Next BMW X5 will share underpinnings with the current 7 Series and have plug-in hybrid and performance variants

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.

More content:

BMW M3 F80 to be axed in August due to new emission test

Overhauled Alfa Romeo 4C planned for 2018 reveal

Our Verdict


The X5 sticks to BMW's well-proven SUV formula, delivering a competent and refined off-roader – but one that's lacking the extra flourishes found in a Range Rover Sport or Porsche Cayenne Turbo

Join the debate


20 April 2016
Find that the side profiles of the BMW suv range look mighty ghastly and not balanced i.m.h.o.

20 April 2016
Find that the side profiles of the BMW suv range look mighty ghastly and not balanced i.m.h.o.

10 November 2016
Is what they remind me of. An old boot.

11 November 2016
my roomate's sister makes $73 /hour on the internet . She has been without a job for eight months but last month her paycheck was $18145 just working on the internet for a few hours. try this out <<<<< >>>>>

11 August 2017



 this is almost certainly the X7 .... 

1 May 2017
So the new X5 will share it's architecture with the 7 series,it'll be lighter but will it be bigger? and what size will be the X7? it looks like it's going to be in the same size as some of the larger American SUV's such as the Cadillac Escalade & Lincoln Navigator, is this a wise move for the European market?

1 May 2017
It is obviously entirely appropriate for a 4*4 to be tested and developed on a race track.

I saw a chap testing out a pair of brogues in my local woods last week as well. Incredible grip on moss and wet bracken.

19 May 2017

10 August 2017

The front grill looks a bit OTT.

10 August 2017

Have BMW updated their engines yet?   They're getting a really bad reputation for leaving customers with bills of thousands of pounds, replacying fuel pumps, injectors, coilpacks.   Sometimes more than the car is worth in repairs!



Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Jaguar E-Pace 2018 review hero front
    Car review
    20 April 2018
    Can Jaguar’s compact SUV bring flair and dynamic polish to a fast-growing class?
  • Audi TT RS Coupé
    First Drive
    20 April 2018
    The Audi TT RS has the looks, a vociferous engine and the supercar-baiting performance, but is it too uncompromising to use as a daily driver?
  • Lamborghini Urus review 2018 hero front
    First Drive
    19 April 2018
    The supercar maker's new 4x4 is massively capable wherever it goes, while being extremely conspicuous and costly while it does it
  • Skoda Kodiaq
    First Drive
    19 April 2018
    High-spec seven-seater Kodiaq begins its family life with a lot to prove — for Skoda and SUVs
  • Ford Focus RS Race Red Edition front
    First Drive
    18 April 2018
    Ford drafts in some tasty extras for this limited-run Focus RS swansong edition