BMW Announces New X7 SUV
By Kelsey Mays, Cars.com
BMW announced Friday it will build the recently unveiled X4 plus an all-new X7 (and eventually the X5 plug-in hybrid) at its Spartanburg, S.C., assembly plant. The German automaker currently builds the X3, X5 and X6 SUVs there.
The flurry of SUV announcements came with few other details, particularly on the new X7, which BMW called "another all-new, larger X model." The automaker said it plans to build all X7s in Spartanburg, and will export them from there for sales overseas. Autoweek reports the SUV will seat up to seven occupants in three rows; BMW will build it off an extended-wheelbase version of the recently redesigned X5 platform, which will underpin the next X6 as well. The X7 will compete with the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, Infiniti QX80 and Cadillac Escalade. Autoweek says it will offer inline-six and V-8 engines. It should also have a plug-in hybrid drivetrain similar to the one in the forthcoming X5 plug-in, which BMW previewed in the X5 Concept eDrive at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show.
As part of a $1 billion investment over the next two years, the automaker says it will expand capacity at the 20-year-old plant by 50 percent, to 450,000 total cars from the current 300,000 a year. BMW shoppers here shouldn't expect to get all of those, though: The automaker says it exports around 70 percent of its Spartanburg production each year.