New 2018 BMW X5 spied on the road

New spy images capture the latest BMW X5 SUV in testing, and new platform will allow for plug-in hybrid version.

Spy shots have emerged of BMW’s 2018 model year X5 SUV undergoing development testing ahead of a potential Paris Motor Show unveil next September.

We previously received spy shots of a heavily camouflaged X5 undergoing winter testing, with these latest images showing a test mule wearing a different and more revealing camouflage. BMW’s iconic kidney grille has clearly grown in size, while a more intricate LED headlamp design is also visible. Two large exhausts can also be seen at the rear.

BMW’s SUV sales, like most carmakers, have grown rapidly over the past decade, and the firm hopes to build on that success when the fourth generation X5 arrives late next year. Before that, BMW will launch the all-new X2, while a full-size Range Rover rival, called the X7, is also on the cards for 2018.

The current X5 – introduced in 2013 – still makes use of the same architecture as the second-generation car from 2006. As such, a fresh platform will be one of the biggest changes for the 2018 X5. We expect to find the modified version of the platform underpinning the new 5 Series under the skin of the next X5.

More commonly referred to as ‘CLAR’ – Cluster Architecture – it’s already made the leap from saloon to SUV in the new X3, shaving 55kg off the kerbweight of the X5’s little brother in the process. It’s set to appear in the X7, too. Expect even more weight savings to be made on the larger X5; it’ll be part of a bid to improve fuel economy on the car, and will be joined by more efficient four and six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines from the 5 Series. Plug-in hybrid technology is on the table, too, thanks to the CLAR platform.

Engines and a platform aren’t all the X5 will borrow from the latest 5 Series. The interior is set to benefit from a refresh inspired by the firm’s latest saloon, with a redesign and all-new tech such as digital dials, the latest iDrive system and wireless Apple CarPlay. The new X5 also stands to gain semi-autonomous driving features. But buyers will have to wait before getting their hands on the hi-tech newcomer, because it’s likely to be towards the end of next year before it goes on sale.

While the X1 is the best seller in the X range, the X5 is still a key player. BMW shifted 166,219 of them in 2016, a few thousand more than the X3; it accounted for 8.3 per cent of its business last year.




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