The company’s largest SUV yet is just around the corner

When BMW joined the SUV market with the X5 back in 1999, little did we know that the German manufacturer will become such an important player in this segment. But in a little more than a decade, the Bavarian brand has launched no fewer than four different crossovers. Come 2018 and a flagship X7 is ready to join the lineup.

The Bavarian brand made an announcement about the X7 in 2014, when it revealed that it will be built at the company’s plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, which also produces the X3, X5, X5 M, X6, and X6 M models. There’s no word as to when the X7 will make its public debut, but it should break cover in the second half of 2018, most likely at the Paris or Los Angeles Auto Show. When it arrives in showrooms, it will become BMW’s largest offering yet and will enable the German manufacturer to compete against SUVs such as the Mercedes-Benz GLS, Range Rover, and even the Cadillac Escalade.

Meanwhile, we have the X7 Concept, the brand-new X5, and a few X7 prototypes to give us some info on the upcoming SUV.

Updated 07/16/2018: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming BMW X7 out in the wild again, and this time they were also able to snap some pictures of the interior too.

Continue reading to learn more about the upcoming BMW X7.

BMW X7 on the Nurburgring

Driving Review

Spy Shots

July 16, 2018 - BMW X7 caught in the wild again

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2019 BMW X7
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December 18, 2017 - BMW X7 started to drop camouflage.

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2019 BMW X7
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August 10, 2017 - BMW X7 caught wearing production head lights and the rear lights

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2019 BMW X7
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April 26, 2017 - BMW X7 caught testing on the Nurburgring

2019 BMW X7 Spyshots Exterior
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2019 BMW X7 Spyshots Exterior
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January 25, 2016 - BMW X7 caught playing in the snow

2019 BMW X7 Exterior Spyshots
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2019 BMW X7 Exterior Spyshots
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Exterior

  • Bigger than X5
  • Massive front grille
  • Boxier rear end
  • Redesigned beltline
  • LED lights
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The X7 does have a few unique styling cues, starting with the massive front grille

While the X7 prototypes are still camouflaged, BMW did release a few teaser pictures that show some of its design cues. What’s more, the big SUV will get some features from the new-generation X5, which was launched in June 2018.

If you look at the latest spy shots and the teasers, you’ll notice that the X7 is very similar to the X5. This might seem a bit outrageous at first glance, but it’s exactly what BMW wants to achieve: a bulkier X5 with a more imposing appearance and proper third-row seating. However, the X7 does have a few unique styling cues, starting with the massive front grille with thick frame and vertical slats.

The headlamps are also similar to the X5 and the recent prototypes feature blue x-shaped elements under the lens. These are part of BMW’s new Laserlight design, which debuted as an option on the X5. Don’t expect it to be standard on the X7 though.

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While the X5 is less than five meters long, the X7 will stretch beyond the five-meter limit

The big SUV will also boast a more muscular look and larger wheels. According to Autoblog, which tested a few prototypes, wheel options will include 20-, 21-, and 22-inch rims. Around back, there are X5-like wraparound taillights and a sturdy bumper to integrate the X7’s appearance into the X family, but there will be significant changes around the rear cabin and roof.

As seen in the spy shots, the cabin has a boxier design toward the rear, while the quarter windows are larger. The taillights also seem to be a big bigger than the X5, which just gained a pair of slim, two-piece units. The prototype also sports a big moonroof that appears to stretch from above the driver position all the way back toward the tailgate.

Of course, the big question here is how big will the X7 be in relation to the X5. BMW had nothing to say about it, except that while the X5 is less than five meters long, the X7 will stretch beyond the five-meter limit. This makes sense since the Mercedes-Benz is 5.1 meters (201.6 inches) long.

Interior

  • Tech and features from X5 and 7 Series
  • Luxury materials and features
  • State-of-the-art tech
  • Three-row layout
  • Big trunk
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Acres of high-grade leather and Alcantara will cover every inch of the interior

Aimed at the largest and most luxurious SUVs on the market, the X7 will borrow cues and features from both the new-generation X5 and 7 Series sedan. Acres of high-grade leather and Alcantara will cover every inch of the interior that’s not wood or metal, with lots of state-of-the-art technology to quench the segment’s thirst for convenience and safety features.

