BMWs typically have a shelf life of seven years but that won’t be the case for the current X5 whose successor is already out testing.
Though heavily camouflaged, the prototype reveals a new, more dynamic look dominated by the pronounced shake nose hood and grille treatment. It also reveals that the redesigned X5 will grow in size compared to the third-generation model currently on sale, which should lead to more interior space.
The third-gen X5 was introduced for the 2014 model year but its underpinnings are shared with the second-gen X5 on sale since the 2007 model year. This fourth-gen model, which we’re currently expecting to arrive in late 2017, as a 2018 model, won’t have anything in common with its predecessors.
It will ride on the SUV version of BMW’s modular platform that debuted in the 2016 7-Series and has since appeared in the 2017 5-Series. Referred to internally as a CLAR, short for Cluster Architecture, the platform combines lightweight materials such as aluminum and magnesium—and carbon fiber in the case of the 7-Series—with conventional steel to save weight while increasing rigidity and strength.
One of the reasons for the speedy arrival of the redesigned X5 is to streamline the production process. The CLAR-based SUVs will all be built at BMW’s plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina. We’ve also heard that the current X5 is facing stiff competition from newer rivals like the Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90.
Powertrains in the redesigned X5 should align with the redesigned 5-Series, meaning a choice of 4-, 6- and 8-cylinder engines. A plug-in hybrid should also form part of the portfolio and there will almost certainly be M Performance and dedicated M versions.
Beyond the redesigned X3 and X5 plus the new X7, look for redesigned versions of the X4 and X6 to arrive, also based on the CLAR platform. There will also be an X2 riding on the BMW Group's compact UKL platform coming in the very near future. It was previewed at the 2016 Paris auto show in concept form.