The unveiling of the BMW Concept X7 iPerformance at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show in September indicated the imminent arrival of a new flagship sports utility vehicle. Now, the German premium carmaker has started the countdown for the launch of the final model – the BMW X7 Sports Activity Vehicle -- after the first pre-production models rolled off the assembly at its plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
According to the carmaker, this signals the countdown for the final 12 months leading to the unveiling of the final production version in the end of 2018. The production of the pre-production models at the BMW Group Spartanburg plant will allow the premium carmaker to both secure and optimize future series production.
BMW Group Spartanburg plant is the current home of BMW’s X models – BMW X3, X4, X5 and X6 – and the addition of the upcoming X7 means that the assembly site would soon be producing five BMW X models. BMW X7 pre-production models are being assembled at the same line as the BMW X5 and X6 production models. The company has already assigned a team that would create the series production process for the final BMW X7.
Once they roll off the assembly line, the pre-production X7 models would then be turned over to BMW’s development department specialists for purposes like homologation, registration as well as diverse tests. BMW plans to have the pre-production X7 models undergo endurance tests as well as test drives under extreme conditions in places like Scandinavia (snowy) and Death Valley (desert). But while still at the Spartanburg site, the pre-production models are wrapped in camouflage -- conspicuous striped patterns that help conceal the final appearance of the BMW X7.
It is expected that the final production version of the BMW X7 would borrow a number of design cues from the Concept X7 iPerformance study, which provided a new glimpse of a new face in the BMW X family. The front end of the Concept X7 iPerformance features an all-new interpretation of classical BMW elements, like the large vertical kidney grille which frame and bars are single-piece and solid in design. Meanwhile, the upper sections of the slim, elongated twin headlights – featuring BMW laser light – are connected to the large kidney grille. The BMW laser light comes with a blue X signature that point to its being a member of the BMW X family.
While photos show the pre-production model wrapped in a camouflage, it fails to conceal the fact the large kidney grille and the narrow headlights of Concept X7 iPerformance have managed to find their way into the pre-production BMW X7, albeit in toned down forms. The lower section of the front end of the camouflaged model, meanwhile, doesn’t seem to adopt the squared chin of the concept. Nonetheless, the X7 is still at its pre-production phase, which means that some visual changes could be expected until the final version is unveiled at the end of 2018.