A range-topper to take on the Range Rover.

BMW is launching a big SUV rival to the Range Rover – and we’re seeing a thinly-disguised ‘concept’ version of it at the Frankfurt motor show next week. Called BMW X7 Concept iPerformance, the new three-row, six-seat SUV is big, brash and brutish, and coming to a street near you some time in 2018.

Although the concept is a plug-in hybrid, with an electric motor and BMW TwinPower Turbo petrol engine, this reveal isn’t about the technicalities. Instead, BMW is getting us used to the visual clout of its new range-topping SUV, the 7 Series of X-models, which sits above the X5 and X6 in the line-up.

BMW Concept X7 iPerformance
BMW Concept X7 iPerformance
BMW Concept X7 iPerformance

BMW’s first all-out luxury SUV, it is unashamedly square-edged and immensely proportioned. BMW’s even reinvented the front kidney grille, to give it the sheer size necessary not to look misplaced within such an imposing and vertically set nose. The headlights, in contrast, are relatively narrow, but again, it’s all relative.

There’s a near-vertical rear end, too, with the rear window pushed out in order to give those in the third row of seats sufficient headroom, while the flat sides have gentle surfacing and liberal use of chrome in order to try and disguise their sheer size. Wheels sit within the first fully-circular wheelarches on any BMW X model: they are a full 23 inches in diameter.

BMW Concept X7 iPerformance

The interior is beautiful. Bathed in light thanks to innovative panoramic roof panels, it’s our first look at BMW’s new upscale approach for luxury machines, which is all about minimalism and smart use of touchscreen, gesture-control displays. It’s certainly a cut above lesser models and the space within is considerable: six adults shouldn’t find this a squeeze.

Like it? Loathe it? Let us know. One fan is BMW board member for sales, Ian Robertson, who says: 'The X family’s new top model extends BMW’s offering in the luxury class and redefines the concept of luxury for the BMW brand and beyond. It also embodies one of the most important elements of our corporate strategy 'Number One > Next', to grow our presence in the luxury class.'

Come back next week for a first live look at the new BMW X7 Concept iPerformance, as part of Motor1’s full coverage of the Frankfurt Motor Show. In the meantime, take a look at the gallery below to see what’s in store from BMW’s lavish new luxury SUV…

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Gallery: BMW Concept X7 iPerformance