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BMW Australia says there is room in its product portfolio for a larger proper seven-seater SUV in the form of the upcoming X7, a space that the current X5 with its third-row seating option doesn’t appear to be filling.

Speaking to CarAdvice at the launch of the new BMW M2 at Targa Tasmania this week, BMW CEO Mark Werner admitted that sales of seven-seater X5s were not that high, despite healthy market demand for more than five seats in that segment.

“The take-up rate of the third row option on the X5 is considerably low” Werner told CarAdvice. “I personally believe it’s a matter of awareness or perception.”

The BMW X5’s third-row seating option makes up a very small percentage of overall X5 sales, while larger and similarly sized competitors like the Mercedes-Benz GLS (formerly GL), Audi Q7, Volvo XC90 and Land Rover Discovery have for long catered to that market.

Even so, BMW Australia’s own customers are telling the brand they are interested in a bigger SUV than the X5.

“Certainly from our market research, it very clearly tells us that there is room for an even bigger SUV in our product line-up, and that the feedback we receive from our customers is that they want more space,” Werner said.

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The already confirmed BMW X7 is still a number of years away, with Werner admitting that we won’t see the large SUV in 2017, suggesting it will make its debut sometime in 2018. What it will do however, is provide additional sales on top of the X5, rather than take sales from Australia’s most popular luxury SUV.

“If you look at the statistics from our competitors, it will suggest that it will be the X5 [as the core seller] and the X7 will be an add-on.”

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.

Both the upcoming BMW X7 and current and future X5 models are sourced from South Carolina in the United States, with the M performance models the only variants still being produced in Germany.

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