It was an OMG moment when I saw this press release come from BMW. Released at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the Concept X7 iPerformance sounds incredible. Twin-turbo petrol engine and plug-in hybrid drive train? Yes please. This thing will surely move quickly.
Individual second row seats, and exterior dimensions that BMW calls “expansive”. There will be no mistaking the X7 when it hits the streets. I’m not so sure about that stretched kidney grille, but it may grow on me.
Munich. With the unveiling of the BMW Concept X7 iPerformance at the IAA Cars 2017 show in Frankfurt, the BMW Group is not only pulling back the covers on a new model concept for the luxury segment, it is also introducing a whole new take on luxury for the BMW brand. The Concept X7 iPerformance embodies this understanding of luxury in the form of a striking exterior composed of intently focused lines, and combines it with a generously-sized, six-person interior pared down to the essentials: elementary forms, high-class materials and a state-of- the-art infotainment system brimming with connectivity. The Concept’s iPerformance badge denotes the presence of ground breaking BMW eDrive technology allied with a BMW TwinPower Turbo petrol engine to create an exceptionally efficient and dynamic plug-in hybrid powertrain that excels in all driving situations – including running with zero local emissions.
A taster of the production version
This study car offers a look ahead to the future production model set to make its debut in 2018. The forthcoming BMW X7 forms part of the largest model offensive in the company’s history. As part of its NUMBER ONE > NEXT strategy, the BMW Group is seeking to substantially increase its sales and revenues in the luxury class. The BMW X7 has a key role to play here, as Ian Robertson, Member of the BMW AG Management Board responsible for Sales and Brand BMW explains: “Since BMW founded the Sports Activity Vehicle segment with the first X5 back in 1999, every subsequent X vehicle has broken new ground. The BMW X7 continues this tradition: the X family’s new top model extends BMW’s offering in the luxury class and redefines the concept of luxury for the BMW brand and beyond. It also embodies one of the most important elements of our corporate strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT, to grow our presence in the luxury class. Furthermore, the BMW Concept X7 demonstrates it’s perfectly possible to combine a large sports activity vehicle with an electrified drivetrain.”
A case study in modernity, luxury and presence
The status of the BMW Concept X7 iPerformance as a luxury-class BMW SAV is instantly apparent. The spectacular exterior, imposing dimensions and skilfully judged proportions endow it with an extraordinary sense of presence and an ultra-modern aesthetic fused with innate dynamism. “The Concept introduces the BMW Sports Activity Vehicle DNA into the luxury segment. The new BMW design language employs just a few, extremely precise lines and subtle surface- work to raise the bar in terms of presence and prestige,” explains Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design. “The BMW Concept X7 iPerformance has a luxurious and sophisticated feel to it, thanks to its understated use of forms and incredibly precise details.”
The luxurious character of the BMW Concept X7 iPerformance is brought alive by its cabin, in particular. The vehicle’s sheer size forms the basis for an interior experience unmatched by any BMW past or present. As a result of the interplay between precise, pared-down forms and an open sense of space, the driver and passengers find themselves immersed in a very modern setting with an equally exclusive feel. The wealth of possibilities offered by personalised, digital connectivity allows the vehicle’s interior to be turned, as desired, into a personalised place of either retreat or productivity.
A contemporary feeling of lightness in the interior
Inside the roomy cabin of the BMW Concept X7 iPerformance, clear forms, warm colours and select materials combine to create a highly exclusive, sophisticated ambience. In addition, the large panoramic roof provides a remarkable amount of room above the occupants’ heads while also giving the interior a light and airy, open-to-the-sky feel. The six amply proportioned seats are arranged in three rows, and four of them have an exclusive individual design. Secured to the vehicle floor by nothing more than a slender seat base, the individual seats allow those sitting directly behind to enjoy generous legroom.
The dark, olive-bronze leather – with discreet gold pigmentation – covering the seat bolsters carries the air of exclusivity through to the finer details and the Smoke White leather adorning the remainder of the seats provides an intriguing contrast. The shell-like backs of the individual seats are likewise trimmed in leather and serve to enhance the high-class, contemporary ambience.
