BMW announces super-luxurious version of its X7 crossover

Article by Andrew Christian, on March 30, 2016

The new BMW X7 crossover will be available in two versions -- a seven-seater and a $100,000-plus uber-luxurious X7 four-seater. According to BMW brand sales chief Ian Robertson, the super-luxurious X7 is part of the German carmaker’s expansion plans for its GKL (Grand Klasse) models that already include the redesigned 7-series sedan.

Both X7 versions will feature a look distinct from the BMW X5 large crossover. He announced that BMW is planning to add more GKL models, but fell short of confirming the rumored 9 series.

Robertson, however, disclosed another model is well under way and BMW plans to unveil it in the not too distant future. He also did not say whether the uber-luxurious version of the X7 is BMW’s response to the Maybach version of the Mercedes-Benz GLS SUV.

Sources at Mercedes-Benz disclosed the Maybach version of the GL SUV might be the second model for the sub-brand. Nonetheless, Robertson noted that the quintessential luxury remains to be Rolls-Royce, which is owned by BMW.

He quipped that a sub-brand like “Maybach" is not needed. He said that the range-topping X7 won’t share any components with the Rolls-Royce crossover – referred to as the Cullinan by insiders -- that will be launched in 2018.

The Rolls-Royce SUV, according to Robertson, will employ an aluminum spaceframe construction while both X7s will be housed in a monocoque. On the other hand, Robertson disclosed that BMW is planning to introduce another compact crossover in the United States.

This new small SUV is expected to be the X2, which is a coupe version of the X1. It is also expected that the new X2 will feature looks similar to that of the BMW X4 and BMW X6. BMW is seen to introduce the new model in the US in 2017. Ludwig Willisch, chief executive of BMW of North America, said the company is eager to receive new crossovers.

He is expecting crossovers to account for around 40 percent of BMW's total sales in the US in 2016, up from 30 percent in 2015. He noted that BMW’s current SUV volume for the US is enough to satisfy the demand for them.

In contrast, Willisch is expecting sales of sedan to slow down this year, noting that some rivals are trying to offset that by trying to have the crossover account for between 60 percent and 70 percent of sales in the US.

He quipped that the higher-end X7 would be a niche model that would have a price of between $100,000 and $200,000. He expects the higher-end version to account for around 1 percent of X7 sales. BMW will produce both X7s at its Spartanburg site in South Carolina and commence their sales in 2018.

Topics: bmw, bmw x7, suv, luxury car

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