It's been six months since we last saw the X5 M prototypes.
Back in April last year, we caught images of a new BMW X5 M. The prototype we saw was wearing black bumpers but looked otherwise almost identical to the existing model. As a result, we assumed that the only major changes coming to the facelifted X5 M would be to the interior, but a few months later, new imagery surfaced depicting a test mule with sharper headlights and totally obscured bumpers and grilles. This suggested that the Life Cycle Impulse (LCI) - BMW-speak for a facelift - model would indeed be getting a visual refresh. Now we can confirm it, as new shots prove some subtle design changes are coming.
The earlier spy shots we had published showed very basic test mule headlights, but these were still the same shape as those on the current 2022 model. These new images, however, suggest that the X5 and its M sibling will be getting slimmer, sharper headlights, more angular kidney grilles (which will probably be illuminated like those on the latest M8), and a new bumper design that may feature smaller lower intake grilles but the addition of fog lights placed above them - just like the old X5 M. The center grille also seems to be more like that of the upcoming M4 CSL, with a pronounced horizontal bar housing various radar sensors. The wing mirrors are also more rounded like on the E-Series models of yore, now adding a little more definition.
At the rear, it appears that the reflectors in the false vents will remain unchanged. The overall shape of the taillights seems to be the same, but we're sure to get updated graphics, as evidenced in the above images. As for the diffuser, we can't see any obvious changes, but it does appear that the quad-exit exhaust is getting new finishers that seem to be thicker-walled than those on the current model.
Inside, we already know to expect iDrive 8 with its iX-sourced double-screen setup. As for performance, it's quite possible that the Competition model will become the only variant on offer, as was the case with the updated M8. If that's the case, the 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 will deliver a minimum of 617 horsepower, but this is M's 50th anniversary year, so we wouldn't write off a more powerful model at some point. Then again, production of the LCI X5 is said to begin in April next year with the X5 M to follow shortly thereafter, so this may miss the 50th-anniversary celebrations altogether.