The new BMW X7 luxury SUV is due to arrive in 2018, after the flagship 4x4 was teased earlier this month in a strategic statement from the brand.
Speaking at the New York Motor Show, BMW AG sales and marketing director Ian Robertson said that the X7 "won't arrive this year or next, but it's well through the development phases."
He added: "There’s very little resemblance to the X5, so it’s not an extended wheelbase X5. It’s very different – we wanted it to have its own identity."
Robertson also commented on the new SUV's luxury appeal: "We will make a higher luxury version of it as well. So in the same way as you take a 7 Series and you bring in the Individual bespoke service as with Rolls Royce.
In its new strateigic statement released in mid-March, BMW says "After leading the premium segment for more than ten consecutive years, the BMW brand is now poised to strengthen its position on a sustainable basis at the top end of its product portfolio, where rates of return are at their highest".
“We will be broadening our model range with the BMW X7,” Krüger said. “We are also taking an in-depth look at the additional potential of this highly attractive segment.”
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Details of what we can expect from the X7 remain thin on the ground, but the teaser image - a screengrab from the presentation - shows the model under a dust sheet, probably in concept form.
We expect a design concept to debut at a motor show sometime in the next year, but a production car won't be arriving for another two years, and we're not even sure if it will come to the UK yet. These spyshots in 2014 were reported to be of a test mule simulating the weight ot the X7.
Although there aren't many larger SUVs than BMW's current X5 in the UK and Europe, in America truly huge 7-seat SUVs are very popular, with models such as the Cadillac Escalade commanding impressive sales figures. The new X7 is predicted to be built in the US and we expect China and the Middle-East to be BMW's priority markets.
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The X7's engines will also buck the European trend for downsizing, with a range of six-cylinder, V8 and V12 engines confirmed. But there is expected to be a development of the eDrive plug-in hybrid system which will appear in the X5.
When it arrives in 2018, the X7 will most likely share some parts with the Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV, which was confirmed as being worked on earlier this month.
Do you think an even bigger and pricier model sitting above the BMW X5 is necessary in the UK? Let us know in the comments below...