BMW has had its X5 for many years now, and has been steadily adding utility vehicles of varied sizes and shapes into its line-up. However, the Munich carmaker still doesn’t have an SUV big enough to take on the Mercedes-Benz GLS Cadillac Escalade or Audi Q7. Although a full-size SUV was announced back in 2014, it’s still under development and is not expected to go on sale before 2018 as a 2019 model.

This week, our spy snapper has spotted a prototype of the SUV, which will be called the X7, doing developmental testing on public roads in Germany for the first time. The X7 spotted here seems to wear the final body, which looks different from the current X5’s, but similar to the prototypes for the next-gen X5.  

The X7 will be built on the same flexible CLAR modular platform that underpins the new 7 series and the 5 Series and will form the basis of every future model from 3 Series upwards. This means the X7, despite its large proportions, will be relatively light thanks to the carbon-fibre-rich construction. Naturally, being the flagship SUV, it will also feature seven or eight seats across three rows, and offer the best in luxury amenities and features including the gesture control option that made its debut in the 7 Series saloon.

Powertrain options will include V8 and straight-six blocks and additionally is likely to offer a top-spec V12 variant that will equip it to go against the likes of Bentley’s Bentayga as well. A plug-in hybrid version is also likely to be offered.