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BMW’s X7 full-size SUV would cater to the rough roads of China, India, and Russia

BMW loves to build chimeric crossovers like the X6 and X4 “sports activity coupes”, but there’s one utility-vehicle segment it’s completely missed.

The Bavarian carmaker doesn’t have a full-size SUV to compete with behemoths like the Cadillac Escalade, Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, and Land Rover Range Rover … but it might soon.

BMW was actually planning such a vehicle until the 2008 global financial crisis and, according to Germany’s Handelsblatt, it’s back on.

While it hasn’t been approved for production, this “X7” would ride on the platform of the next-generation 7 Series, and likely share engines and technical features with BMW’s flagship sedan.

The X7 might make more sense now than it did even before the “Great Recession”.

The mega-SUV is expected to explode over the newt few years. An influx of wealthy buyers in developing markets like China, India, and Russia are expected to boost demand for vehicles that are spacious, luxurious, and can handle poor roads.

Tightening emissions standards and Russia’s increasingly volatile relationship with the West may undo some of that, but for now the world’s premium carmakers believe SUVs are the way to go.

That’s why, in addition to brands like Bentley and Lamborghini, BMW ward Rolls-Royce is also considering an SUV.

The British carmaker is far from a final decision, but the X7 could form the basis for a Rolls SUV, just as the 7 Series served as the jumping-off point for the Ghost.

At the very least, a full-size BMW SUV wouldn’t require the corporate soul searching of a Rolls twin, or some of the company’s stranger recent products. It would be a logical extension of the brand into a well-defined segment already occupied by its rivals.

That could make the hulking X7 the most rational vehicle BMW has designed in awhile.

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