BMW has begun testing its next-generation BMW X5 M at the Nürburgring. This X5 test mule’s identity as the range-topping M version is given away by the familiar M bodywork changes, larger brakes and quad exhausts.
The second-generation BMW X5 M, tentatively due for launch in 2014, is expected to keep the twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 of the current model rather than follow the recent M trend for adopting downsized engines. This is because a V8 is so important in the X5 M’s key market, North America.
A second-generation version of the X5 M’s sister car, the BMW X6 M, is also expected to launch by 2015.
It will get a longer wheelbase and wider tracks, but will retain just two rows of seats (an extra row is optional), albeit with increased rear cabin space. 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 recently launched Mercedes ML250 CDI.
The model, potentially badged 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.