The announcement was made during an event to celebrate BMW’s increased investment in its Spartanburg, South Carolina US production plant — a facility where pretty much all of BMW’s existing SUVs — the X3, X5, X5M, X6 and X6M are already built.
However, the company clearly feels there is sufficient capacity at the plant and in the market for yet another X-car.
Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG Norbert Reithofer said: “With the BMW X7, we are developing another, larger X model, which we will produce at our U.S. plant for our world markets — once again underscoring our commitment to the U.S.”
The new model, which will go head to head with the full-sized Range Rover, the Mercedes-Benz GL and the Audi Q7, is expected to only be offered with permanent all-wheel drive and with a choice of six- and eight-cylinder engines. It is also expected to arrive in 2016 with enough seats for seven. All of which suggests that BMW is targeting the US more than Europe with the new model.
All of which means that 2016 is going to be a very busy automotive year for the SUV segment. As well as the X7, Alfa Romeo, Lamborghini and Bentley have all scheduled 2016 launches for their own off-roaders.
They look set to be joined by Jaguar. The company has confirmed to Autocar that a production car based on the C-X17 is currently in development. Seen as more a sports car with a high driving position than a genuinely utilitarian 4×4, it will attempt to compete with the recently launched Porsche Macan.
An ambitious target but an understandable aim as it would be unlikely for Jaguar to try to compete with Land Rover, seeing as both brands are part of the same parent company.