It looks like a refresh, but there's a new platform underneath.

The last time we saw spy photos of the BMW X5 there wasn’t a snowflake in sight. Obviously that’s not the case today, as this SUV is literally surrounded be a sea of snow. This is a popular snowbound highway for secret BMW vehicles as we’ve caught quite a few camouflaged cars, and this M-endowed X5 is the latest.

How do we know it’s an M variant? For starters, we don’t think the standard X5 would be wearing blue brake calipers with massive cross-drilled rotors. Also, the air inlets on the front fascia seem mighty big, as do the exhaust tips out the back. Compared to the photos we saw back in November, this prototype is virtually identical right down to the black camouflage wrap. Aside from the number plate, the only difference we can spot is the down low on the rear bumper where the exhaust tips are hiding in the snow cloud. It appears the rectangular cutouts are gone on this version.

Update:

While some might think this is just an update to the current X5, it’s actually thought to be an entirely new model. BMW is skipping the usual mid-cycle refresh and jumping straight to the next generation. With the speed at which the SUV market moves these days, that may not be such a bad idea, but don’t expect the styling to radically different. From what we’ve been able to gather, the next X5 will take a rather conservative, evolutionary approach in the looks department.

The big news will come underneath with its new CLAR platform. It’s already in-use on the 5 Series and 7 Series, and it should cut quite a bit of weight from the SUV. Combine that with an infusion of power – possibly upwards of 600 horsepower (447 kW) in the form of a 4.4-liter biturbo V8 – and this new high-performance people mover could offer up some serious performance.

We’re expecting BMW to give us full disclosure on the new model in the not-to-distant future, possibly this summer. It's expected to go on sale before the end of the year.

Source: CarPix, Automedia 

Gallery: BMW X5 M Spy Photos

Photo by: CarPix