BMW envisions its upcoming three-row SUV as a plug-in hybrid that will break new ground in the large luxury utility segment.
The automaker plans to unveil the six-seat BMW Concept X7 iPerformance this week at the Frankfurt auto show. It teases the production X7 that BMW will launch in 2018 and bring to the U.S. in early 2019.
The long-awaited X7, part of a wave of new and redesigned BMW utility vehicles, will give the brand a full-size SUV. BMW has trailed competitors such as Mercedes-Benz, which sells about 30,000 of its GLS large SUV annually.
The X7 is expected to come in six- and eight-cylinder versions, and there has been speculation about a possible 12-cylinder performance version.
For the Concept X7, few powertrain details were given other than it is a plug-in hybrid featuring a BMW TwinPower turbocharged gasoline engine. The concept also has a front end with an extra-tall vertical kidney grille that "hogs the attention," BMW said.
The production X7 will play a key role in expanding BMW's sales and revenue in the luxury segment, Ian Robertson, BMW AG board member in charge of global sales and marketing, said in a statement.
"Since BMW founded the sports activity vehicle segment with the first X5 back in 1999, every subsequent X vehicle has broken new ground," Robertson said. "The BMW X7 continues this tradition. In addition to extending the automaker's luxury class presence, "the BMW Concept X7 demonstrates it's perfectly possible to combine a large sports activity vehicle with an electrified drivetrain," he said.
Electrification is a big part of BMW's future strategy. The company announced last week that it would offer 25 electrified vehicles, including 12 full EVs, by 2025. BMW will showcase a new four-door EV at the Frankfurt show. BMW CEO Harald Krueger said the company's EVs will have a range of up to 435 miles on a full charge.