Premium SUVs are hot with a capital H right now, as Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover, Bentley, Lamborghini, and Rolls Royce are all hard at work at their individual interpretations (or are creating new versions) of the segment.
We’ve known for some time now that BMW was working on a flagship SUV to be named the X7, and now Automotive News is reporting that it will debut in two versions: a standard seven-seater, and a super luxury four-seater iteration costing $100,000 or more.
BMW brand executive Ian Robertson also mentioned that the automaker will launch another small crossover that will come to the U.S., and our money is on the rumored X2.
The four-seater X7 is part of an internal movement at BMW to expand its GKL models (Grand Klasse in German), which include the redesigned 7 Series. The X7 will also have a unique look as compared to the X5, and our bets are on styling cues from the new 7 Series. The X7 is due in 2018 and will be built in BMW’s factory in Spartanburg, S.C.
When asked if the more premium X7 is an answer to the rumored Mercedes-Maybach SUV, Robertson responded that, “the quintessential luxury is still the [BMW-owned] Rolls-Royce — we do not need a Maybach.” However, the Rolls Royce SUV will undoubtedly be priced in line with Bentley’s near-$300,000 Bentayga, so that leaves plenty of room for a luxurious BMW to slot within the $100,000 — $200,000 range.
Speaking of the Rolls Royce SUV, the X7 won’t share any components with the vehicle that’s also due in 2018. The Rolls will use an aluminum space-frame chassis while the X7 will use a monocoque structure, according to Robertson.
Beyond the X7, Robertson didn’t confirm that an 8 or 9 Series is on the way, but he did say more GKL vehicles were coming, one of which is well into development. “This is not something we dreamt up last week,” Robertson said. Sounds like a new flagship to me.
As for the upcoming X2, BMW is keen to get it to market, as 40 percent of BMW’s total U.S. sales come from that segment. Meanwhile, the brand’s sedan sales are slowing.
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