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Spyshot: X5 MKII grows into a seven-seater

BMW’s unmistakable X5 MkII has broken cover, for extreme cold weather testing.

The blue and white propeller is taking an evolutionary approach to its successful SUV, with a restrained new look, tried and trusted xDrive 4x4 system and the powerful new engines familiar from the facelifted 7-series.

The big development is that the X5 will have a seven-seat option. The extra space comes from that tell-tale longer rear overhang and stretched wheelbase, which also puts clear blue water between the X5 and its X3 ‘little’ brother.

The roofline and rear hatch are sharply raked to disguise the growth, and bestow a wedgy, sporty profile on the MkII. 

For now, the bodywork remains covered up, but sources say Z4-style ‘flame surfaces’ hardly figure on the X5. The front end is classic BMW: twin-bulb headlamps, enlarged double kidney grille and plenty of big air scoops.

The X5 lands in showrooms next year, running BMW’s latest straight six and V8 engines. The punchy 258bhp 3.0i kicks off the range, along with the 231bhp diesel six.

Two petrol V8s will be offered: a 306bhp 4.0 and a 367bhp 4.8. No word yet if BMW will bring the 300bhp V8 diesel to Britain, but it’s resisted the temptation so far.

All the engines will be mated to six-speed automatic gearboxes; the days of manual X5s will soon be over. The torque split continuously varies between all four wheels, depending on which tyres have the most grip.  

Inside, the transmission lever is mounted behind the steering wheel, as on the 7-series. Indeed, the limo’s layout has been a big influence: the parking brake becomes an electronic switch, and its iDrive controller makes its SUV debut.

The list of luxuries grows, too, including a large glass roof and integrated entertainment system to keep young back seat passengers amused.

DESIGN

Evolutionary approach to the styling, although the MkII’s package grows to distance it from the X3’s.

ENGINES

Wide range of 6 and V8 engines lifted from the 7-series, ranging from 231bhp diesel to 367bhp petrol.

INSIDE

Cabin houses the big changes: seven seats optional, iDrive and electronic parking brake appear.



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