2014 BMW X5 Prototype Spotted Lapping Germany's Nurburgring
There aren't many large SUVs you ever see lapping Germany's Nurburgring Nordschleife race track, perhaps one of the most grueling circuits in the world. So when one does, you tend to quickly draw some conclusions about its origins and what manufacturer is testing it, even if it's completely wrapped up in camouflage as the one above is. Spotted by a photographer of our sister publication Motor Trend at the famed track, the SUV in question appears to be the next-generation BMW X5, likely due as a 2014 model. It's hard to believe the current model has been in showrooms since 2007, but as BMW typically goes on seven-year model cycles before replacing a vehicle, it makes sense. The next-gen BMW X5 appears to be shaped an awful lot like the current one, albeit somewhat bigger-looking in the hind quarters to better accommodate a third row of seats, suggesting BMW is going more for evolution than revolution. It retains the sharp crease the current model uses near the top of its doors, and it looks to carry BMW's traditional styling cues, such as its "Hoffmeister"-kinked rear quarter windows. While possibly a bold assumption, we're betting the V-8 engine option for the 2014 BMW X5 will remain, even as automakers are dropping big engines for smaller, turbocharged engines. Our reasoning? BMW has begun using hexagonal exhaust pipes for its V-8 models, while six-cylinder versions typically go with round exhaust tips. If you look at the rear of the BMW X5 in question, it appears to keep to that trend. While details about the next BMW X5 are still pretty sparse, we can tell you that it'll likely come with a similar palette of engines as the current model, which include a turbocharged 3.0-liter, 300-horsepower inline-6; a 400-horsepower, 4.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V-8; a 3.0-liter, turbocharged diesel engine that has far and away exceeded sales expectations for a diesel model in the U.S.; and the 555-horsepower, twin-turbocharged V-8 that comes equipped in the X5 M. More engines and powertrains, including the possibility of a hybrid, may complement the range in its next generation. Over the next few months we'll be looking for the BMW X5 to make more headway as it nears production. Expect to see it early next year in production form at one of the major international auto shows before making its way to the States several months later. Source: Motor Trend
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