BMW's next-generation X5 and X5 M models are being tested in public
The Porsche Cayenne-rivalling model range is due on roads this October
We've just spotted an X5 M prototype wearing production bodywork
Beneath its nose is a heavily tweaked version of the current M SUV's V8...
...likely producing 592bhp like the same unit does in the latest M5 super saloon
BMW's performance push won't end with the new car's uprated powertrains...
...the X5 range is set to benefit from the use of a much lighter structure
All models will be built using the same CLAR (cluster architecture) platform as the 7 Series...
...incorporating steel, aluminium, carbonfibre and magnesium...
...to offer a sizeable reduction in weight
Underneath the top M model will be another eight-cylinder-powered variant...
...to replace the current xDrive50i, using a less strained version of the 4.4-litre engine
Its output will surpass 450bhp to align it close to the Cayenne GTS from Porsche
BMW will also continue to produce a plug-in hybrid variant...
...that's likely to mix a 2.0-litre petrol engine with electric power
Expect an enhanced all-electric range of more than 25 miles
BMW will continue to offer diesel power...
...but all of its models will feature new particulate filters to conform to the upcoming WLTP test
A next-generation BMW X5 development car has been spotted being testing at the Nürburgring
Earlier development cars have worn adapted versions of the current X5's exterior, but this later sighting clearly shows the car's new bumper and boot lid designs
The next-generation X5 will use the same platform as the 7 Series, on the CLAR (cluster architecture) platform
This platform supports steel, aluminium, carbonfibre and magnesium construction
...so it's likely there will be a sizeable reduction in weight compared with the lightest of the current X5s, the xDrive35i, which tips the scales at 2030kg
BMW's next-generation X5 and X5 M models are being tested on public roads in Scandinavia, as the brand puts the finishing touches to its Porsche Cayenne-rivalling model range before it arrives on roads this October.
Just this week our spy photographers laid eyes on a new X5 M prototype that's been caught wearing production bodywork, providing a glimpse of what's to come from the most potent model. Beneath its nose is a heavily tweaked version of the current M SUV's twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8, and is likely to produce the same 592bhp as the latest M5 super saloon.
That'd give it 25bhp more than the current X5 M and 30bhp more than the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, ensuring the next X5 M becomes one of the market's most focused performance SUVs. The battle will heat up further when the next-generation Mercedes-AMG GLE 63, another of the X5 M's archrivals, reaches our roads at the start of next year with 603bhp from its new 'hot-vee' V8 motor.
BMW's performance push won't end with the new car's uprated powertrains, however, because, along with the rest of the new X5 range, the X5 M is set to benefit from the use of a much lighter structure. All models will be built using the same CLAR (cluster architecture) platform as the 7 Series, which incorporates steel, aluminium, carbonfibre and magnesium to offer a sizeable reduction in weight.
This diet will have a profound impact across the board, benefitting ride and economy in normal models while also edging the lightest model (currently it's the xDrive35i) below the two tonne mark for the first time. Expect the X5 M's straight-line performance to profit from this slimming, giving it strong potential to edge its 0-62mph time beneath 4secs.
Underneath the top M model will be another eight-cylinder-powered variant to replace the current xDrive50i. Using a less strained version of the 4.4-litre engine, its output will surpass 450bhp to align it close to the Cayenne GTS from Porsche. BMW will also continue to produce a plug-in hybrid variant that's likely to mix a 2.0-litre petrol engine with electric power, like in the current xDrive40e. Expect an enhanced all-electric range of more than 25 miles; the latest 5 Series with this engine is capable of 29 miles, although it is considerably lighter and more aerodynamic.
Despite ongoing pressure from regulators for diesel to be phased out, demand in the large SUV segment for oil burning engines remains strong. As such, BMW will continue to offer diesel power but all of its models will feature new particulate filters to conform to the upcoming Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP), which comes into force this September, as well as increased turbo pressure. As such, the X5's 2.0-litre four-pot and 3.0-litre six-pot diesel options will remain in the line-up, but offer significantly cleaner tailpipe emissions along with improved economy.
The X5 will match its latest CLAR siblings, which also include the new 5 Series range and next 3 Series, by gaining the latest version of its iDrive cabin technology. Expect the gesture control of the 7 Series to filter into the X5, but the new tech won't spell the end of the rotary control located on the transmission tunnel. This feature will remain the main way to control the infotainment system.
The 7 Series's Level 2 autonomous capability - allowing it to control throttle, brakes and steering, but requiring a human to keep their hands on the wheel - will be incorporated into the X5, as will its self-parking function that allows the driver to step out of the car and engage the technology remotely.
Also borrowed from the 7 Series will be two-axle air suspension, although it'll be an option for the X5 (it's standard on the 7 Series saloon). This will give greater control of ride height than the current X5's rear-axle-only air suspension, while also enhancing ride comfort further. Lower ranking models will make do with steel springs but be available with adaptive damping technology to broaden their capabilities over a variety of surfaces.
The next X5 will be the first BMW SUV in non-coupé form that doesn't sit atop of its range. This crowning position will be taken by the X7, which is due on roads this December and was previewed with the X7 iPerformance concept at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show. BMW has released official images of its development car since, showing how much larger it will be compared to the X5.