It’s been a quarter of a century since BMW rolled out its very first SUV, the X5 E53. To celebrate the milestone, one of the luxobarge’s designers took to Instagram to mark the occasion. Frank Stephenson – who also penned the first modern MINI – shared a social media post with his pride and joy. The story behind the vehicle’s design was detailed by its creator in a video released a few years ago.

The original BMW SUV was born with a sketch created in just a couple of hours while Stephenson was on a flight. He had his work cut out for him considering the X5 was the first of its kind for the company. It was designed from the ground up, without being related to an existing product that would’ve made his work easier. He had more freedom to pen the SUV but the E53 had to have some signature styling elements, such as the Hofmeister kink.

The first-gen Sports Activity Vehicle was born in what went on to become the highly controversial Bangle era. The final design was frozen by 1996, some three years before the start of production. BMW owned Rover at the time and was able to take inspiration from the Range Rover, such as the split-opening tailgate.

The E53 went on to become a roaring success, with more than 600,000 units sold. It also paved the way for a massive expansion of the X lineup. In 2024, BMW sells over ten high-riding models, from the X1 to the X7, plus the iX and XM. In China, it also builds long-wheelbase versions of the X1 and the X5.

The X5 is one of BMW’s pillars and is heading toward its fifth generation. Walter Mertl Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Finance, announced this week the new model is currently in development. It reportedly carries the “G65” internal codename and will stay on the CLAR platform.

It is believed a fully electric iX5 is planned on the same architecture instead of Neue Klasse. Little else is known about the new luxury SUV, but we’ve heard it’s getting X-shaped headlights. Back in April, US dealers were given an early look at the new X5. One of the sales representatives called it “probably the coolest thing I’ve seen,” adding it’ll have a “mean” look.

The revamped model is expected to come out in 2027 and retain inline-six and V8 engines. However, the eight-cylinder unit is unlikely to be offered in Europe due to stricter emissions regulations.

Source: Frank Stephenson / Instagram, Frank Stephenson / YouTube