Twenty years ago, the public and the press opined that the idea of a BMW SUV was interesting but wrong. Today, it’s par for the course; some of the brand’s best-selling models are SUVs. That lineup will grow again at the 2018 Los Angeles auto show with the addition of a range-topping model named the X7 that will take BMW into a segment it has never played in before. An official teaser image published on the company’s official Facebook page sheds insight into what we can expect.
As its name implies, the BMW X7 is the 7 Series of the SUV world. And, as we expected, the Concept X7 unveiled in 2017 was, in fact, the production model with a handful of futuristic design tweaks. Its front end is dominated by the largest, most extroverted rendition of BMW’s historic kidney grille we’ve seen to date. It’s flanked by swept-back headlights inspired by the ones seen on the latest 7 and 5 Series models.
Air breathers chiseled into the fenders right behind the front wheels and a D-pillar with a Hofmeister kink create a visual link between the X7 and the company’s other models. Out back, the thin horizontal tail lamps add another reference to the 7 Series, helping cement the X7’s status as the X line’s flagship.
One of the prototypes uses a version of BMW’s twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine. There might also be an entry-level model with a turbocharged straight-six, and the Munich-based company has already announced that a gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid version will join the lineup a little later in the production run. An automatic transmission and BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system will come standard regardless of what’s under the hood.
The Spartanburg, South Carolina, factory that produces the X5 and X6, among other models, is currently building pre-production X7 prototypes. These test mules have logged thousands of torturous miles in the frigid temperatures well above the Arctic circle, through the Sahara’s blinding sandstorms, and in China’s most crowded urban centers. That means the X7 is almost ready for prime time.
BMW will reveal the 2020 X7 in November of 2018 at the Los Angeles auto show. Deliveries will begin several months later. When it arrives in showrooms, it will compete in the same segment as the Audi Q7 and the Mercedes-Benz GLS.
Updated on October 12, 2018: Added information about the X7’s technical specifications and debut date.