The new X5 retains more or less the same dimensions as the old model, suggesting that rumours of an X7 (codename: F17) to battle the future LWB Range Rover may well prove to be true

The new X5 retains more or less the same dimensions as the old model, suggesting that rumours of an X7 (codename: F17) to battle the future LWB Range Rover may well prove to be true

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BMW has revealed details and images of project F15, the third generation X5. The new model will have its public debut at September's Frankfurt motor show.

The X5, which continues to be manufactured in the US, will be launched with these three variants, in the German market:

  • xDrive50i (330kW/450hp 4,395cc new generation turbo petrol V8)
  • xDrive30d (190kW/258hp 2,993cc revised six-cylinder turbo diesel)
  • M50d M Performance Automobile (280kW/381hp 2,993cc tri-turbo diesel)

The xDrive50i's engine output is up 10% over the outgoing model's, which equates to 30kW/43hp, while average fuel consumption is said to have been reduced by 16%. BMW attributes the improvements to Valvetronic variable valve timing.

Three additional variants will follow from December:

  • sDrive25d (claimed CO2 emissions of 149g/km)
  • xDrive25d
  • xDrive40d
  • xDrive35i

Neither engine capacities nor power outputs have been revealed but the sDrive25d will be the new model's first rear-wheel drive version as well as the first four-cylinder X5.

An eight-speed automatic gearbox and electric power steering will be standard for all variants, with so-called 'active' steering optional. Automatic opening and closing of the tailgate is a new standard feature and the X5 will again be sold in most markets as a five-seater. The 40:20:40 split/fold backrest is new, while a seven-seat interior is also available.

Various suspension and handling packages are available as options including air springs for the rear axle.

The so-called 'air curtains' are new feature for an X model BMW, and these are said to reduce drag. The company defines them as "vertical apertures [which] guide the inflowing air around the wheel arches, where it creates a curtain of air over the wheels before making a controlled escape through the air breathers in the side panels". A Cd of 0.31 is claimed for the xDrive30d which BMW claims is "class leading".

The new X5 is the first BMW to feature 'aero blades'. These black air-channelling elements are linked to the the roof spoiler. They are said to "help optimise the car's aerodynamic properties".

Despite featuring the same 2,933mm wheelbase, the new model is claimed to be roomier inside. In addition, the boot's capacity is up by 30 litres to 650l, or 1,870 cubic litres with the seats folded (a rise of 120l over the second generation X5).

The use of ultra-high-tensile steels in the body structure, thermoplastics in the side panels, aluminium in the bonnet and magnesium in the instrument panel support are said to be the main factors behind a weight reduction compared to the old model. Indeed, BMW says the X5 is now the lightest vehicle in its class. Depending on the model, the F15 tips the scales "as much as 90kg lighter than a comparably equipped corresponding model" from the previous E70 generation.

Length, width and height are 4,886mm/1,938mm/1,762mm, while the weight of the xDrive50i is quoted as 2,175kg/2,250kg (unladen DIN/EU).

The launch of the new X5 in Germany is scheduled for November. contains a video of the new model.

Author: Glenn Brooks