The current generation BMW X5 is only three years into its life cycle, making it about halfway through a typical BMW cycle. So it’s time for a refresh, or LCI treatment in BMW speak, which will likely consist of some slighter freshened headlights and taillights as well as maybe some interior tweaks a some power train changes, like switching from the N55 to the B58 in the X5 xDrive35i. However, this isn’t what we’re looking at here. Apparently, despite the current X5 being alive and well, BMW is already working on its replacement.

Autoblog has yet again obtained some new spy photos of a BMW X5, that is very early in the developmental phase, being tested in the snow. Now, it’s likely that this X5 is just a test mule with very little to indicate what the final production car might show. However, we can make out some things and maybe get an idea of what BMW is working on.

Current BMW X5
Current BMW X5

While this new BMW X5 looks very similar in proportion to the outgoing model, it actually seems to be a bit smaller. The front axle seems to be a bit more inboard than the current model’s, and is much closer to the dash. The same can be said for the rear axle, which places the rear wheels almost directly underneath the rear doors. This would indicate a shorter wheelbase, which is somewhat odd given the state of modern cars growing with each new iteration. However, with BMW’s clever new Carbon Core technology, it’s possible that BMW is able to create a much smaller and lighter chassis while simultaneously growing interior passenger space. If the wheelbase has indeed been shortened, this could help with handling and make the X5 feel more nimble.

Aside from that, there’s really not much to see. Any speculation on body work would probably be useless, as these body panels are most likely just patchwork panels just to get a working prototype going. There actually doesn’t seem to be much by the way of body work in the front of the car, anyway.

The current-gen X5 is a very big car and could use some trimming down, especially in the weight department. So this test mule seems to give us hope for a slimmer, more nimble X5 in the future. Obviously, that’s about as much as we can tell from these spy photos, but it’s enough to give us hope. Let’s also hope those cool roof lights are options, too. I like those.