BMW leads off its press release for the new X7 by saying that production of the first pre-production X7 models has begun. What does that mean for buyers eagerly awaiting the new larger-than-life sports-activity vehicle from Munich? Not much, aside from knowing that we'll be seeing a few big Bimmers running around the world for the next several months, wearing funky camouflage wrappings while testing various components to be sure it actually works in the real world.
Awkward introduction aside, the new flagship SUV from BMW will certainly draw plenty of design inspiration from the X7 Concept revealed earlier this year at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Among the many photos showcasing this first pre-production model on the assembly line, we can see the larger-than-life grille from the concept is in full affect, along with the narrow LED headlights. We can also see the front fascia has mercifully ditched at least some of concept’s squared-off chin for something a bit more conservative – to a degree at least. That X7 silhouette exiting the plant still has quite the boxy look to it.
As you would expect, no details have been released just yet though the assembly photos show what appears to be a V8 under the hood, with a panoramic sunroof replacing the spiffy glass roof we saw on the concept. It’s being built at BMW’s assembly plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, sharing the assembly line with its smaller X5 and X6 siblings. The X3 and X4 are also built at the same location.
The X7 Concept met with mixed reviews on its styling, so it will be interesting to see if BMW makes any changes to the final product over the next 12 months of testing. Despite the assembly line photos, the pre-production models have been given a camouflage wrap to hide the “final look.” That could mean some design cues may not be set in stone.
We will find out when production on the, ah, production version begins late next year.
Gallery: BMW X7 Pre-Production
The countdown has begun: first BMW X7 pre-production models roll off the assembly line in the USA.
• BMW Group Spartanburg plant in the USA prepares for BMW X7 series production.
• Presentation of the BMW X7 at the end of 2018.
Munich / Spartanburg. Production of the first pre-production models of the new BMW X7 Sports Activity Vehicle has commenced at the BMW Group Spartanburg plant, USA. So the countdown has started for the final twelve months leading up to the presentation of the production car at the end of 2018. Prior to this, the vehicle will undergo various tests under partially extreme conditions.
Knudt Flor, head of the BMW Group Spartanburg plant: “We are proud to produce the BMW X7 here in Spartanburg, the home of our X models. This is a very special vehicle and our employees are looking forward to yet a further member of the X family. Together with the BMW X7, a total of five BMW X models will be exported from Spartanburg to all four corners of the globe.”
Camouflage wrap conceals final look.
At the plant, the production of pre-series models serves to secure and optimise future series production. Consequently, BMW X7 pre-production models already use the same assembly line as the BMW X5 and BMW X6 production models. An especially trained team realises the series production process for new vehicle models at the plant and qualifies employees for future series production.
The pre-production models built at the BMW Group Spartanburg plant are handed over to development department specialists, who require them for homologation, registration as well as for diverse testing purposes such as endurance tests and test drives under extreme conditions in the desert regions of Death Valley or on the ice and snow covered slopes of Scandinavia.
The pre-production model is fitted with its camouflage wrap while still at the plant. The conspicuous striped patterns are designed to help conceal the new SAV’s final look as far as possible.
Fifth series from the BMW Group Spartanburg plant.
In Spartanburg, the BMW Group produces BMW X models for the USA and the global market.
With record production figures of more than 411,000 units in 2016, Spartanburg is currently the BMW Group’s largest plant worldwide. Around 70 percent of the vehicles produced in Spartanburg are exported to 140 countries throughout the world. According to the US Ministry of Trade, the BMW Group is therefore the largest vehicle exporter in the USA measured in export value. Maximum annual production capacity stands at around 450,000 vehicles.
The BMW Group Spartanburg plant employs more than 9,000 people; a further 1,000 jobs are to be added by the year 2021. Each day, 1,400 BMW X3, X4, X5 and X6 models come off the assembly line at the Spartanburg plant; these will be complemented by a fifth series, the BMW X7, for which the Spartanburg plant is currently preparing.
To date, the BMW Group has invested eight billion US dollars in the production location and has built around 3.9 million vehicles since being taken into operation on 8 September 1994.