2011 BMW X5 M Sport PackageEnlarge Photo
It's been almost eight months since the last round of talk about a seven-passenger BMW X7 arose, so it's probably time for another go. Answering the call, the pot-stirrers at Automobile Magazine have spilled some digital ink on the matter.
Said to bear the codename F17, the X7 would effectively be a long-wheelbase version of the same platform that sits under the X5 and X6. The main problem is that the X5 and X6 already get poor enough fuel economy.
That, appropriately, was the reason the X7 idea was dropped back in 2008, as well. Instead BMW spent its development dime on the smaller X1 and X3 and its roll-out of diesels in the U.S. Now, however, things have apparently turned back toward the large SUV again--and, as it was eight months ago, it may be China that's pushing the issue.
Fighting it out with the masters of the full-size SUV universe is a difficult proposition in Europe and the U.S., where brands like Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz already have their footholds, and challengers like Audi could also have plans. Doing it in China, which is effectively a blank slate in comparison, makes more sense. Adding a growing market in Russia to mix adds some more credibility. Sprinkle it with some good old-fashioned American disregard for fuel economy at the upper tier of the market, and BMW may have a business case.
Given the general trend of the market here, however, plus mounting pressures from the government on fuel economy standards, it may be the developing markets alone that justify the project. Whatever the case, consider this one among the handful of highly suspect yet still possible rumors that have surfaced this week.