powered by a 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo motor, and the 456bhp xDrive50i, propelled by a 456bhp 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8. Both engines are mated to a ZF eight-speed auto. Pricing will be announced closer to the local launch date, but we’re expecting an entry point in the Dh450-500k bracket.
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