With the unveiling of the BMW Concept X7 iPerformance at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, the German carmaker gives a preview of a future production model that will go on sale in 2018. As the digit indicates, it is to be positioned above the X5 so it will become the new flagship of the range of Sport Activity Vehicles/SAVs (as BMW refers to their SUVs).
The new X7 is part of the largest model offensive in the company’s history. As part of its NUMBER ONE > NEXT strategy, the BMW Group is seeking to substantially increase its sales and revenues in the luxury class. The X7 has a key role to play here, as Ian Robertson, Member of the BMW AG Management Board responsible for Sales and Brand BMW explained: “Since BMW founded the Sports Activity Vehicle segment with the first X5 back in 1999, every subsequent X vehicle has broken new ground. The X7 continues this tradition: the X family’s new top model extends BMW’s offering in the luxury class and redefines the concept of luxury for the BMW brand and beyond. It also embodies one of the most important elements of our corporate strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT, to grow our presence in the luxury class. Furthermore, the BMW Concept X7 demonstrates it’s perfectly possible to combine a large sports activity vehicle with an electrified drivetrain.”
The imposing Concept X7 introduces the BMW Sports Activity Vehicle DNA into the luxury segment. The new BMW design language employs just a few, extremely precise lines and subtle surface-work to raise the bar in terms of presence and prestige. “The BMW Concept X7 iPerformance has a luxurious and sophisticated feel to it, thanks to its understated use of forms and incredibly precise details,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design.
The luxurious character of the Concept X7 iPerformance is brought alive by its cabin, in particular. The vehicle’s sheer size forms the basis for an interior experience unmatched by any BMW past or present. As a result of the interplay between precise, pared-down forms and an open sense of space, the occupants will find themselves immersed in a very modern setting with an equally exclusive feel. The wealth of possibilities offered by personalised, digital connectivity allows the vehicle’s interior to be turned, as desired, into a personalised place of either retreat or productivity.
Inside the roomy cabin, clear forms, warm colours and select materials combine to create a highly exclusive, sophisticated ambience. In addition, the large panoramic roof provides a remarkable amount of room above the occupants’ heads while also giving the interior a light and airy, open-to-the-sky feel.
The six amply-proportioned seats are arranged in three rows, and four of them have an exclusive individual design. Secured to the vehicle floor by nothing more than a slender seat base, the individual seats allow those sitting directly behind to enjoy generous legroom. The dark, olive-bronze leather – with discreet gold pigmentation – covering the seat bolsters carries the air of exclusivity through to the finer details and the Smoke White leather adorning the remainder of the seats provides an intriguing contrast. The shell-like backs of the individual seats are likewise trimmed in leather and serve to enhance the high-class, contemporary ambience.
Amid the modern and pared-back design of the interior is the driver focus familiar to BMW customers. The forms and surfacing of the instrument panel, centre console and doors allow them to ‘wrap around’ the driver. The typically raised seating position of such vehicles provides a commanding view all around and also ahead.
The new BMW design language, featuring amply-sized surfaces and clear edges, gives the instrument panel a ‘reduced to the essentials’, modern aesthetic. The 12.3-inch instrument cluster screen and central touchscreen information display are sited at close quarters to one another. The effect is of one unbroken – and smartly sophisticated – display.
A new operating concept allows interactive use of the two displays. Below them, in the centre stack and centre console, the grouping of functions within the clean and tautly chiselled surfaces underscores the minimalist approach.
Partially backlit crystal glass in the dark Silver Night shade lends sophisticated flourishes to control elements like the selector lever, iDrive Controller and multifunction buttons on the steering wheel.
The two individual seats in the second row offer all the benefits of the front pair. The first sign of an attachment between the panoramic roof and body comes comfortably to the rear of the second row of seats in the form of a Y structure, which means the passengers in the centre row experience the same sensation of freedom and lightness as those in the front.
Second-row passengers also enjoy personalised infotainment comfort courtesy of the rear-seat entertainment system’s touchscreen monitors. Here, the Concept X7 iPerformance showcases the BMW Group’s vision of seamless integrating the customer’s digital world into the car via BMW Connected. For example, passengers here have access to highly personalised, digital services such as their choice of infotainment/office content, with which they can make their journey more comfortable, more entertaining or more productive. 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.
The front end of the Concept X7 iPerformance is one of its most eye-catching angles; the vehicle’s height alone ensuring it rises prominently over the road. In an all-new interpretation of classical BMW elements, the front-end design groups together the various facets of the vehicle into a powerful visual statement.
The large, vertical kidney grille at the heart of the upright front-end silhouette hogs the attention. The grille frame and bars are single-piece and solid in design, as if hewn from a single piece.
The upper sections of the slim, elongated twin headlights with BMW laser light link to the large kidney grille. A blue X signature in BMW laser light provides a confident pointer to the Concept’s membership of the SAV family from BMW. The headlights and kidney grille combine to create an exciting contrast of horizontal dynamism and vertical solidity, bringing traditional BMW front-end design cues into the future.
From the side, the Concept X7 iPerformance shows the characteristic ground clearance of X vehicles. The vertical front end, striking and almost vertical rear and steeply rising angle from the rear wheels to the tailgate give the muscular proportions a modern flourish. The long shoulderline stretches the car and also separates the car’s body into the light and airy glasshouse (which offers a preview of the large interior) and the muscular metal forms.
For the first time in an X vehicle, the wheel arches feature a circular cut and emphasize the exclusivity and elegance of the flanks. Smart and precise surfacing absorbs the powerful wheel arches in an aesthetic movement. The surfaces gain in volume and strength as they head towards the rear end.
For the concept vehicle, the exclusive exterior colour shade called Manhattan metallic has been used. This finish immerses the car’s surfaces and forms in a dark olive-bronze that highlights the confident styling of the flanks with sophisticated flair.
A bird’s-eye view of the BMW Concept X7 iPerformance reveals a particular highlight. Like the side window surrounds, the panoramic roof is framed by an eye-catching chrome strip, which extends from one A-pillar to the rear end – and back around the other side. In between, the roof’s transparent, Y-shaped supporting structure adds a modern flourish.
At this time, BMW is not giving details about the powertrain although Mr. Robertson’s mention of an electrified drivetrain suggests that it will be a plug-in hybrid and possibly also have options of conventional petrol and diesel engines.