BMW’s test drivers seem to have a lot of fun on the job. When not flinging the Z5 around in the snow, this video shows them sliding the next-generation X5 in the Arctic Circle. The vast majority of drivers probably don’t drift their SUVs around snowy roads on purpose, but doing so under development lets the Bavarian engineers tune the models for when things get slippery. 

These test mules look the same as camouflaged versions of the upcoming SUV from late last year, including camouflage in identical locations. It appears that BMW is opting for a largely evolutionary upgrade with a more complex design for the front end. The rear features a more handsome integration of the exhaust pipes into the bumper. The profile seems to have a slightly more coupe-like arch at the back but not enough to compromise utility. The design team leaves plenty of room for a sweeping tail if a successor to the X6 happens.

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We suspect BMW’s team isn’t done tuning the exhaust on these test mules, which is a shame. They make a wonderful array of whistling turbos and growling engines that make the big vehicles sound properly menacing. By the time these models arrive in showrooms, expect them to be much quieter. 

The new X5 moves to BMW’s CLAR platform like the latest 5 and 7 Series. The switch should slice off a healthy chunk of weight, even if the SUV grows a little larger. Six- and eight-cylinder engines would be in the powertrain range, plus a likely hybrid option. Customers who want more power and additional room can pick the upcoming X7.

We don’t yet have photos of the X5’s interior, but expect BMW’s latest infotainment tech. A vast array of safety assistance systems should also be available to buyers. 

BMW will unveil the latest X5 before the end of the year. It’ll possibly be early 2018 before they’ll start arriving in showrooms, though. 

Source: Automedia