Next Generation X5 to Debut BMW\’s New Modular Aluminum Chassis?

Over the past few years it would seem BMW has been dedicated to extending it ‘s brand to smaller and smaller vehicles. While premium in their class they are departures for a brand that historically catered to wealthy customers looking for executive four door sport transport. But BMW hasn ‘t forgotten what got them where they are today and over the next 5-7 years the brand will return to it ‘s roots with a series of new large car introductions that will give customers all the feel associated with BMW ‘s but a little less of the guilt.

Through two generations BMW X5 has lead the industry. By any account it ‘s been a sales and marketing homerun for BMW and has allowed the company to profit and expand into many new arenas. And the vehicle itself has been praised for being one of (if not the) best large crossover currently sold. However there ‘s always been one thorn in the size of the X5; weight. At a staggering 5,379 lbs in 50i form the X5 is nothing less than a pig when compared to what family haulers weight some 15 years ago.

Yes BMW has to feature extensive technology and safety advances to keep their position in the market and yes those add to the enormous weight to a vehicle like the X5. But with new efficiency standards set to debut in the US and many parts of the world make that figure simply unsustainable.

BMW has an plan. According to sources F40 X5 (set to debut just before the 2015 EPA regulations go into effect) will be based on a new aluminum chassis that will significantly reduce the weight of the SAV.

The F40 (yes a bit a loaded name for car enthusiasts) will debut in late 2013 with evolutionary styling that will likely follow the current BMW brand design trend started with the current 7er and dimensions close to the outgoing E70 model.

BMW ‘s Other Aluminum Plans

So that ‘s BMW ‘s plans for the X5. But the aluminum chassis found in the X5 will be based on a modular design that will underpin everything from the next generation 5, 6, 7 and even the RR Phantom. Interestingly one source (herr26 – long a favorite of ours who posts on BF and elsewhere from the confines of BMW) claims that it will even form the basis of a CS Concept however we can ‘t confirm that at this time.

Beyond the new aluminum structure BMW intends to use it ‘s recent investment in high strength, light weight steel technology to further lighten the final production vehicles. Through these materials, more efficient design and the use of hybrid petrol and diesel engines, the next generation of BMW ‘s large vehicles look to lead the industry in efficiency and gives the cars a edge in weight they haven ‘t ejoyed in years.

The X5 will lead the way with the F40 (2013) followed by the next generation 7, 5 and 6 in that order in the years ahead.

For the X7 it is as they say “Up in the air” They are more interested in more premium “niche” concepts that are missing and needed more rather than an enlarged SAV.

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  • Tommas

    Due in 2015, so the final design is not even finalized. The internal competition is still ongoing. Scott just fed you a bunch of nonsense. Cs concept styling on X5 ha. Laughable.

    Not everything he posts is accurate.

  • Herr26

    The consensus is, That BMW have effectively invested in it’s future having devised the strategy to do so earlier in this decade.

    Efficient Dynamics is one investment that has made BMW the only “Premium” manufacturer to be on target to meet it’s EU emission targets by 2015. BMW have only 8% to achieve by 2015.

    The investment in the UKL/City/MINI segment and the Premium Compact (1er) and Premium entry (3er) segment. These are the segments that will in the future show more growth than any other segment.

    By developing a modular architecture that will be more profitable and cost effective. The recent economic crisis taught that customers were willing to downsize to more smaller cars just as long as they had the luxury features of the larger Premium models. The extensive range of features that will filter down from the luxury segment to the Premium Compact and Premium Entry Segment will enable BMW to price them more competively because of high volume production. Customers will be able to specify their 1er or 3er with the latest BMW technology. To understand the importance of these segments. Of the 20 new BMW models due between now and 2015 – The majority are based on the 1er and 3er matrix.

    The Megacity Vehicle and Vision Efficient Dynamics Concept are well underway with other ideas being discussed such as a micro sports car based on the MCV. And a larger MCV for the Premium Segment. But the two projects MCV and VED are the “Acorn” that will grow “the Great Oak”. Their construction will allow the greater use of carbon fibre to filter down to series cars and other exciting concepts.

