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A first teaser image for the upcoming 2018 BMW X7 SUV has been quietly released during BMW’s annual press conference.

Earlier this week, BMW held its annual meet with the media to outline the company’s future product strategies. Speaking on topics that included digitisation, autonomous motoring and electro-mobility, BMW CEO Harald Krueger also used the opportunity to touch on the upcoming X7 large SUV.

Krueger reaffirmed the Bavarian manufacturer’s plans to bring the X7 to market and, as the images here show, a thinly veiled X7 was shown in a slide alongside other members of the BMW X-family.

Known internally as G07, the big brother to the popular X3 and X5 SUVs is expected to ride on the same Cluster Architecture (CLAR) that underpins the new sixth-generation 7 Series limousine.

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The X7’s launch is scheduled for 2018, set to take on the likes of the Mercedes-Benz GLS and the Range Rover.

US website BMWBlog reports that the projected annual production for the X7 is 45,000 units, with the base version of the SUV flagship estimated to cost around 130,000 euros – over AUD$190,000 before all the fees and taxes that Australian models are subject to.

Following the rapidly growing trend for big, premium SUVs, the X7 will be BMW’s first true seven-seater sports utility.

It is believed that the X7 will feature the suspension and running gear seen in the current X5 SUV and X6 coupe, with drivetrain options including a rear-wheel sDrive layout as well as BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system.

Power plants are likely to be a range of six- and eight-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, as well as a potential plug-in hybrid version.

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Above: as its name suggests, the ‘upper large’ X7 will sit above the current X5 (above) in the BMW model hierarchy

The X7’s cabin could reportedly be the most sumptuous interior of any model in its line-up – even more so than the 7 Series limo.

BMW announced production of the X7 in 2014, confirming that the company would invest US$1 billion ($1.08 billion) into its South Carolina, USA, production facility to build the brand’s new SUV flagship.

BMW Australia has already voiced its keen interest in the model, however details of the vehicle’s availability in right-hand-drive are still yet to be confirmed.

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