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Spy photographers have snapped the next-generation 2018 BMW X5 undergoing testing this week.

Wearing a heavy disguise, the X5 prototype in the images sports a silhouette similar to the small X1, though obviously in a much larger package.

Up front is a much larger version of BMW’s signature double-kidney grille, while the headlights and front bumper are still pre-production units.

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The new-generation X5 is expected to grow in size again, offering more passenger and luggage space to compete with roomier rivals like the Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90.

Underneath, the X5 is believed to ride on a version of the modular platform that also underpins the 7 Series limousine, with a mixture of high-strength yet lightweight materials including carbon-fibre, aluminium and magnesium.

Thanks to the use of these materials, the SUV is expected to weigh between 250 and 300kg less than the current car, which should help to improve dynamics and efficiency.

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It’s believed the new X5 will be powered by a range of turbocharged petrol and diesel engines borrowed from the 5 Series and 7 Series. The line-up should also include an iPerformance plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and high-performance M variant later on.

Timing for the next-generation X5 is still unknown, though it’s likely the production version will be revealed in the next year before rolling out globally over the following months. Expect a late-2017 or early-2018 launch for Australia.

In the meantime, stay tuned to CarAdvice for more updates in the coming months.

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