The unveiling of the new BMW X7 is still a whole year away, but Munich has already begun teasing the flagship luxury SUV as it begins building pre-production models at its SUV plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Although the carmaker says that it camouflaged the prototypes in the plant, it also included photos of undisguised vehicles in its press release, so there’s not much left to the imagination.

Images show the entire front end of the car, which retains much of the design elements found on the Concept X7 that previewed it, including the slim headlights with hexagonal “corona ring” daytime running lights, vertical Air Curtain intakes connected by a centre air inlet and lashings of chrome trim. And yes, the kidney grille really will be that massive on the production model.

Also retained is the strong swage line along the side of the car, although the Air Breather vents aft of the front wheel arches appear better integrated compared to the show car. At the rear, there are broad L-shaped tail lights, a split-opening tailgate à la X5 and a pair of chrome exhaust exits.

There are also a couple of images that show bits and pieces of the interior. One clearly displays a new gearlever with jewel-like facets, and despite the camouflage to the surrounding areas, you can easily spot the redesigned switchgear, relocated starter button and larger iDrive rotary controller, just like on the concept. Another shows the panoramic sunroof, with a separate moonroof for the third-row passengers.

Like all new rear-wheel drive BMWs from here on out, the X7 will ride on the modular CLAR architecture that already underpins the G30 5 Series and G12 7 Series. Expect a range of six- and eight-cylinder engines to power it, along with the 6.6 litre twin-turbo V12 from the M760Li. An iPerformance plug-in hybrid model should also be in the works, as previewed by the Concept X7.