BMW Should Really Build a Pickup Truck Already
BMW’s X7 SUV has got the luxury game pretty much locked down. Then again, considering some trims cost close to $200k, it had better. But while the X7 offers 3 rows, comfy seats, and lots of tech, an SUV doesn’t always suit a buyer’s needs. That’s why pickup trucks are popular both in the US and in Europe. And it seems that, on some level, BMW wants to get in on the action. That’s what we assume, at least, based on the BMW X7 pickup truck that’s just been installed at the Bavarian automaker’s museum.
The BMW X7 pickup truck
This X7 truck isn’t actually brand-new. It was first unveiled at BMW’s Motorrad Days, a celebration of BMW motorcycles, in July 2019. However, as Motor1 describes, it’s now on display at BMW Welt, the BMW museum.
Based on an xDrive40i X7 test vehicle, it was built over 10 months by a team of 12 BMW trainees. That’s actually quite a quick turn-around for any car, even a one-off. And it’s clear the team did more than just chop off the roof and stick a motorcycle in the back.
The bed itself is lined with teak, which is naturally water-resistant and inspired by luxury yachts. The truck’s paint color, Tanzanite Blue Metallic, is also yacht-inspired. The X7’s standard air suspension allows for height adjustment, to make getting things—like motorcycles—in and out of the bed easier. With the tailgate open, the pickup can handle objects up to 79” long; closed, 55”.
And, despite being longer by almost 4”, the BMW X7 pickup truck actually weighs about 440 pounds less than the production X7. That’s thanks to carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic tailgate, roof components, and rear doors. The X7 truck also comes with 3D-printed metal grab handles in the bed.
The other BMW pickups
While this is the first time BMW’s turned an SUV into a pickup truck, this isn’t the automaker’s first pickup truck one-off.
Twice before, BMW engineers have turned M3 convertibles into trucks. First in 1986 with an E30 M3, then again for April Fools 2011 with an E90. In both cases, BMW’s M Division engineers wanted a way to transport tools and equipment quickly around race tracks. Because the M3 convertibles already had additional bracing to compensate for the roof, conversion was fairly simple. The engineers just had to chop off the trunk and convertible roof and install a bed. The 1986 M3 truck was so robust, it wasn’t retired until 2012.
Although BMW didn’t release the X7 pickup truck’s payload capacity, the 2011 M3 truck could carry up to 992 lbs in its bed.
Could BMW actually make a production pickup truck?
At the moment, the X7 truck will remain a one-off. In fact, BMW’s senior VP of Asia, the Pacific, and South Africa stated that making a pickup truck “does not fit to our genes and our culture.” Perhaps BMW is worried about what Mercedes experienced with its X-Class.
That being said, clearly, there’s some pent-up desire within BMW for a pickup truck. And it’s not like BMW would be alone in offering one. Mercedes has made G-Wagen pickups before—even one with 6 wheels. That’s in addition to the custom Mercedes sedan-based pickups that could be direct-ordered from Germany.
If BMW did turn an SUV into a truck, it would most likely require additional bracing and weigh more—CFRP is expensive, and not really feasible for pickup trucks. Even luxury-focused ones. Making a car-based truck would also be possible by starting with a convertible or wagon, though BMW doesn’t offer a wagon in the US anymore. But if Holden can turn their ute truck into a sports car, there shouldn’t be a reason BMW couldn’t, too.
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