BMW has officially released an overview and images of its forthcoming BMW X7 Concept, which is set to be shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It is officially called the BMW Concept X7 iPerformance, which highlights the use of a plug-in hybrid powertrain combining TwinPower turbo petrol engine with eDrive electric motors.

The release only goes to confirm that the German carmaker has set out to project its new concept as an attention getter along the lines of Chris Bangle’s 7-series. Initial reactions to the leaked image ranged from the outraged to largely supportive, but it will help the brand set out its future design path.

“The Concept introduces the BMW Sports Activity Vehicle DNA into the luxury segment. The new BMW design language employs just a few, extremely precise lines and subtle surface-work to raise the bar in terms of presence and prestige,” explains Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design. “The BMW Concept X7 iPerformance has a luxurious and sophisticated feel to it, thanks to its understated use of forms and incredibly precise details.”

While the grille and front fascia are set to be the most polarising elements, the new SUV has hints of the current X5 and X3 in its profile. However the taller and longer body manages to include a highly stylised approach to surface development, while using strong visual cues like the chrome definition ahead of the A-pillar door.

The tail has been similarly evolved away from the recognisable BMW presentation with matching brushed metal airflow surrounds to that on the front. The double kidney grille gets a much stronger defined surround, which also shows up on the new BMW 8 and is set to be a standard in the future. The Laser headlights are designed to imply an X in their blue light.

It is definitely the interior that sets the concept apart from anything BMW has presented in the Sports activity Vehicle area. The use of large digital and instrument displays delivers a huge usable interface. While the rest of the dashboard treatment does touch back to current BMW design, there is an excessive use of metal surrounds and insert used to define elements.

The roof incorporates a huge panoramic roof that extends almost all the way back, using a flying truss arrangement to split the roof into segments but deliver lots of light. The BMW X7 concept is presented as a six-seater, with the seats arranged in such a way that third row visibility is still good.

Large screens on the second row and the way they have been made a part of the seat back remind one of the new Rolls-Royce Phantom. That’s not the only connection, but let’s wait for the official reveal about how much the new Cullinan and the X7 share.

A suite of apps and availability of exclusive content along with connectivity will set the user experience apart, with the ability to share content between screens and to bounce information displays on either the central or IP screen.

However, it is actually BMW’s renewed focus on developing the 7, 8, X7 and the i8 as the cutting edge of a renewed luxury thrust that will set the production version apart. The X7 concept seems almost production linked, however, we may see some toning down of some of the more aggressive design ideas.

Come what may, the BMW X7 concept is likely to be remembered as the idea that people either hated to love or loved to hate. There’s not likely to be anyone who doesn’t have an opinion.

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