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The next-generation BMW 5 Series has been spied in prototype form in both sedan and Touring body styles close to three years out from its anticipated debut.

Spotted on the back of a flatbed truck in Germany by CarAdvice’s spy photographers, the seventh-generation BMW 5 Series sedan test mule wears heavy camouflage but has a sleeker profile and new flush-mounted exhaust outlets.

Spotted on road, the Touring prototype also features evolutionary design updates, with a more chiselled and defined tailgate than the current model with the rear wiper swapping sides.

BMW 5 Series sedan spied - 5

With the facelifted 5 Series only making its debut this year, the next-generation model is not expected to reach showrooms until late 2016/early 2017, following BMW’s usual product cycle timeframe. As such, details of the next 5 Series remain light.

The range is anticipated, however, to be significantly lighter than the recently updated 5 Series line-up, with weight savings coming from the use of more lightweight materials, such as aluminium, in the chassis and body panels.

Lighter-weight and more efficient turbocharged petrol and diesel engines are also expected to be joined by hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains – potential outcomes of BMW’s partnership with Toyota also rumoured to spawn a much-discussed Toyota Supra replacement.

BMW 5 Series touring spied - 1

The flagship M5 will again top the new 5 Series range, though speculation surrounds what will power the performance sedan; another V8 engine or potentially a smaller capacity six-cylinder unit following in the footsteps of the new M4/M3 twins.

Safety and in-car technology will also dominate any new generation, with the latest in driver assistance and infotainment systems expected to keep the German car maker at the pointy end of its luxury segment.

The facelifted BMW 5 Series went on sale in Australia in July, priced from $79,900.

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