We've just spied the next generation BMW X5 M prototype beginning its testing! Although still clad in full camouflage, signature M features leave no doubt that we are looking at the next X5 M.
The most conspicuous items are the quad M exhausts, active differential and blue brake calipers, which have become the signature color for M model brakes (i.e. F10 M5 and F12/F13 M6). Seen behind the blue M brakes are drilled rotors, the first for any X5 model. Hiding behind the front end camouflage are huge air intakes and we get a very clear look at how the headlights will connect to the kidney grilles, in the same fashion as on the F30 3 Series.
This prototype comes just 6 months after the regular F15 X5 was first spotted out testing, which supports what we've previously stated - that going forward, BMW will bring M models to market sooner after the regular series model's introduction than it has traditionally. This also means that the next X5 M may actually get its own chassis designation, set apart from the regular X5 model's "F15," just as the next gen M3/M4 will be designated F80/F82 (and not F30/F32).
Expect the F15 X5 and X5 M to feature some new technology not available in any current BMW model, including a pedestrian airbag and iDrive touchpad (stay tuned to BIMMERPOST for more info on the touchpad very soon).
The F15 X5 is expected to weigh less than the current E70 X5 and ride on a modified version of the F10 5 series chassis. For the regular F15 X5, expect both diesel and gasoline 6-cylinder and 8-cylinder engine options. As for the next X5 M, expect it to be powered by the S63Tu from the new M5/M6 (current X5 M uses the S63 engine).