It’s pretty common to see various groups of future cars testing together, so when spy photographers sent over the latest batch of photos for the 2016 BMW 5 Series Touring station wagon, it was no surprise that new images popped up for the next-gen 2017 BMW 5 Series sedan. Better yet, it’s the plug-in hybrid version of the upcoming sedan, which will probably be named the 540e.

Unlike previous spy shots, this prototype seems to be wearing production taillights (although they are heavily camouflaged) showing that BMW is getting closer to the launch of this redesigned sedan. Considering the timing, BMW could introduce the new 5 Series lineup in September at the Frankfurt Motor Show with sales likely starting early next year.

The biggest difference between this prototype and previous cars spotted is, of course, the fact that it’s a hybrid. Aside from the plug-in door on the left front fender and the “Hybrid Test Vehicle” stickers, the only visual change in this sedan is the lack of smooth, chrome exhaust finishers integrated into the fascia as were present on non-hybrid versions of the car. It’s possible the plug-in model could have hidden exhaust outlets (as some hybrids do), but there’s also the chance that a hybrid-specific fascia is still being developed.

As for what’s under the hood, the plug-in 5 Series will probably carry over the powertrain of the 2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e, which consists of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired to an eight-speed transmission with an integrated electric motor. The engine is rated at 241 horsepower and the electric motor at 111 horsepower giving the SUV a total output of 309 horsepower. The best part is the plug-in X5 has all-electric range of 19 miles at a maximum speed of 75 mph.

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Why it matters

While the BMW 5 Series Touring won’t be making its way to the U.S., the 2017 BMW 5 Series sedan lineup will almost certainly include the plug-in hybrid model that was recently spotted testing. The abundance of camouflage does its job by concealing the sedan’s styling, but expect this new 5 Series to resemble a scaled-down version of the recently introduced 2016 BMW 7 Series.

2017 BMW 5 Series - Spy Shots

2017 BMW 5 Series Sedan Caught Testing: Spy Shots Exterior Spyshots
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2017 BMW 5 Series Sedan Caught Testing: Spy Shots Exterior Spyshots
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2017 BMW 5 Series Sedan Caught Testing: Spy Shots Exterior Spyshots
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You can read our speculative review here.

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