• BMW X5 Spyshots - Fourth Testing Session
  • New Glossy Camo
  • The Hood is more muscular
  • Radiator Grille in Black Chrome
  • M Sport wheels with blue brake calipers
  • More pronounced front fascia
  • Same decoy tail lights and exhaust outlets
  • Unveil expected in first quarter 2018
  • Will go on sale as 2019 model
  • Will ride on CLAR platform
  • Will share drivetrain options with BMW 7 Series

The X5 was spotted with laser headlights as it shifts just a little closer to being production ready

It wasn’t until 2000 that BMW stepped into the SUV segment with the BMW X5, and after 16 years, that single SUV has spawned four other crossovers, with three slotted in the lineup below it and one above it. Since the X5’s release, it has been through three different generational changes. The first happened in 2006 when the E70 X5 was born for the 2007 model year. That model lasted until 2013 when we were blessed with the current F15 generation of the X5. Notice that trend between the generational shifts of the X5? Every six years or so, BMW releases a redesigned model. And, that probably explains why we’re looking at these spy shots of what appears to be a very early iteration of the next BMW X5.

The SUV in the pictures is in what I like to call “bare-bones testing,” meaning it is covered in camo and missing most of its identifiable features. Even that kidney bean grille has been left at the shop for this trip. Since it is in the very early stages of testing, there isn’t a whole lot we can say about the next generation of the X5, but we can speculate some. Should BMW follow its current trend, we should see the fourth-generation X5 unveiled in 2018. Until then, let’s take a look at what is going on in these pictures.

Update 11/07/2017: The BMW X5 was caught in the wild yet again, but this time it wasn’t on the Nurburgring, and it has changed its clothes as well. Check out the spy shots section below to see the latest developments on the upcoming BMW X5.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 BMW X5.

Spy Shots

November 7, 2017 – The Emperor Gets New Clothes

2018 BMW X5 Exterior Spyshots
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The Hood is more muscular
2018 BMW X5 Exterior Spyshots
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Will ride on CLAR platform

This far along in the testing phase, there isn’t a whole lot left for BMW change up, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there isn’t a lot new to talk about. It also shouldn’t come as a surprise that we’re getting our first look at the M Performance model as well. In short, the biggest notable change is that the old swirly camo is gone and has since been replaced by something more stylish and glossy. It has helped to emphasize the muscularity of the hood. There also appears to be a little more aggressiveness at the bottom of the front fascia, and the radiator grille has also received the black chrome treatment. Larger, M Sport wheels have been added to the mix as have the blue M Sport brake calipers. Outside of this the only other noticeable item is the LED units the headlights that are still angular but remain only at the bottom of the laser elements and the fact that the exhaust outlets still feature the dual round outlets inside the chrome rectangular fittings. The next time we see the X5, we should see the official taillights and a finished exhaust system as well as a serious shred of this new glossy camo. Check back in the near future for updates.

8/14/2017 – Fourth Testing Session; Third Outing at the ‘Ring

2018 BMW X5 Exterior Spyshots
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2018 BMW X5 Exterior Spyshots
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So far, we’ve seen the X5 on three different occasions. The first time, it was playing in the snow back in January of last year. The other two times, it has been seen being put through the paces and the Nurburgring. The X5 likes the ring – we should all aspire to be like it. Okay, maybe I took it a little too far, but the point is, it was caught for a third time on the ‘Ring today and, while it didn’t drop any serious amounts of camo, it is sporting a few changes. First off, there has been some camo removed from the front grille, ultimately exposing a larger pair of kidney grilles. With the grilles being tested fully open like the BMW will be able to know for sure that there’s ample airflow making its way to the radiator. We can now make out two horizontal louvers in the small air dam below, and the corner vents are now taking shape, losing the weird bubbled look at the ends shown on the last mule. The little openings above the corner vents have now been opened up more, also exposing more horizontal louvers that we couldn’t make out before.

More importantly, however, are the official production headlights. As you can see, the projector/halogen units of the last mule have been replaced by a pair of official laser headlights, a feature that is identifiable by those blue lines right in the middle of the headlights. The X5 will also get those new angular LED strips around each laser projector which isn’t only stylish but will also improve your visibility to oncoming traffic in certain situations. All told, it’s shaping up pretty nicely and should be just about ready for production. It should be making its debut in the early months of 2018 and is expected to borrow its drivetrain options from the 5 and 7 Series lineups. To add to this, there is also a hybrid model in the works as well as an official M version too. Obviously, things are shaping up quite nicely for the next-gen X5.

April 27, 2017 - BMW X5 caught testing at Nurburgring once again

2018 BMW X5 Exterior Spyshots
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2018 BMW X5 Exterior Spyshots
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April 21, 2016 - BMW X5 caught testing around Nurburgring

2018 BMW X5 Exterior Spyshots
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2018 BMW X5 Exterior Spyshots
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January 19, 2016 - First testing session

2018 BMW X5 High Resolution Exterior Spyshots
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2018 BMW X5 High Resolution Exterior Spyshots
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2018 BMW X5 Exterior Spyshots
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Looking at the sides, we can make out a body line along the doors and fenders that is similar to the current model.

As previously mentioned, there isn’t a whole lot worth talking about when it comes to these spy shots. The vehicle is clearly a BMW X5, but it has no side skirts, a minimal front fascia, and some headlights that look like they were borrowed from a 2000 BMW X5. The front fascia may be the skeleton of what the next X5’s will look like, but at this point, even that is speculation. If that hood is what we’ll see on the production model, it will be significantly toned down from the current model, but chances are, it is just a decoy used on this early test mule.

