When you know a stretched X5 is coming, the original car starts to look more than a little stubby back there. This is partially BMW's own design working its magic: the rear cabin is greatly aided by so much roominess in the second row of seating.
This leads us to think the new X7 -- expected as soon as this Fall/Winter as a 2015 model -- will continue to carry many X5 themes and the overall designs for the nose and tail. By keeping the X5 style, BMW may hope to leverage existing buyers and market demand for the X5. A scenario at the dealer will likely play out with buyers wanting an X5, but finding the optional third-row of seating is too tight for their many kids and adventure activities.
"How about this longer X7?"
"Yes, that will work nicely."
This is in contrast to an alternative strategy which would involve a full 7 series makeover for the X5 SUV. There are a few reasons this is not as likely, but they come down to cost and time-to-market. The X7 is ready. It is coming very, very soon - based on the strong hints given in Spartanburg last month during the big launch announcement.
A subtle nip/tuck might not seem like BMW's style when launching a fully new nameplate, but that is our strong prediction.
To achieve these renderings seems much more simple than it actually is. A variety of major changes to the overall design are required, with 30+ layers and mods in Photoshop at this desk yesterday.
-- the wheelbase
-- the doorframe cutout
-- the roofline
-- the windowline
-- the lower trims
-- added a shadow of third seat in that larger rear window
What we did not alter:
-- the hard points of the door latch and upper doorframe
-- the fuel door location
-- the rear overhang
-- the rear glass
The result is almost more balanced overall versus the large-doored X5. Stay tuned for all the details on the exciting new seven-seat BMW X7 as news breaks.
2015 BMW X7 - Digital Rendering