Next BMW 5-series spied – next-gen executive saloon snapped 

Just as much executive saloon as window into BMW’s future strategy, the new 5-series will define its next generation

Like all legacy car manufacturers, BMW is going through an intense period of change as it forges ahead with its widespread adoption of electrification. Yet while some like Mercedes-Benz and the Volkswagen Group are investing into a completely bespoke line of electric models and platforms, BMW has decided to go its own way and amalgamate electrified powertrains into its existing models, one of which we’ve spotted here for the first time. This is the next generation 5-series, an all-new take on one of BMW’s long-standing core models, spotted testing here in full-electric form for the first time.

BMW has already applied this principle to two models in the current range, revealing the i4 and iX3 in recent months, but the new 5-series will take the EV revolution to a new and more traditional nameplate, alongside standard combustion and hybrid models. While we’ll have to wait a bit longer to establish specific details, the prototypes in these images reveal much about the next-generation model, which looks to take the traditionally conservative model in a more stylised direction. 

> 2022 BMW M2 spied testing on the Nürburgring

This begins with its very different silhouette, defined by a steeply raked rear screen and less obvious three-box shape which up until now has survived all of BMW’s design revolutions. Look closely and you’ll also note the cabin tapers as it stretches back towards the bootlid. 

Like the silhouette, the 5-series’s head and tail lights also look distinct from both the previous generation 5-series and indeed the upcoming 7-series. This is important to note as it suggests that each of the different model lines will have a very distinct aesthetic from one another. This has also been substantiated by BMW’s head of design Domagoj Dukec, confirming BMW’s focus on giving each model line a more distinctive look, explaining why the 4-series’s controversial grille has largely been kept to its derivatives, and not spread to other recently redesigned models like the 2-series. 

As for what to expect underneath the new bodywork, it’s still too early to tell, although hybrid powertrains will likely dominate the range, including the next-generation M5. With rumours of a near-800bhp plug-hybrid powertrain being in development, there’s a high likelihood that, like Mercedes-AMG, BMW’s M division has also answered the call of needing to cut its emissions with the use of electrified powertrains. 

The big question is when we’re expecting to see the new 5-series, as the current G30 model’s 2016 debut would suggest a debut isn’t due until 2023. This makes it very early to see a body-on prototype in testing like this, suggesting a change in BMW’s traditional seven year model cycle. Has BMW fast-tracked development to get its EV variants on sale sooner than planned? We’ll have to wait and see.

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