A perfect ensemble of materials and colour
The dark shoulder line running underneath the windows traces a continuous horizon throughout the cabin that brings fresh calmness to the bright interior. Decorative materials are deployed sparingly. Having said that, the selective use of open-pore ash in a dark-stained, matt finish sets the seal on the natural material experience. Matt and polished aluminium elements have likewise been carefully incorporated to add further classy touches. And the luxurious sense of spaciousness enjoyed from all seats is reinforced to subtle effect by strands of laser light in the roof and the dynamic ambient and contour lighting.
Minimalist forms in the driver’s cabin
Amid the modern and pared-back design of the interior is the driver focus familiar to BMW customers. The forms and surfacing of the instrument panel, centre console and doors allow them to “wrap around” the driver. And the raised seating position provides unbeatable all-round visibility and an exceptional view over the road. The new BMW design language, featuring amply-sized surfaces and clear edges, gives the instrument panel a “reduced to the essentials”, modern aesthetic. The 12.3-inch instrument cluster screen and central touchscreen information display are sited at close quarters to one another. The effect is of one unbroken – and smartly sophisticated – display. A new operating concept allows interactive use of the two displays. Below them, in the centre stack and centre console, the grouping of functions within the clean and tautly chiselled surfaces underscores the minimalist approach. Partially backlit crystal glass in the dark Silver Night shade lends sophisticated flourishes to control elements like the selector lever, iDrive Controller and multifunction buttons on the steering wheel.
Personalised infotainment through the seamless integration of the owner’s digital world into the car.
The two individual seats in the second row offer all the benefits of the front pair. The first sign of an attachment between the panoramic roof and body comes comfortably to the rear of the second row of seats in the form of a Y structure, which means the passengers in the centre row experience the same sensation of freedom and lightness as those in the front. Second-row passengers also enjoy personalised infotainment comfort courtesy of the rear-seat entertainment system’s touchscreen monitors. Here, the BMW Concept X7 iPerformance showcases the BMW Group’s vision of seamless integrating the customer’s digital world into the car via BMW Connected.
For example, passengers here have access to highly personalised, digital services such as their choice of infotainment / office content, with which they can make their journey more comfortable, more entertaining or more productive. And content can even be shared with others on board. For instance, they can send a track to the car’s music system by touch gesture, forward an interesting article to the next-door display for the person sitting alongside them to read or transfer an address from their email directly to the car’s navigation system. Interactive LED choreography via the doors and instrument panel traces the communication flow between the rear screens and the display at the front of the cabin.
Impressive size and presence – the exterior
The expansive exterior of the BMW Concept X7 iPerformance projects the exclusive experience available inside the car confidently to the outside world. Clear, vertical proportions with significant ground clearance identify the Concept as an X model without the need to look twice. At the same time, the Concept speaks its own, unmistakable design language – a new one for BMW – through an array of details and design features which set it apart clearly from previous models. Viewed from any angle, the interplay between a small number of precise lines and artfully sculpted surfaces sends out a charismatic statement of modernity, presence and exclusivity.
A new face in the BMW X family
The front end of the BMW Concept X7 iPerformance is one of its most eye- catching angles, the vehicle’s height alone ensuring it rises prominently over the road. In an all-new interpretation of classical BMW elements, the front-end design groups together the various facets of the vehicle into a powerful visual statement. The large, vertical kidney grille at the heart of the upright front-end silhouette hogs the attention. The grille frame and bars are single-piece and solid in design, as if hewn from a single piece. Look at it again, though, and fascinating contrasts emerge between gleaming edges and matt surfaces, all of which breathes extra vibrancy and class into the frontal impression.
The upper sections of the slim, elongated twin headlights with BMW laser light link to the large kidney grille. A blue X signature in BMW laser light provides a confident pointer to the Concept’s membership of the SAV family from BMW. The headlights and kidney grille combine to create an exciting contrast of horizontal dynamism and vertical solidity, bringing traditional BMW front-end design cues into the future. Large, tautly sculpted surfaces surround the familiar BMW design icons, underlining the car’s cohesive and muscular front-end aesthetic.
A prominent bar extends across the full width of the front apron in its lower section, before rising vertically to frame the outer air intakes at their upper edge. This lends the front end additional stature. Quasi-vertical aero lips further accentuate the car’s powerfully assured stance on the road.
Customary X features like the trapezoidal bumpers and underguard, meanwhile, are merely hinted at, their understated design serving the cause of clear and exclusive surfacing.
