Despite a larger SUV joining the BMW lineup in 2019, the next generation BMW X5, due out this year, will continue to offer seating for seven. A recent spy photo from South Carolina show a G05 X5 prototype featuring the optional third row bench.

The production of the F15 X5 is scheduled to end in BMW’s Spartanburg plant in July 2018 with the new model slotted to being production shortly after. This also means that the X5 will skip the traditional BMW mid-cycle refresh and will end its production five years into its lifecycle, which makes it one of the shorter production times of modern BMWs.

The general proportions and shape of the upcoming X5 remain the same, as BMW hasn’t had a totally new design language in years, but a closer look reveal larger kidney grilles sitting more upright, similar to what we saw on the Concept X7. The side view features a more slopping roofline compared to the current generation X5, while the two character lines running from rear to front emphasize the dynamics of this car.

The rear end has also been sculpted to inspire more sportiness while keeping the same proportions that have made the X5 a popular choice among SUV lovers.

The model range will remain mostly the same. The sDrive35i and its all-wheel brother, the xDrive35i becoming 40i versions as they will get the new B58 3-liter straight six engine with its 320 HP. The same name change will be true for diesel versions as well. Of course, the xDrive40e plug-in hybrid will continue to be offered as will the V8 option in the guise of the xDrive50i.

[Photo: Palbay]