The automaker moves from Europe to America for more tests.

In September this year, during the Frankfurt Motor Show, BMW revealed the X7 iPerformance concept, which previews a future production flagship SUV with the same name. The study gave us a basic idea of how the first-ever X7 could look like and now, more than two months later, the Bavarian company is continuing work on the vehicle.

Update: reader Kris Hamburger sent us this fresh batch of spy photos, taken in California and showing a test prototype of the large SUV. Naturally, it’s still hiding under heavy camouflage and, interestingly, it’s not wearing production headlights, which we saw on a previous prototype caught testing in Europe.

The all-new X7 will be based on the CLAR platform, which already underpins the 7 Series and 5 Series, as well as the new Rolls-Royce Phantom and the upcoming Cullinan. The powertrain options will be shared with the 7 Series, which means there will be a base six-cylinder engine, turbocharged plug-in hybrid four-cylinder, mid-range V8, and a mighty V12 at the top.

2019 BMW X7 spied by reader

It’s not a big surprise that BMW is testing the X7 in the United States, as the brand from Bavaria will actually produce the final production version of the car at its plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Assembly is expected to begin sometime in 2018 and we bet our money we won’t see the model on sale before the second half of the year.

The first to arrive will be the standard seven-seat variant, which will be followed by a two-row luxury model with a six-figure price tag. According to a recent report, BMW is considering an even more luxurious vehicle with a coupe-SUV shape, probably getting the X8 moniker. If approved for production, it will basically be what the X6 is to the X5 – a more stylish version, using the same technologies and wearing a heftier price tag.

Photos: Kris Hamburger

Gallery: 2019 BMW X7 spied by reader

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