Next-generation large SUV will use the same Cluster Architecture as BMW’s most luxurious model

BMW has revealed that the next X5 will be built upon the same underpinnings as the latest 7 Series.

Despite the current X5’s relatively short production life (it only arrived three years ago), the model’s successor is already in advanced stages of development. It could arrive next year using BMW’s new Cluster Architecture (CLAR), which is predominantly used as a rear-wheel drive structure but can also cater for four-wheel drive layouts.

The current 7 Series, for example, is available in both rear and all-wheel drive, and the same is expected with the next X5.

2017 BMW 5 Series Touring spotted testing

The CLAR platform uses a mixture of high-strength steel, aluminium and carbonfibre, increasing structural rigidity while saving weight. The next 5 Series is expected to shed 50kg compared with its predecessor thanks to CLAR.

Other models to use CLAR will include the next-generation 3 Series and 6 Series, although it’s not yet known if these models will get four-wheel drive options in the UK.

The 2018 X7, which is set to be BMW’s largest model, will use its own version of the same underpinnings. Speaking to Autocar at the New York motor show last month, BMW head of sales and marketing Ian Robertson said the X7’s underpinnings will be so heavily adjusted that the structure will be basically new.

2018 BMW X7 will definitely be sold in the UK

“If you put both cars [the X5 and X7] next to each other, the resemblance is small in terms of wheelbase and so on,” he said. “We’re not going to just extend the wheelbase; it’s a complete new panel cell."

Engines likely to be offered with the next X5 include a 3.0-litre straight six and a new twin-turbocharged V8, while a 6.0-litre V12 could also feature in range-topping models. Robertson hinted that a hybrid model could also join the line-up later on, because BMW “sold more hybrids to the UK in the first two months of 2016 than in all of 2015".

Robertson said that rather than sharing the X5’s engine line-up, the X7 would take its pick of engines from the entire BMW range.

Our Verdict

BMW X5
The X5 uses in effect the same platform as the previous generation, but it's been substantially revised

BMW sticks to its well proven SUV formula with the new X5, delivering a competent and refined off-roader – but one that's lacking those few extra flourishes

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Comments
5

14 April 2016
..Autocar is an old and venerated motoring journal by all accounts. One might suppose the staff would be familiar with the production cycle of major car companies such as BMW. It is not at all unusual for the successor model to a current vehicle to be in development before the current model has been face-lifted (LCI in BMW-speak. Also to replace a current model after only 3 to 4 years of production is very unlikely. To do otherwise would be potentially irresponsible of the manufacturer as they would not recoup their development costs with the effect that would have on the bottom line. Given all of the above is this a non-story? We know that from now on BMW will use one chassis architecture for the 5 Series, 6 Series, 7 Series and rumoured 8 Series plus all their sin-off models - X5, X6, X7, GTs and GCs etc. They will use another with FWD for the 1 Series, 2 Series etc and another with RWD for the 3 Series and 4 Series size cars. We also know that after Dieselgate like all other manufacturers they are developing PHEVs as a matter of urgency in fact here is already a PHEV X5 on the BMW website that you can even order from the website. So stories like the one above with phrases such as "Robertson hinted that a hybrid model could also join the line-up later on" are total nonsense designed just to fill a webpage or a bit of copy in the magazine.

14 April 2016
Are all those spin offs worth the development and tooling costs? I see more Ferrari 458's than Gran Coupes or Gran Turismos.

14 April 2016
As far as I was aware, bmw merely refreshed the previous x5 launched in 2007 (?) for the present generation so they will have had a good 10 years to pay off the major development costs, the current car was never a brand new model. I can't really agree that it will be a 3-4 year old car at replacement time . VW did exactly the same with the mk5 and mk 6 golf with the mk 6 having a relatively short life before being succeeded by mk7.

14 April 2016
You're correct Sundym, the current X5 is the same car/platform as the 2007 model. BMW marketed the current X5 as a brand new car, but actually it was merely a major facelift.

16 April 2016
If this story has any merit, it would indeed be a first (AFAIK) for BMW, if not a German manufacturer.
I do remember the current X5 never really being well received by reviewers when introduced and even now it is typically towards the bottom of not bottom in group tests. It's beaten by the RR, the Audi Q7 and now the Volvo. If it was merely a heavy facelift then that helps explain it's uncharacteristically low class rank. It also explains the decision for early retirement.
What I'd love to know is whether early replacement was always the plan or not. Did they take a gamble cutting back development of the current model hoping it would still compete. I've no idea of how well it's doing against its foes but probably not great.
That said, it makes a lot of sense that BMW would be replacing the X5 sooner than normal.
I am with SPQR regarding the quality of the article though. I had to check - thought I was reading Auto Express for a second! Saying or "quoting" that a hybrid model may join the line up later on is hardly news. If true, it would be well below what I'd expect with ever increasing demands to reduce CO2 emissions. I'd expect at least three hybrids in the range with at least one available from the start and at least one plug in. Also, to help add credence to this story, I'd have expected the writer to have brought up the heavy facelift that is the current model and its use of the previous chassis, not a fellow commentator.

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