The all-new BMW X5 has been spied during development laps at the Nurburgring. The third generation of BMW's original SUV has also recently been captured winter testing prior to its debut later this year.
The spy photographs suggest the leaked brochure image of the X5 seen earlier this year was representative of the production car. The styling borrows from the current 3-series and includes BMW's prominent kidney grille. The front bumper features air vents which have also been recently on the 4-series coupe.
Under the skin, the new X5 will share its underpinnings with the X3, which has been a huge sales success in the UK since its launch in 2011. It will get a longer wheelbase and wider track to provide increased cabin space.
It's thought the interior will go further upmarket and that the X5 will be offered with a third row of seats, which has proved popular in the current model.
The double wishbone front, multi-link rear suspension system of the X3 will be retained for the new X5.
The biggest news under the bonnet will be a new four-cylinder diesel engine option that will give BMW a rival for the Mercedes ML250 CDI.
The model, potentially badged BMW X5 xDrive25d, is likely to be powered by an improved version of BMW’s existing 204bhp twin-turbo 2.0-litre diesel engine, with increased torque output to compensate for the X5’s extra size and weight.
Elsewhere, the engine line-up will consist of updated versions of today’s six-cylinder petrol and diesel units, with revised V8 petrol engines mainly aimed at North American, Chinese and Middle Eastern markets.
BMW is expanding its SUV range following the decline in popularity of conventional saloons. The X5's launch later in 2013 is sandwiched between last year's X6 facelift and the arrival of the X4 in 2014. An X2 is also set for a 2016 debut.
All models will be built at BMW’s Spartanburg, South Carolina plant to provide even greater economies of scale than before.