Highlights should include BMW’s new iDrive system with touch display and gesture control, which uses 3D sensors to detect pre-selected hand gestures to perform tasks. The 12.3-inch infotainment display will be taken of the X5 and will be paired to an equally big instrument cluster with similar graphics. The Touch Command Tablet, which is available in the 7 Series sedan, should also find its way in the X7. Essentially a removable seven-inch tablet, Touch Command will allow rear occupants to control everything from HVAC temperatures and the infotainment to the audio system.

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The X7 will have more cargo room than the X5, which lost a few cubic feet with the redesign

On top of being the most luxurious Bimmer SUV ever built, the X7 will also be the roomiest and offer seating for up to seven people. The third-row seat setup will come standard, but customers will be able to choose between two or three seats behind the second row. Although it’s bigger than the X5, the X7 won’t deliver 7 Series roominess in the second row according to Autoblog. Naturally, the third row won’t be too comfortable for adults on long trips.

Models with a second-row bench will get power seatbacks and bolsters and a 60/40 split. The seatbacks will also flip forward for easier access to the third row, automatically sliding the front seat forward when more room is needed. With the third-row seats in place, the cargo area won’t take more than a few suitcases, but space will improve dramatically when the seats are folded flat. The X7 will have more cargo room than the X5, which lost a few cubic feet with the redesign. Autoblog says that lifting the trunk floor reveals a surprising amount of cargo space that’s not hindered by the spare tire, which is placed underneath that.

Needless to say, the X7 will be the most spacious Bimmer yet, but will it be roomy enough to compete with similar SUVs from Mercedes-Benz and Cadillac? It remains to be seen.

Drivetrain

  • Engines from the X5
  • Both inline-six and V-8
  • Automatic transmission
  • All-wheel drive
  • Limited-slip differential
  • Air suspension
2019 BMW X7 Exterior Spyshots
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The engine lineup could be borrowed from the smaller X5

Outlets that tested X7 prototypes reported that BMW used three engines: a 3.0-liter diesel, a 3.0-liter, inline-six gasoline engine, and a 4.4-liter V-8. It sounds familiar, right? Well, these engine are already available in the X5 and I wouldn’t be surprised if the X7 got them with the same specifications.

The gasoline-fed, 3.0-liter, inline-six unit was revised for the new-generation X5, now generating 335 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque. The 4.4-liter V-8 was overhauled too and delivers a bit more oomph than before at 456 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of twist. Moving over to diesels, the new 3.0-liter inline-six cranks out 261 horses and 457 pound-feet of torque, while the quad-turbo unit delivers an impressive 394 horsepower and 561 pound-feet.

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Every trim will get the company's new adaptive air suspension as standard

All units seem powerful enough for the X7, but BMW may opt to add a bit more oomph since this SUV will be heavier than the new X5.

Every trim will reportedly get the company’s new adaptive air suspension as standard, with double wishbones at the front and a redesigned five-link system to the rear. The Integral Active Steering and the Dynamic Drive active anti-roll bar system will be optional. The Off-Road Package that debuted in the new X5 will also be included on the options list. This feature adds a second toggle on the center tunnel that controls four terrain drive modes: xSand, xRocks, xGravel, and xSnow.

The X7 will also get a variable, electronic limited-slip differential and a factory-installed tow hitch with a 7,700-pound tow rating.

Prices

Being the largest and most luxurious BMW ever built, it’s safe to assume the X7 will also become the most expensive vehicle of the X family. As of late 2016, the most expensive X models in the U.S. are the X5, which starts from $55,500, and the X6, priced from $61,400. That said, the base X7 will probably retail from around $70,000, with the range-topping V-8 model to fetch in excess of $85,000. Should BMW offer a performance-oriented M version, expect it to cost at least $120,000 before options.

