The BMW lineup was grown exponentially in the last few years, with new models popping up to fill in the numerical gaps in the lineup--or old models taking on new names. Soon, an all-new model will join the range, to be BMW's largest SUV yet: the X7.

Confirmed as part of an expansion of BMW's manufacturing activities in the U.S., the X7 will be built in the company's Spartanburg, South Carolina plant for export to all world markets. BMW Group chairman of the board of management Dr. Norbert Reithofer said, simply, "I have been asked many times: Why don’t you offer a BMW X model beyond the BMW X5? And today, I’m happy to provide the answer to that question. We have decided to develop and build a totally new X model – the new BMW X7. I promise this SAV will also be highly fuel efficient while offering outstanding driving performance. It will be a true BMW. "

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Talk of the possibility of an X7 has circulated for several years. Details beyond the fact of its name and its eventual production--no timing was mentioned--remain unreleased. We do, however, have some notion of what to expect of the coming X7 SUV.

Expected to offer full three-row seating for seven passengers, the X7 will be BMW's largest SUV, though it may be more accurately classified as a large crossover. BMW's range of in-line six-cylinder and V-8 engines used in the X5 and X6 model lines will likely find use in the X7 as well. Suggestions that it might be built on a version of the platform underpinning the next-generation 7-Series have also circulated.

BMW's ownership of Rolls-Royce also hints at the potential for the same basic architecture used in the X7 to find use in a possible super-luxury SUV from the historically British marque. If a Rolls-Royce SUV is built from the X7's matrix, however, it will feature unique bodywork, powertrains, and other aspects, both mechanical and aesthetic.