BMW has begun lapping the Nürburgring in the updated version of its X7 luxury SUV, launched just three years ago, ahead of an anticipated launch in 2022.
The facelifted X7 will retain the current car's striking front grille, in line with the company's commitment to its radical but controversial new styling direction.
These new images confirm that the restyling will instead focus on the headlights, which have moved lower down the front end and adopted a more rectangular shape, similar to those worn by a recently spotted prototype for BMW's upcoming electric luxury saloon: the i7. There is also a reshaped lower bumper that appears to do away with the current car's prominent side air intakes.
Following the initial unveiling of the X7 and the updated 7 Series with which it shares its front end design, BMW design director Adrian van Hooydonk argued that the SUV's prominent air intakes were in proportion to the rest of the car, and in fact smaller than those of its main rivals.
He said: "Yes, the X7’s grille is bigger than other BMWs’, but so is the X7 bigger than any BMW before it. That one is in proportion.
“Don’t worry, I don’t want the brand to turn into an oversized kidney grille brand - but I believe we understand the reasons for what we have done with the 7 Series and that the issue will solve itself thanks to evolving tastes in the markets for which the grille was introduced.”
It's not clear if BMW's move to visually link the i7 and X7 means the latter will gain an electrified variant.
Previously, BMW has stated that any hybrid version of the X7 would need to offer an electric-only range of more than 50 miles to comply with market regulations in China, a key market for the model. The plug-in X5 xDrive45e is officially capable of travelling 54 miles on electric power, but its powertrain would need to be uprated to provide a similar range in the heavier X7.
Camouflage wrap makes any changes at the rear hard to spot, but the customary subtle tweaks to the bumper and light cluster designs can be expected.