In the moments after the X7 was teased at BMW’s annual press conference just over a week ago, brand sales boss Ian Robertson reportedly let slip that the regular seven-seat model will be joined by an uber-premium, four-seater limo-style flagship.
BMW has already confirmed that the X7 will go into production, investing US$1 billion into its Spartanburg plant in South Carolina, USA, to build its new top-shelf SUV range.
Above: a teaser image released by BMW this month. Top of page: speculative X7 rendering by independent artist, Theophilus Chin.
Industry journal Automotive News reports that the new X7 is part of BMW’s plan to expand its range of ‘GKL’ models - short for Grand Klasse in German - which already includes the recently-redesigned 7 Series limousine.
Robertson is reported to have said that another GKL offering “is well under way”, but declined to confirm if the upcoming model is the production version of the Vision Future Luxury concept which was shown at the 2014 Beijing motor show, rumoured to be called the 9 Series.
“We will see it in the not too distant future,” he said. “This is not something we dreamt up last week.”
Although Mercedes-Benz has already confirmed that a Maybach version of its big GLS SUV is under consideration, Robertson would not comment on whether the ultra-premium X7 variant was being prepared as a direct rival to such a model.
However, Robertson added that the “quintessential luxury” arm of the BMW Group is still Rolls-Royce.
“We do not need a Maybach,” he said.
Rolls-Royce is also working on its own SUV, due in 2018, however the X7 is not believed to share any components with the high-riding Roller.
BMW X2 coming to accompany X1
Robertson also confirmed that BMW will soon launch an all-new compact crossover, though he wouldn’t specify what it would be called.
The model in question is expected to be the X2, a coupe-styled version of the recently released X1 SUV.
Engine options in the new X2 are likely to mirror the lineup already offered in the X1, which includes a range of three- and four-cylinder turbocharged petrol and diesel engines, offered with the option of front- and all-wheel drive.
It is likely that the X2 will be unveiled later this year, possibly at the Paris motor show in October, with the production version hitting showrooms sometime in 2017.