Outside the Pavilion, the courtyard is also set up with BMW’s new production vehicles.
Toronto, Ontario – Splashing down in between two modernist glass skyscrapers, is BMW’s new pop-up: the Luxury Excellence Pavilion. Numerous well-groomed professionals curiously came by to see the product of approximately a week’s worth of diligent construction. Built to compliment the sharp lines of not only the surrounding environment, but also the products housed within, the temporary structure showcases BMW’s skills in luxury, technology, design, and craftsmanship.
During construction, BMW put up lining along the perimeter fencing with a hint of what was to come: “Coming Soon: The X7 Concept iPerformance”. We’ve all become very familiar with BMW’s successful crossovers (they call them Sports Activity Vehicles), but anybody who followed the super-hot full-size luxury CUV market may notice that there wasn’t really anything above the X5 (reviewed here). The other German competition is well-stocked: Mercedes-Benz has their three-row GLS-Class, and Audi has their Q7. BMW’s answer to these revenue generators is the X7 Concept, unveiled in North America, right here in Toronto.
Once the cover was taken off, it is obvious that this really is a vehicle of considerable size. Its function-first design means a significant departure from the standard two-box design isn’t really possible, but BMW has tried its best with the details. The trademark BMW kidney grille is probably the most prominent feature – it is much larger than other versions we’ve seen before, taking up a lot of vertical real estate. The scowling headlights connect to the grille, echoing the similar design philosophy seen elsewhere in the BMW lineup. The side profile features a large vertical vent just behind the front wheel, and the Hofmeister kink makes another return. The rear end features thin and narrow light pipes, with a chrome bar running across the whole width of the rear tailgate.
The X7 housed inside the Pavilion was a concept, so specific details (such as powertrains) were not divulged at the time. Inside, the X7 features a forward-looking and extremely functional interior that seems to be devoted to passengers as much as the driver. Large high-resolution displays in the second row allow media sharing between passengers, and maximum productivity during transport is a recurring theme. We don’t expect every single gadget to make it into a production vehicle, but the X7 Concept shows us what they may be working on.
Outside the Pavilion, the courtyard is also set up with BMW’s new production vehicles. In the centre of the grassy knoll, sits the all-new M5. Now fitted with xDrive all-wheel drive, it should be blisteringly fast, supremely comfortable, and a weapon on the track. This particular M5 is painted in a stunning Marina Bay Blue Metallic – easily one of the best blues I’ve seen in a while. It’s not quite as shouty as Yas Marina Blue seen on the smaller M3 and M4, but it’s bright, yet subdued at the same time. Also on display were BMW’s M760i (complete with a turbocharged V12), and the always-gorgeous M6 Gran Coupé.
Cars and design weren’t the only items on display inside the Pavilion. Of particular interest was the collaborations between BMW and luxury marques such as Montblanc and Bowers & Wilkins. The Luxury Excellence Pavilion is a creative way to bring new products and ideas closer to the audiences that may be interested. Rather than an offline product launch in a stuffy conference centre, the Pavilion designed by BMW piques interests in a progressive way. We do expect the X7 Concept to eventually make its way to production – the numbers seen in the full-size luxury crossover market may be too hard for the brand behind the “Ultimate Driving Machine” to ignore. BMW’s Luxury Excellence Pavilion is open from October 16-29. More details can be found at www.bmwpavilion.ca.