With striking looks that have already divided opinion, the X7 iPerformance Concept is easy to spot with its broad front end featuring an extravagant representation of the brand’s kidney grille, which sits above an equally conspicuous chrome bar that extends across the lower front and rises vertically to frame the outer air intakes at their upper edge.
According to BMW, that grille combines with the sleek headlights to “create an exciting contrast of horizontal dynamism and vertical solidity, bringing traditional BMW front-end design cues into the future”.
Even so, it remains to be seen how the X7’s angular aesthetics translate to the production version that’s due next year. While you’d generally expect it will be toned down, it’s worth remembering the American-built X7 is primarily designed for the US and Chinese markets which aren’t as adverse to ostentatious vehicle design.
That said, the BMW X7 iPerformance Concept has a number of pleasing design elements that could be happily carried across, such as the sleek LED headlights, stunning panoramic glass roof, and narrow L-shaped taillights flanking an illuminated band running across its BMW X5-like split tailgate.
The flush door handles and slim wing mirrors also look good, but it’s doubtful they’ll be practical enough to make it to production.
While the exterior demands attention, as any concept should, the seemingly production-ready interior is elegantly styled, spacious, and airy with three rows containing six amply proportioned seats mounted on narrow bases to create plenty of legroom even in the third row.
The minimalist dashboard looks less cluttered than the new BMW 5 and 7 Series models, while the 12.3-inch instrument cluster screen and central touchscreen sleekly meld into each other to provide a clean look that’s complemented by a futuristic steering wheel and slim air vents.
The second row features personalised infotainment systems with individual touchscreen monitors that can access the web via BMW Connected, allowing occupants to work, play or be entertained on the move. Content can even be shared with others on board using gesture control.
BMW didn’t elaborate on the plug-in hybrid powertrain except to say that the BMW Concept X7 demonstrates that it’s perfectly possible to combine a large sports activity vehicle with an electrified drivetrain. But it’s likely to be the same hybrid system as the 740e iPerformance’s turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor and 9.2kWh lithium-ion battery pack.