From the side, the BMW Concept X7 iPerformance cuts a sumptuous figure, complete with the characteristic ground clearance of X vehicles. The nigh-on vertical front end, striking and almost vertical rear and steeply rising angle from the rear wheels to the tailgate give the muscular proportions a modern flourish. The high-set lines of the flanks bring an expressive confidence to the car’s silhouette. And the long shoulderline stretches the car and injects an athletic tension to the flanks. It also separates the car’s body into the light and airy glasshouse (which offers a preview of the large interior) and the muscular metal forms.
For the first time in an X vehicle, the wheel arches feature a circular cut and emphasize the exclusivity and elegance of the flanks. Smart and precise surfacing absorbs the powerful wheel arches in an aesthetic movement. The surfaces gain in volume and strength as they head towards the rear end, further underscoring the subtle dynamism of the car when viewed from the side.
Bold accents in the flanks
A conspicuous chrome strip in the door sills provides an exclusive counterpoint to the car’s long, stretched shoulderline and sophisticated surfaces below. As with the trim element at the front end, the chrome strip in the car’s flanks frames the Air Breathers in a vertical accent, before continuing in a straight line to the rear end. These surrounds for the front, side and rear air apertures create a geometrically precise impression and lend the car a sense of robust solidity.
The exclusive exterior colour shade Manhattan metallic immerses the car’s surfaces and forms in a dark olive-bronze that highlights the confident styling of the flanks with sophisticated flair. With their bold multi-spoke design, the 23-inch light-alloy wheels combine the muscularity for which BMW’s X models are renowned with the exclusivity of a luxury BMW sedan, while aerodynamically optimised inlays between the spokes reduce drag. Added to which, conspicuous aero lips at the front and rear also ensure improved airflow around those areas of the car and send out a powerful visual message of the plug-in hybrid drive concept’s efficiency. A bird’s-eye view of the BMW Concept X7 iPerformance reveals a particular highlight. Like the side window surrounds, the panoramic roof is framed by an eye-catching chrome strip, which extends from one A-pillar to the rear end – and back around the other side. In between, the roof’s transparent, Y-shaped supporting structure adds a modern flourish.
Power, presence and exclusivity at the rear
The rear of the BMW Concept X7 iPerformance sends out an impressive statement of powerful authority and exclusive elegance. The imposing size of the vehicle’s body – the key to its huge swathes of interior space – is particularly clear when viewed from the rear. Vertical aero lips mark out the rear of the car clearly from the flanks. Within the upright rear silhouette, the slim rear lights break up the body volumes and a classy chrome bar connects the two lighting elements. The boldly designed lights create a three-dimensional L shape and bring a technical, high-quality flavour to the rear. As at the front of the car, the surfaces frame the lights like jewels. Between the wheel arches, the rear apron with practical tailgate opening provides a strong platform for the rear structure.
The absence of tailpipe embellishers in the rear apron is an indicator of the vehicle’s plug-in hybrid drive concept. And the subtle, body-coloured underguard ensures the rear concludes its progress towards the road in stylish fashion.
Distinctive brand presence for BMW’s luxury-segment cars
As part of its forthcoming model offensive, BMW has developed a new presence for its luxury cars that sees the profile and positioning of the most exclusive members of its range refined into a distinct product category.
The new BMW 8 Series, new BMW X7, BMW i8 and new BMW i8 Roadster will join the BMW 7 Series in the brand’s significantly expanded luxury segment line- up. The identity and attitude shared by BMW’s elite models are echoed in a newly designed logo which combines a black-and-white version of the manufacturer’s roundel first used 100 years ago with the company name “Bayerische Motoren Werke” written out in full.
With its classical, understated aesthetic and the company’s original name spelt out, the logo highlights BMW’s inimitable history. The boldness to explore standalone solutions and concepts, and the ability to take on challenges and emerge from them stronger, are deeply-rooted elements of BMW heritage. This approach – encompassing everything from the first altitude-world-record- breaking aero engine to the launch of the BMW i brand – has proven to be a recipe for success, as well as showcasing the company’s passion, confidence and gift for bringing the future into the present day. The new presence for the brand’s luxury-segment models will be unveiled for the first time at the IAA Cars 2017 show in Frankfurt on 14 – 24 September 2017.