The car is being pitched as a 7 Series on stilts
The upcoming X7 will become a natural halo for the BMW Australia range, as it brings the latest technology and safety gear, plus th practicality and space of seven seats.
Pitched as a 7 Series SUV, the X7 will go into production very late in 2018, with Australian vehicles set to arrive sometime in the first half of 2019.
The upsized luxury SUV will be offered with diesel and petrol powertrains, with a plug-in hybrid likely to follow in time.
BMW Australia general manager of corporate communications, Lenore Fletcher, said demand for the X7 should be a natural extension of what is currently offered with the other X models.
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“BMW Australia has a very strong standing in SAV and SUV stakes: last year our three most popular vehicles where X3, [X]5, [X]1. In Australia, there is certainly the appetite for [more] SUVs,” Fletcher told CarAdvice.
“At the same time, it’s evident that there is appetite for premium vehicles given the rise in that segment for the last five years. BMW grown more than 30 per cent in the last six years.
“From that point of view, an X7 is a natural halo for the X brand in Australia, so we would definitely see that as being an offering for our customers who are looking for a little bit of extra space, but want to have all of that luxury and dynamic ability that they would expect from a BMW.”
The X7 will launch after the new-generation BMW X5, with which it’ll share plenty of technology. Nonetheless, the X7 will come standard with features like air suspension, a full panoramic roof, two 12-inch screens and more. Features like laser lights will also be available as options.
It will offer larger third-row seats than the 5+2 option on the current X5, attracting the buyers being persuaded by the Mercedes-Benz GLS and full-sized Range Rovers at the moment.
Fletcher says BMW’s long-running presence in the premium-SUV market will hold the X7 in higher esteem than its rivals.
“Australians love SUVs, the good thing about SUVs and X vehicles for BMW is that we were the pioneers for premium SUVs [in 1999 with the first X5]. We have these clients that we know really well, and have been in the brand for many years, so we keep them within the brand with these SUVs and we know how to look after them.
“Some of our competitors do have SUVs, but haven’t been in the market as long, so we have more experience and know what they want.”
As for who the X7 is chasing?
“I think that the addition of those two rear seats that are in a different format is going to be a welcome addition and they will get a lot of use, it’s for people who want to take the kids, the kids’ friends or the grandparents or something like that.
“So for those people to still have the ability of drivability and luxury [of a BMW], the X7 will be perfect for that.”
When it comes to pricing, BMW says the X7 will certainly sit above the X5, but by how much remains to be seen.
“As you know, we do have renewals to both our X5 and X7 vehicles but the key target of BMW over the last few years has been to bring in new models with as little premium as possible, but also with all the new technology and as much specification as we possibly can, so you can see the customer is getting excellent value because they are getting new vehicles, newer tech with more spec with very little premium over the original price.
“That will be our aim going forward. With an all-new vehicle you would expect to see some uplift in price, but we are working on that at the moment. As the halo vehicle you would look at the X7 being again above the X5.”
The BMW X7 will also be available with an off-road pack – that includes a rear locking differential and skid plates – which may address the long-standing perception of BMW X car’s sub-standard off-road performance. Whether it will be popular is up in an unknown for now.
“We are working through the process at the moment. It’s hard to say, because we haven’t had it available, we haven’t had that feedback.”
BMW Australia currently sells more SUVs than passenger cars (65:35), with all-wheel drive models winning the majority of sales over rear-drive versions of the X5.
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