All-new BMW X5 M endures winter testing as it gets closer to production sign-off

With demand for high performance SUVs showing no sign of abating, and the juicy profit margins these vehicles generate providing a welcome boost to manufacturers in difficult times, it’s no great surprise to see BMW is well advanced in developing the next X5 M, snapped here during the usual cold weather testing programme.

The previous generation X5, launched back in 2013, shared its fundamental underpinnings with the generation of model before that, so the new model – based on the CLAR platform also found under the latest 5 Series – should make for a considerably more advanced vehicle. 

That in turn should make any M version a formidable rival for Porsche’s latest Cayenne Turbo, which retains the slightly dubious ‘driver’s choice’ tag at the top of the segment. CLAR should allow BMW to remove some kilos from the X5 M’s kerbweight, while the latest generation of biturbo V8, used in the new M5, is good for a more than adequate 440kW. Nevertheless, an even more powerful performance hybrid derivative is likely to be reserved – for now at least – for the forthcoming X7 Range Rover rival.

Although we’d expect the standard models to appear first, with the X5 being shown to the public for the first time at the Paris Motor Show this year, these pictures of an M version prototype suggest that a performance variant won’t be too long in appearing after that. Bigger air intakes, the usual body styling upgrades, massive wheels and quad exhausts are all undoubtedly on the agenda: taste and restraint, however, are two words less likely to play a significant role.