The camouflage on BMW prototypes usually comes off slowly like a strip tease as prototypes advance from one test stage to the next. But, this time we've spied some parts of the next generation 2014 BMW X5 (codename: F15) in exposed form much earlier than expected.
It looks like an automotive version of the Sci-Fi horror film Predator, but this post crash test X5 prototype actually reveals much - the headlight shape, hood lines, fenders, and the side body character line. Keep in mind that some of the lines and panels you see up front are distorted due to the crash test.
Judging by what's seen here, the X5 retains its muscular shape and will not be much larger than the current E70 X5 (based on previous comparison photos compared to the current X5 (re-posted below). The overall shape, silhouette, and roofline also don't appear to be a radical departure in the comparison photos.
We previously posted that the F15's grilles will be larger, wider, and bolder than the current X5's and you can certainly tell that it will be wider/larger based on the kidney grille cutout's size and outline at the edge of the hood. The grilles now take up a larger proportion of the front fascia than the current X5 and like all late model BMWs, the hoodline has been moved to above the kidney grilles.
Taking up recent design cues a la F30 3 series, the X5 headlights now connect with the kidney grilles (which matches an earlier sketch by SCOTT26 - pictured right). They don't connect smoothly/perfectly here, but remember, the front panels and the hood on this prototype have been shifted by the crash test.
To better meet the European pedestrian safety standards, Volvo recently introduced their pedestrian airbag technology. And we spot what we think may be an indication of this technology implemented on the F15 X5. In the first spy photo you'll notice a white/gray material at the windshield base which resembles a deployed airbag. How would an airbag at that position help provide pedestrians safety? Triggered by a frontal impact, the airbag deploys from below the hood at the base of the windshield and covers the roof pillars and most of the glass, while leaving a small opening for the driver to see through. The raised hood further protects the struck person by increasing the distance from the relatively flexible surface to the hard engine underneath (see Volvo's illustration and animation below). This mechanism looks very much like what has has occurred on this X5.
The F15 X5 is expected to weigh less than the current E70 X5 and ride on a modified version of the F10 5 series chassis. Expect both diesel and gasoline 6-cylinder and 8-cylinder engine options. It will be introduced in late 2013 as a 2014 model.
We also previously spied the X5 F15's interior for the first time, revealing a free standing LCD screen and a touchpad iDrive button (also reposted below).
F15 X5 Prototype Crash Test Prototype
2014 X5 (F15) versus X5 (E70) and X3