Looks like: The BMW X5 … but bigger, and with a few more futuristic vents
Defining characteristics: The cabin is enclosed almost entirely by glass
Ridiculous features: Personalized infotainment systems for second-row passengers complete with sharing across the individual screens and with the display in front, all tracked by “interactive LED choreography” to indicate the flow of information. How are backseat passengers supposed to make fun of the driver now?
Chances of being mass-produced: Once the opulent interior and extreme connected car tech is left on the auto show floor, 100 percent. BMW’s press materials confirm a X7 to debut in 2018.
The breadth and depth of the BMW lineup makes it a bit surprising that it’s taken the Bavarian manufacturer this long to come up with an SUV larger than the X5, especially when so many other manufacturers have SUVs of that size. The BMW Concept X7 iPerformance is a full-size, three-row plug-in hybrid SUV concept debuting at the 2017 International Motor Show Germany in Frankfurt, and it’s a good taste of what the production X7 debuting in 2018 will be.
The iPerformance name is an indication of BMW’s commitment to electrifying its future production models: This concept is a plug-in hybrid, combining BMW’s eDrive electrification technology with a turbocharged gasoline engine.
Outside, the concept features a new take on BMW’s signature twin-kidney grille. This time, the kidney-shaped openings are larger and more upright, as if its designers had been watching too much Looney Tunes or decided to take the phrase “long in the tooth” a bit too literally.
The grille is flanked by tall and narrow air vents, which pass air over the front wheels and then out openings on the other side. Those openings are connected to a horizontal chrome strip that continues along the length of the body until terminating at the rear wheel arches. Not content with just those four vents, there are two additional vents behind the rear wheels. Above the chrome strip, deeply sculpted sides end in muscular front and rear wheel arches.
The cabin area consists of a panoramic roof combining with large windows and a windscreen that almost rivals the Tesla Model X in size. So much glass serves as a way to make the SUV feel open and spacious inside. .
Speaking of inside, the X7 Concept iPerformance seats six in three rows of two seats. There’s not a center console running all the way through to the third row, so expect the production version to offer seating for six, seven or even eight with two rows of bench seats. The first two rows of seats feature a unique base designed to enhance legroom for the occupants sitting behind them.
While sitting in their seats, second-row passengers can access individual and personalized touchscreens, including entertainment features and work-related technologies for the businessperson on the go – who has hired a driver, apparently.
Content can be shared from one screen to another and even with the front display. This allows second-row passengers to control the music being played, share an article with their seatmate or even send an address to the built-in navigation system. Built-in LEDs along the doors and instrument panels light up to track the information being sent from screen to screen, so be careful about passing notes.
The BMW Concept X7 iPerformance’s features may not fully translate to the production X7, but it’s not a bad foundation on which to build the next SUV to come from Munich.