The final stage of testing has begun.
The first-ever BMW X7 has now officially entered its next, and likely last, stage of testing before it's officially unveiled as a 2020 model. BMW previewed its largest SUV to date last September at the Frankfurt Motor Show with the X7 concept, and it also released some test mule spy images of its own. But our spy photographers caught this latest X7 prototype out roaming the German streets with the lowest level of camouflage to date. More than likely, what we're looking at here is a pre-production car.
We also have for you a couple of interior spy shots, showcasing the new layout of the dash and also a fully digital instrument cluster. If you look carefully, you'll also notice a 7 Series image in the instrument cluster, meaning this prototype is still running the big sedan's software. Based on a stretched version of BMW's CLAR platform, which also underpins the 7 Series, as well as 5 Series, X5 and upcoming redesigned 3 Series, the X7 will take aim directly at the likes of the Mercedes-Benz GLS and Range Rover. It will also feature three rows of seats and fit up to seven passengers. Under the hood will be a range of options, including six- and eight-cylinder engines.
There will be gasoline and diesel versions of these engines too, but don't expect the latter to be offered in the US. Although BMW has yet to confirm, a plug-in hybrid variant is also highly likely. There's even another report claiming a V12 version is possible, but we'll believe it when we see it. Styling wise, the X7 concept previewed some of what we can see here partially hidden by the camo; a massive grille and twin kidneys. They certainly look larger here than they do on previous X5 prototypes. The front bumper also sports a unique look because, after all, if you're going to shell out the extra dough for an X7 over an X5, unique styling is a must.
The rear doors are noticeably longer than the X5's, as is the rear overhang, which makes sense because the X7 will be able to accommodate not only more people, but cargo as well. Production is set to get underway later this year at BMW's Spartanburg production plant in South Carolina.