This is the new BMW X5, the car that arguably defines the SUV genre.
Now in its third generation, the X5 is due to be officially unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show this September, but after the car was recently snapped undisguised, BMW has pressed ahead with releasing the first official images.
For the first time, the X5 will be offered in a rear-wheel drive only configuration (sDrive) alongside the familiar four-wheel drive layout (xDrive). Given that the X5 has traditionally performed better on road than off, the rear-drive configuration is likely to be suitable for the majority of buyers.
It is available solely in conjunction with a new four-cylinder diesel engine – another first for the model – to become the most fuel efficient model in the range.
The X5 will be offered with a choice of four diesels and one petrol engine, each mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox – the only transmission option.
The V8 powered xDrive50i is likely to be of limited interest in the UK, thanks to its 27.2mpg thirst and relatively high C02 emissions of 242g/km. However, those craving a performance hit from their two-tonne SUV need not despair, as BMW is making its new tri-turbo six-cylinder diesel available in the X5 M50d, which offers similar performance, but with much improved emissions (177g/km) and fuel economy (42.2mpg).
The cabin makes similar strides in terms of perceived luxury. An optional panoramic sunroof gives an airy feel to the cabin, though much of the dashboard design and switchgear is lifted straight from other BMW models.
The new BMW X5 starts from £42,590 with the car available in showrooms from November.