These spy-shots of the 2009 BMW 5-series represent the clearest look yet at the future design direction of this class-leading luxury sedan. It is the first sight of the latest interpretation of the twin-kidney grille.
Sources in Europe claim this BMW will move away from the polarizing design of the current model. Already under development with the internal codename "F10," the next-generation BMW 5-series will soften the harder lines of the current E60 with more conventional-looking headlights and a cleaner front-end design.
New European pedestrian safety standards are expected to drastically alter the design of many European cars for the worse, but BMW will not only maintain its classic twin-kidney grille design, it will reduce the length of the front overhang.
As is typical of most recent BMW redesigns, this 5-series will add some space between the wheels by extending the wheelbase nearly 10 centimetres and widening the track.
The overall length will grow by less than 2 centimetres, while its height will be reduced slightly and its width increased by a fraction. A set of 17-inch wheels will be the smallest available with 18- and 19-inch wheels optional.
Under the hood, this 5-series is expected to use variations of existing engines in BMW's line-up. Base power will likely come from a 2.5-litre straight-6 while top-range models will use the current 4.8-litre V8.