The upcoming BMW X7 SUV flagship is set to be previewed by a concept version at this year's Frankfurt motor show in September, complete with a fuel-cell powertrain - according to a new report.

BMW Blog claims the 'Concept X7' fuel-cell will make its debut at the event, and if the company's previous concept cars are anything to go by - see X2 and 8 Series - it will very likely be close to production ready.

Fuel-cell is expected to be the power source for the show car, as it offers customers the flexibility to cover longer distances than full-electric vehicles, while also providing zero-emissions transport.

Above: a speculative rendering by Theophilus Chin

It's not the first time the X7 has been mulled for a Frankfurt debut, either, with similar claims surfacing across European publications in June.

The X7, as its name suggests, will sit above the X5 in BMW's SUV line-up, and will be the company's first proper seven-seat crossover. It will take on the likes of the Audi Q7 and Mercedes-Benz GLS, while higher-spec versions will stretch to the domain of high-end SUVs like the Range Rover and Bentley Bentayga.

While fuel-cell will be a possibility for the production version, the X7 will almost certainly offer a range of turbocharged six- and eight- cylinder petrol and diesel engines shared across the X5 and 7 Series ranges, along with an iPerformance plug-in hybrid (PHEV) option - potentially the 240kW/500Nm setup from the 740e.

For now, though, we'll have to wait until the Frankfurt show to get official details. Stay tuned.

Australia

Speaking with CarAdvice in February, BMW's local boss, Marc Werner, confirmed the X7 will be offered in right-hand drive, and introduced to our market shortly after the local launch.

"Arguably this is probably something we would have liked to see much earlier, but it’s the way it is. The car is coming and that’s good news. It’s confirmed for Australia, though it’s still a couple of years away. That’s okay,” he said.

"We will not only be competitive, but the new benchmark."

Timing for the new SUV is expected to be later in 2018 or early 2019.