BMW Concept X7 iPerformance Comes To Town
It might have been presented at Bangsar Shopping Centre, Kuala Lumpur on the back of a first-half sales report, but it was nonetheless quite riveting to finally set eyes on what could be the final product of a full-blown SUV version of BMW’s famous Seven Series flagship. It’s still a concept yes, but it’s good to take note of its design cues and offerings because these days, concepts rarely differ from the final production model.
For starters, as an SUV, it looks majestically like a true boss and few at the event spectacle said otherwise. There’s a great interplay between direct and fluid lines that give the X7 Concept a very sleek look for a full-sized SUV. The prominent feature on the front-end is the striking vertical kidney grille, the unmistakable BMW signature. The grille frame and bars are single-piece and solid in design. The eye-catching grille and air inlets give form to a strong visual statement, with gleaming edges and matte surfaces bringing out contrasts that add nuance to the grandeur of the design language.
A blue ‘X’ signature in BMW laser light provides a confident pointer to the BMW Concept X7 iPerformance’s membership of the BMW SAV family. A prominent bar extends across the full width of the front apron in its lower section, before rising vertically to frame the outer air intakes at their upper edge. The characteristic ground clearance of any BMW X vehicle and the high-set lines of the flanks also project an athletic silhouette, accentuated by the long shoulder line that establishes the flowy physicality of the car.
The shoulder line further separates the car’s body into the light and airy glasshouse (which offers a preview of the large interior) and the muscular metal forms. The circular wheel arches – a first in the BMW X series – bring out the sophisticated aesthetics of the flanks. The surfaces gain in volume and strength as they head towards the rear end, further underscoring the subtle dynamism of the car when viewed from the side and in this shade of Manhattan metallic, it simply looks very handsome on the eye.
When you peer inside, the sheer spaciousness of the interior of the BMW Concept X7 iPerformance is a familiar sight, but one that takes understated luxury to a different level. There’s an immediate sense of comfort that greets the eye. Look around and up, and one’s eyes will notice a massive panoramic roof that gives more accentuation to a remarkable amount of room above the occupants’ heads. There are six amply proportioned seats, arranged in three rows, and four of them have an exclusive individual design. The second row allows smooth access to the third row, and the slender seat base provides generous legroom for the passengers behind.
The dark, Olive-Bronze leather – with discreet gold pigmentation – covering the seat bolsters goes very well in giving the X7 Concept’s interior a nice touch of luxury and exclusivity. The Smoke White leather adorning the remainder of the seats also does well to provide a nice visual contrast. The shell-like backs of the individual seats are also trimmed in leather to really highlight the strong sense of contemporary luxury.
Another highlight in the interior is with the large, 12.3-inch instrument cluster screen and central touchscreen information display. This sophisticated-looking screen works on a new operating concept that allows interactive use of the two displays. Below them, in the centre stack and centre console, the grouping of functions within the clean surfaces is a typical minimalist BMW approach.
Even second-row passengers get some infotainment goodies through the rear-seat touch screens as well, all of which are part of the BMW Connected system. For example, passengers here have access to highly personalised, digital services such as their choice of infotainment or office content, with which they can make their journey more comfortable, more entertaining or more productive. Content can even be shared with others on board. For instance, they can send a track to the car’s music system by touch gesture, forward an interesting article to the next-door display for the person sitting beside them to read, or transfer an address from their email directly to the car’s navigation system. Interactive LED choreography via the doors and instrument panel traces the communication flow between the rear screens and the display at the front of the cabin.
It will be interesting to see if this X7 Concept actually retains what we witnessed recently, but it’s a move that is much needed for the German luxury brand. It’s slated to be ready for sale by 2019 with an electrified drivetrain and hopefully, we’ll get to see an actual production model then.