2018 BMW X5 Exterior Spyshots
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2018 BMW X5 Exterior Spyshots
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2018 BMW X5 Exterior Spyshots
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2018 BMW X5 Exterior Spyshots
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Looking at the sides, we can make out a body line along the doors and fenders that is similar to the current model. Since there is also lower body lines, it’s possible these doors will make it onto the next production model. To the rear, there is a rather bland fascia that will likely be styled completely differently by the time we see the next go around at testing. I don’t even know what to say about the taillights. If they are part of the new design, they will be a huge departure from the current model. It is important to keep in mind, however, that these are likely makeshift lights, used to make the test mule road legal, of new units under very heavy camo.

Current BMW X5 vs. The upcoming BMW X5

2018 BMW X5 Exterior Spyshots
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2014 BMW X5
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2018 BMW X5 Exterior Spyshots
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2014 BMW X5
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2014 BMW X5 High Resolution Interior
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Note: current BMW X5 pictured here.

We don’t have a clear view of the interior, but even if we did, you can bet it falls under the “bare bones” category too. We’re expecting the new model to be more comfortable and come with an advancement in tech features. This means we can expect softer leather, with better padding and a more visually pleasing cabin. I expect to see a different instrument cluster layout up front – maybe even moving over to a TFT display as opposed to the traditional needle gauges.

The infotainment screen will probably be of a thinner nature, and come with a slightly larger display. We’ll see small changes to the dash and center console, but nothing too extreme. With any luck, we’ll see the next generation X5 come with the gesture control seen in the 7 Series. Furthermore, now that BMW has been approved to include remote parking on models built for the U.S., they feature may make it into the U.S.-bound X5 as well.


2018 BMW X5 High Resolution Exterior Spyshots
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At this point, it is probably way too early to be talking about the drivetrain, but something is pushing that X5 in the spy shots through the snow. In current form, the X5 comes with a gasoline-burning, 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder that puts out 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque, or a diesel-burning, 3.0-liter I-6 that puts out 255 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque. Moving up to the X5 xDrive50i brings a 4.4-liter V-8 with 445 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque.

If Bimmer continues with its current drivetrain configurations, I suspect the engines will, at least, be modified to provide a bump in power and fuel economy. Then again, to see a mule on the road this early is a suggestion that BMW may be testing some new drivetrain components. Until we get the official word, however, your guess is as good as ours.


The current X5 starts out at $54,700 in its most basic form – the sDrive 35i – and moves all the way up to $71,599 for the range-topping xDrive 50i. That is a huge range of pricing, but there are three trim levels in the middle. The xDrive 35i comes in at $57,000, the xDrive 35d comes in at $57,700 and the xDrive 40e commands $62,100.

Considering the next X5 will come with some new features, and potentially some changes to the drivetrain, it’s possible that there will be a bump up in pricing. I wouldn’t expect much, and it’s pure speculation at this point, but pricing could jump up by close to $2,000 if BMW adds to the X5 like I hope it will.


Audi Q7

2017 - 2018 Audi Q7 High Resolution Exterior
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The Q7 arrived to the party a little late in comparison to the X5. It initially debuted in 2005 at the Frankfurt Motor show, but didn’t hit the North American market until the 2007 model year. Ten years later, and the Q7 edged into a new generation for the 2017 model year. Sporting a whole new design, the Q7 is currently available in three trim levels – the Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige. All trim levels come standard with Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system, and a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 that puts out 333 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. The Q7, with its lighter design, can hit 60 mph in 5.7 seconds on the way to a top speed of 130 mph. The Q7 starts out at $54,800 and moves up to $64,300 for the premium prestige.

Read our full review on the 2018 Audi Q7.

Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLE Exterior Spyshots
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Launched all the way back in 1997 as the M-Class, the Mercedes GLE is the oldest SUV in the midsize luxury segment. Redesigned most recently in 2011, the hauler received a new mid-cycle facelift in 2015, when it was also renamed the GLE-Class. The German SUV is available with a variety of gasoline engines, including both V-6 and V-8 units, with output ranging from 302 to 436 for non-AMG versions. Opt for the AMG GLE63 and output jumps to 550 horsepower, while the GLE63 S comes with 577 horsepower on top. Much like the X5, this SUV is also scheduled for a redesign, with the fourth-generation model likely to arrive in 2018. Pricing starts from $52,200 in 2017, but expect an increase with the update.

Read our speculative review of the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class.


2018 BMW X5 High Resolution Exterior Spyshots
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It is hard to really draw a conclusion on a model that is so heavily camouflaged, and lacking so many production-ready features. What I can say is that based on how well the X5 evolved from the first generation to the second, that BMW isn’t likely to disappoint when this model is finally spotted in full production form. I was already a big fan of the X5 in its current form, so I’m hoping that Bimmer doesn’t go overboard with trying to improve the model. I’m looking forward to seeing the next shots we get of the future X5.

  • Leave it
    • * Very little revealed from spy shots
    • * Will probably be more expensive


2014 BMW X5 High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the BMW X5.

Update History

Update 8/14/2017: The BMW X5 has been spotted putting in work again, this time sporting one big change that sheds some light on the road ahead. Check out our spy shots section below to learn all about it.

Updated 04/27/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming BMW X5 out for a new testing session around Nurburgring.

Updated 04/21/2014: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming BMW X5 out for a new testing session around the famous Nurbrugring race track.

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