Spy photographers have recently scooped what appears to be an early test prototype for the facelift generation of the current BMW X7. The facelift of the seven seater SUV is likely scheduled for 2021. It appears that BMW might have already started development work for the LCI BMW X7, as suggested by the latest spy shots. As we don’t own the photos, we invite you to have a look here.

The X7 is BMW’s first attempt to create a proper luxury SAV to fight the Mercedes-Benz GLS arch-rival, after years in which the X5 tried to fill this role. Officially released on the market in early 2019, the large Sports Activity Vehicle is due for a facelift right in time for 2022 model year.

Judging by the spy photos, there are no visible clues as to indicate this could possibly a mule for testing other model, like the forthcoming G09 X8, for example. Don’t be fooled by the proportions which might indicate something smaller than the X7 model standing next to the camouflaged test car – it is just pure optical illusion. So, yes, this prototype is, by all chances, the X7 LCI.

The test vehicles features a heavy cladding applied to the front and rear ends, designed to properly hide what look to be significant styling changes compared to the pre-LCI model generation.

The X7 already looks very good and majestic, in true BMW style, defined by the upright, generous radiator grille and the slim headlights that connect to kidneys, further amplifying the imposing width and stance of the luxury SAV.

Possibly, the only weaker spot in the design could be the current styling of the rear lights, which seems to not have many things in common with the latest design philosophy applied in the case of the G05 X5 and G06 X6. Furthermore, they look to have been significantly inspired by the pre-LCI G11/G12 7 Series.

Related: WORLD PREMIERE: 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost — Not Your Granddad’s Rolls-Royce

But strange enough, it appears that the front-end is the one headed for a drastic makeover, as indicated by the provisional headlamps that can be seen underneath the camo. At the same time, the tail lights appear to have been just slightly revised.

The best explanation is that the X7 LCI gets prepared to receive the new corporate face for the luxury vehicles under the BAYERISCHE MOTOREN WERKE luxury sub-brand, with the new G70/G71 7 Series generation slated for official premiere in 2022.

As to not run the risk of outdating the luxury SAV too much in terms of styling, it is understandable why the X7 facelift is in for a significant plastic surgery. Furthermore, the X7 is a 7 Series translated into an SAV and thus the connection between the two is a strong one. That’s why BMW needs to apply a unitary approach to styling.

Other than these changes, it looks that the X7 will basically retain its mammoth size and recognizable silhouette. Some minor changes are scheduled for the cabin and dashboard as well, but we are yet to see some shots revealing the interior of the LCI X7.

We are not aware that BMW plans anything radical or new in terms of powertrain for the facelift generation of the X7, so don’t dream for an all-electric iX7. But there is a good chance that the Munich-based carmaker launches a plug-in hybrid version for the G07, having in view the brand’s accelerated electrification strategy.

Given the fact that the future G09 X8 will spawn an electrified M Performance variant dubbed X8 M45e with possibly higher output and an improved battery capacity ensuring greater range, the LCI X7 might, in theory, receive the same powertrain for a future xDrive45e model.