BMW is at an early stage of testing of prototypes for an updated X5, and one of these has been spotted outside one of the automaker's many engineering centers in Germany.

The updates pegged for the popular mid-size crossover SUV will constitute a mid-cycle update for the current fourth-generation X5 which arrived in 2018 as a 2019 model. Look for the updated version to arrive in 2022 as a 2023 model. It should arrive together with an updated version of the related X6.

The tweaks to the exterior will be mild, judging by this prototype. Look for new internals for the lights and revised fascias front and rear. The interior is also likely to feature some updates, including possibly a more advanced infotainment system with a larger screen.

2023 BMW X5 facelift spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2023 BMW X5 facelift spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

It isn't clear what is planned for the powertrains but some improvements to efficiency or performance, or both, is likely. In the United States, the X5 is currently offered with the choice of a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 or 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V-8. The inline-6 is available in plug-in hybrid guise while the V-8 can be had in an X5 M spitting out 600 horsepower in standard guise and 617 hp in an X5 M Competition model.

Don't expect a battery-electric powertrain, at least with this generation. BMW will fill that role with the new iX, also due in 2022. A fuel cell-electric version could be offered by then as well, albeit in very limited numbers.

Production of the X5 for worldwide sale is handled at BMW Group's plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Last year, BMW managed to sell 54,595 examples in the U.S. alone.