BMW has just introduced a facelift for its current 5-Series, which has been on the scene since the 2011 model year, but today we have spy shots of a test mule for the car’s successor, which we expect on the market sometime in 2016, as a 2017 model. Engineers are using a 5-Series Touring body to test the platform that will underpin the 2017 5-Series, a platform that will be shared with the next-generation 7-Series
due out one year earlier.
BMW is revolutionizing the way it builds its cars to meet tougher fuel economy standards as well as increased demand for fuel-efficient vehicles. Using construction techniques learned from developing the new i3 and i8 electrified vehicles, the platform of the 2017 5-Series is likely to incorporate some lightweight materials such as aluminum and carbon fiber reinforced plastic in addition to conventional steel. Some body panels should also be carbon.
Expect the car to weigh around 220 pounds less than the current 5-Series, which means the lightest versions could end up tipping the scales at less than 3,300 pounds. The car’s size and proportions should be similar to the current model, which means an overall length of about 16 feet and width of just over six feet.
There should be regular sedan and Touring wagon bodystyles, plus a second-generation of the 5-Series Gran Turismo.
As for engines, expect four-, six- and eight-cylinder options to remain, all with direct-injection and turbocharging technologies. A plug-in hybrid model should also be offered, perhaps with a variation of the i8’s three-cylinder and electric motor setup.
It’s too early to determine styling but expect an evolution of the current model’s theme but with more sculpted surfaces. Responsible for the new look will be a team led by the exterior design boss for the BMW brand, Karim Habib
Stay tuned for updates as development progresses._______________________________________Follow Motor Authority on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.