Munich - BMW will soon be gunning for the Mercedes GLS-Class with an all-new model called the X7, and here we see it in concept form for the first time.

BMW has confirmed that the Concept X7 iPerformance, which will make its global debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show next week, will spawn a production model in 2018.

The carmaker calls it a “whole new take on luxury” for the brand, and we think it’ll appeal to well-heeled buyers who want the luxury and status of a 7 Series, but with more space, versatility and that ever-so-trendy SUV image. 

And yet if this concept is anything to go by, the X7’s styling could be something of an acquired taste.

Things are less controversial inside where the overall look and feel isn’t too far from what you’ll find in a showroom 7 Series. The X7’s perforated leather upholstery, cool metal trimmings and switchgear is all fairly familiar, but at the same time a new-look steering wheel, backlit crystal gearlever and iDrive controller, and a fully digital instrument cluster could signal a slight adjustment to BMW’s interior design language.

The X7 gets three rows of seating with two perches each to make for a strict six-seater. It’s an airy place thanks mostly to a huge panoramic glass roof, but the choice of white leather in the concept helps to lighten the mood. Like the 7 Series, there’s also clever mood lighting system that dims and moves dynamically, but the concept also gets some interesting laser light strands in the ceiling which give a certain Tron sci-fi movie feel.

Little information is offered on the X7’s 31.2cm digital instrument cluster, but BMW says this screen and the central touchscreen work interactively with a new operating concept. Given the close proximity of the two displays, we assume menu graphics will flow uninterrupted from screen one to the next.

The middle seating row gets its own two tablet-like touchscreens, where passengers can view digital content independently or share information throughout the vehicle. Music tracks can be selected and played through the X7’s audio system, navigation destinations can be sent to the driver’s screens, and news articles can be swiped onto the display of the person sitting alongside.

IOL Motoring