Competition

Mercedes-Benz GLS

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class High Resolution Exterior
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Although it’s been often compared to the X5 in the past, the GLS is actually too big for what BMW and Audi have to offer right now. This will come to an end when the X7 hits dealerships to tackle one of the largest Mercs available. Redesigned in 2012, when it was also received an "S" next to its more familiar "GL" badge, the GLS not only looks sportier than its predecessor, but its bigger, more luxurious, and employs more tech gadgets. Among the extra standard features include several driver assist technologies, nine airbags, and the self-leveling AirMatic suspension. The engine lineup is pretty diverse compared to the Cadillac Escalade, including both diesel and gasoline choices. The 350d model uses a 3.0-liter V-6 diesel rated at 256 horsepower and 457 pound-feet, while the gasoline GLS450 comes with a 3.0-liter V-6 that’s good for 362 horses and 369 pound-feet. The GLS500 (550 in the U.S.) gets its juice from the larger, 4.7-liter V-8 that generates 429 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of twist. U.S. pricing starts from $69,550. The current GLS is a bit dated, but the good news is that a new-generation model is just around the corner.

Read our full review on the Mercedes-Benz GLS.

Cadillac Escalade

2015 Cadillac Escalade High Resolution Exterior
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Given the X7 will be a full-size SUV, the Escalade is one of its most likely of foes. With its refreshed look, the Escalade will likely take the cake in terms of aesthetics, but it will fall well short of the Bimmer in terms of driving experience. Like All BMW models — even the big boys — the X7 will be designed to deliver both luxury and performance, and the lumbering Caddy just can’t deliver the goods in this department. Now, in terms of base power, the Escalade has no issues, thanks to a 6.2-liter powerhouse that lays down 420 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque. This should be enough to get the large luxo-barge up to 60 mph in under seven seconds, likely matching the base X7’s sprint. Unfortunately, GM likes to limit its non-performance models to a 107-mph top speed, so the Escalade likely won’t hang in terms of top speed. Pricing starts from $73,395.

Find out more about the Cadillac Escalade here.

Conclusion

2019 BMW X7 Exterior Spyshots
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The BMW X7 is long overdue, but I can understand the Germans not being in a hurry with their largest SUV yet. Competing against the likes of the Mercedes-Benz GLS, Range Rover, and the Cadillac Escalade requires certain credentials, and although BMW is a well established player in the luxury market, it steps into a brand-new dimension with the X7. I honestly believe Munich has what it takes to deliver a successful full-size, luxo-barge, but it will take a few more months to find out whether the X7 will be good enough to at least surpass at least one of its main competitors.

  • Leave it
    • * M version uncertain
    • * Rough market

References

2019 BMW X5 Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop Exterior
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Read our full speculative review on the 2018 BMW X5.

2019 BMW X5 M Exterior Spyshots
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Read our full speculative review on the 2019 BMW X5 M.

Update History

Updated 12/18/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming BMW X7 out for a new testing session, and it is pretty obvious that the prototype started to drop some of the camouflage.

Updated 04/25/2017: Our spy photographers spotted the upcoming X7 out for a new testing session around Nurburgring.

Press Release

The BMW Group is expanding capacity at its U.S. plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina. “To meet strong global demand for our BMW X models, we will invest a total of one billion U.S. dollars in our Spartanburg plant by 2016. This will increase annual production capacity by 50% up to 450,000 vehicles from 300,000 currently,” explained Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Norbert Reithofer, at a special ceremony in Spartanburg on Friday commemorating 20 years of production in the U.S.

Among the guests attending the ceremony held on the plant grounds were U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker; Governor of the state of South Carolina, Nikki Haley; Board of Management member for Production, Harald Krüger; and head of BMW Plant Spartanburg, Manfred Erlacher.

BMW X7 to be built in Spartanburg

BMW X3, X5, X5 M, X6 and X6 M models have been manufactured so far in Spartanburg, BMW’s centre of competence for X vehicles. Friday’s event celebrated the start of production of the BMW X4. Norbert Reithofer also announced a further expansion of the X model family: “With the BMW X7, we are developing another, larger X model, which we will produce at our U.S. plant for our world markets – once again underscoring our commitment to the U.S.”

During the ceremony, BMW Board of Management member for Production Harald Krüger talked about the importance of the U.S. to BMW Group’s overall production strategy: “The BMW Group aims for a good balance of growth between all markets and continents. The Spartanburg plant is an important building block in our international network of 28 production and assembly facilities in 13 countries today. It makes a vital contribution to profitable, globally-balanced growth.”

Krüger continued: “The BMW plant in Spartanburg is the best example of our successful strategy of ‘production follows the market’. The state of South Carolina has supported us as a valuable and reliable partner throughout our 20-year involvement in the region and played a decisive part in making the U.S. our second home.”

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