BMW has confirmed that it’ll produce an X7, thought to be a new seven-seat flagship model for BMW’s range of X off-roaders. Set to be launched towards the end of the decade, around 2018, the new car should cost from around £65,000.
The announcement came as part of a ceremony at BMW’s Spartanburg factory in South Carolina celebrating 20 years of production in the USA. Chairman of the Board, Norbert Reithofer said: “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.”
Rivals for an SUV larger and plusher than the BMW X5 (pictured) are few and far between here in the UK but the X7 will be taking on models like the Mercedes GL and Range Rover – though the latter does without seven seats. There’s more demand for cars X7-sized in global markets like the US, though, where you can count models like the Infiniti QX80 and Cadillac Escalade among its competitors.
BMW couldn’t confirm which platform the X7 will use but it makes sense for it to use a tweaked version of the one underpinning the next-generation 7 Series, which is due to arrive late in 2015. As BMW begins to introduce aluminium and carbon fibre elements in to its platforms – a process thought to start with the 7 Series – we could even see an X7 that weighs about the same as the smaller X5.
Engines will be six-cylinder, V8 and V12, with a development of the eDrive plug-in hybrid system due in the X5 also likely to be offered. The announcement of the X7 also adds strength to the suggestion that Rolls-Royce will build an SUV. Just as the Ghost borrows a lot of mechanical components from the 7 Series, the new X7 could donate parts to a Rolls-Royce-badged SUV.
As well as announcing the X7, BMW also revealed an expansion of the Spartanburg plant as part of a $1billion investment up until 2016. That’ll see the workforce increase from 8,000 to 8,800, with annual production capacity up from 300,000 to 450,000 units. BMW already builds the X3, X4, X5 and X6 models in Spartanburg.