The next-generation BMW 5 Series Touring has been spotted winter testing ahead of its planned arrival towards the middle of 2017.
Set to go on sale around three months after the 5 Series saloon arrives in dealerships earlier in the year, the 5 Series Touring will rival the likes of the Audi A6 Avant, Jaguar XF Sportbrake, Volvo V90 and the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class estate.
As with the saloon, this latest Touring test mule shows off an evolution of the current car's design language, characterised by its thinner, wider kidney grille design. Styling inspiration has come from the new 7 Series, while influences from 2014's Gran Lusso Coupé concept might also be adopted. At the rear, the Touring features a sloping boot with new rear light clusters.
As is traditional, BMW is expected to improve on the load space offered by the current 5 Series Touring, which offers 560 litres with the rear seats in place, rising to 1670 litres with them folded away.
Engines for the Touring will be shared with the 5 Series saloon, and will include a core range of four and six-cylinder powertrains from launch. A family of common 2.0-litre and 3.0-litre petrol and diesel units will feature, as well as a successor to the current tri-turbo 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel. That engine is a new quad-turbocharged six-cylinder unit destined for use in the firm's high-end models, and is said to develop well over 400bhp and 590lb ft.
A newly developed V8 engine will also be offered in some markets, although it's not known whether that engine will be offered in the UK.
Also available will be a BMW 5 Series Touring Hybrid model, pairing a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor, to produce a combined output of 242bhp and 295lb ft. That set-up has already been driven by Autocar in the 3 Series eDrive.
Later in the car's life cycle, BMW could also give the Touring its new 1.5-litre petrol and diesel turbocharged three-cylinder engines, helping the German manufacturer to counter increasingly strict European emissions legislation. Both petrol and diesel versions of the three-cylinder engines are being tested in combination with electric motors.
Gearbox options will include a six-speed manual and nine-speed automatic transmission.
The seventh-generation BMW 5 Series is based on a sophisticated new platform known internally as OKL (meaning Oberklasse, or 'luxury class'). Various iterations of the new platform will be seen in future generations of the X5, X6 and also the upcoming X7.
As it plans to with the saloon, BMW will be looking to drop the kerb weight of the 5 Series Touring below the 1785kg of today's 520i SE.
While the 5 Series saloon range will be crowned by the 600bhp M5, which gets a further developed version of the 4.4-litre V8 motor used by today's car, there are currently no plans to produce a touring version of the M5.