BMW mulling seven-passenger X7 crossover... again

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2011 BMW X5 – Click above for high-res image gallery

While it may have seemed unlikely before 1999 when the original X5 was launched, BMW has enjoyed explosive growth in the crossover utility world – so much so that it's expanded its lineup to include the X1, X3 and X6 as well. The X5 and X6 have even spawned M versions, and the X3 is apparently slated to follow suit. But that's hardly the extent of it, as the Bavarian automaker is reportedly developing a larger X7.

According to Automobile, the rumored X7 (codenamed F17) will go head-to-head with the Mercedes-Benz GL and a possible Audi Q9 – you know, in case the Q7 isn't quite big enough. To differentiate it from the X5, the mooted X7 will reportedly pack a third row of seats for seven-passenger capability.

This isn't the first we've heard of the X7, of course. The program was widely reported as canceled back in 2008 thanks largely to poor economic conditions in markets like the United States. The model had been scheduled for a 2013 introduction. Has a modestly improving economy and America's relentless appetite for crossovers rekindled the project? If Automobile is to be believed, apparently so...

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