We’ve reached the high water mark on the big grille trend. Now it’s time to go back.
BMW drivers of yesteryear had few simple pleasures in life, one of which was to feel the dread in the hearts of Audi quattro drivers as those distinct kidney grilles approached fast in the rear-view mirror. Those were left intact on purpose so that no Four Rings driver would make a mistake as to how they met their demise, and they continue to exist on every modern BMW including on the i variants. Unfortunately, those kidney grilles haven't translated over to the latest BMW concept very well.
When the X7 hit the Internet, its slim headlights and oversized kidney grilles made it look like an angry wild boar rather than a sophisticated luxury SUV that had been put on a linebacker's diet and engineered for dirt roads. Now, after taking in the presence of the actual concept during its 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show reveal, we're pleased to say that the X7 Concept doesn't look as bad in person as it does in BMW's set of press photos. Make no mistake, however, the grille remains imposing. Especially when the headlights have been subdued to such an extent. But under the showroom lights the chrome accents on the bottom of the front fascia remove visual weight from the bloated kidneys.
With those accents shouldering more of the aesthetic responsibility, our eyes are able to drift to other parts of the full-size SUV such as the muscular hood, large wheels, and classical SUV proportions that have been given a modern twist. Cover up the front end with your hand on a three-quarter view of the X7 and you'll see a Toyota Land Cruiser in the rear half and a Mercedes GLS on the front, albeit with cooler door handles and a 7 Series-style trim accent starting at the front doors and running towards the back under the rear doors. The tail end is classic BMW X, though the unifying rear taillight strip echoes modernity along with the vents flanking the bottom sides of the rear bumper.
While we're happy with these parts, the more conservative middle and rear of the X7 mean that BMW will have to tone down that damned front grille before this concept makes it to production. As always, we'll see how that manifests in due time.