    Because the priority stages are well underway and have been taken care of. BMW want to return to previous Premium Concepts and re-visit some of the projects that were put back on the shelf due to the economic crisis. Such as A larger Roadster to replace the Z8 and a CS Concept flagship for the 7er – such a car is found to be needed within larger Premium markets such as China. China has now become BMW’s third largest market , with sales still growing. The 7er Gran Coupe would compliment the 6er Gran Coupe.

    The other BMW brands MINI and Rolls-Royce are not forgotten too. The MINI expansion will bring the Coupe and Roadster , a small MINI city car to put Smart finally out of it’s misery. , The SpaceBox which has now merged into the Clubman, which will be offered in standard R55 configuration and extended wheelbase with an extra door and slight increase in height and length. And a Cross-MINI the name given for the MINI project take on the “Sport Activity Coupe” Concept. which will come in a 5dr and 3dr format – The aim is to offer Evoque style without the Evoque premium.

    Rolls-Royce will now start the Ghost expansion with an Extended WheelBase Model and Hybrid model finally a Coupe and Cabrio model based on the Ghost but will have a more unique appearance. It will also feature a typical RR nameplate – Drophead Coupe is exclusively reserved for the Phantom.

  • JonPD

    Almost sad to say it but the massive push to fill every niche market to me feels like GM not that many years ago. While I expect this to turn out better for BMW. It still leaves me feeling that BMW has steered off course of a clear brand image on its next one for better or worse.

  • Bimmer1

    Great, hopefully insurance companies will catch on and jack up rates for these cars like the early alum. frame e60’s. You can get in just a minor low speed accident that results in a total loss. It happened on a friends 2006 Dinan 550i. He got in a very mild fender bender, looked like it only needed a bumper cover, a headlight, and a fender repair. Turned out the left aluminum frame structure was slightly damaged from impact and the ins. co. totalled the car. I then learned that BMW decided shortly after MY2006 to change the design, mainly due to the ins. co’s demands and inability to have the cars repaired. There are only a handful of places that car properly repair these kind of frames when damaged. They all charge way more than the ins. co. is usually willing to pay to repair it since it’s so specialized and the equipment you need is uber expensive.

  • Tommas

    Thx for approving my comment.

  • Evan

    Until aluminum is very common, it will remain more expensive to fix. I believe an issue with the E60 was also the marriage of the aluminum front to the steel middle.

    Alternative, lighter building materials will be a major part of the improved fuel ecomony and maintained driving dynamics of the future. An aluminum X5 should shed a few hundred pounds easily. It’ll also do wonders for the larger series cars. CFRP will also help in the generations to come after the MCV.

  • Herr26

    “Due in 2015, so the final design is not even finalized. The internal competition is still ongoing. Scott just fed you a bunch of nonsense. Cs concept styling on X5 ha. Laughable.

    Not everything he posts is accurate.”

    To what are you referring to? I did not even mention the CS Concept styling on the X5. X5 is evolutionary but it begins the transition to the “layered” design elements as previewed on the Vision Efficient Dynamics and the forthcoming Megacity Vehicle. In which wheel arches become more three-dimensional without adding lines to over complicate the design in order to make it broader.

    The CS Concept “replacement” has not even begun yet because of the insistance to bring the car with the next 7er platform. My statement was to inform you that BMW are well placed and have substance in order to achieve future market projections in light of efficiency and the important growth sectors that now it is time to go back and look what is missing from the BMW line-up but fullfills typical BMW individuality from it’s competitors.

    True about accuracy but the auto industry is unpredictable I do my best to inform what is happening in the here and now. Progress is never straight forward and there is factors that come into play from conceiving an idea right through to the development of an idea.

    Thommas aka Herr26.

    • We welcome Thommas’/ Herr/ Scott and the info he provides.

      Over the years much of the information has come to fruition.

      We know all to well how plans change, the market shifts and things we knew were going to happen do not. BMW is a corporation and has many layers.

      Some of the info from other sources we have known as “fact” turn out to be changed as well.

      Until items are officially released/launched nothing is final. We have even heard as late as Friday the X1 launch date in the US may be changed.

      We could always sit on info until the official news breaks but then what dialog could we have? Some of the dialog here and at our sister site has helped BMW gauge customer wants and opinions.

      Once again we thank Thommas and all of our other sources of information for their support and insight.

      -M