A prototype for the upcoming third-generation BMW X5 has been captured in testing once again, this time with the least amount of camouflage we've seen yet. Previously leaked images
also reveal much of the design, though we can’t confirm if they are the real deal just yet.
Code-named F15, the new X5 will bring sleeker looks, lighter weight, more efficient engines, and more high tech to the luxury SUV nameplate.
Weight reduction, as with other recent BMW models, will likely come through the use of high-strength steel, more aluminum, and smarter design.
Cutting weight is, after all, one of the best ways to get more efficiency out of a given vehicle while preserving or even enhancing performance, and both are important to BMW and X5 buyers.
Starting with the advances made on the F10 5-Series platform, a version of which is expected to underpin the new 2014 X5, will help the SUV's high-performance handling. Weight savings of up to 450 pounds over the current model are possible.
As for powertrains, expect an eight-speed automatic transmission paired with a variety of turbocharged engines, including inline six-cylinder and V-8 units. A turbocharged four-cylinder is possible, as used in the new 528i, but perhaps unlikely given the X5's still-greater mass.
A diesel version will also be available, likely even in the United States, with an evolution of the high-performance X5 M
also planned with this latest generation.
The 2014 X5 is also likely to get an ActiveHybrid variant, with this model perhaps the best candidate for use of the turbocharged four-cylinder, since the electric hybrid drive system would help with low-end torque and the turbo four would deliver good cruising fuel economy. On the other hand, the six-cylinder based system used in the ActiveHybrid 5
and even the smaller ActiveHybrid 3
might be a more natural fit.
Other technologies we’re likely to see include self-leveling air suspension, night vision, park assist, traffic-sign recognition, and fuel-saving measures such as engine stop-start capability.
We’re expecting the sales launch of the vehicle in the second half of the year, which means a debut is due soon.
By the time it arrives, the recently revealed 2014 Acura MDX
will also be in showrooms, so competition will be fierce.
We'll keep you updated with the latest as we learn what BMW plans for its next luxury SUV, but in the meantime click here to watch a spy video
of the vehicle.