Seventh-generation BMW 5-series spotted testing for the first time

The all-new BMW 5-series has been spied testing for the first ever time, ahead of its possible 2016 UK release.

It seems initial road-going test mules have been given go the ahead to start hitting public highways and start preliminary development runs. This seventh-generation 5-series is to be all-new and therefore comprehensively redesigned for its 44th year of production.

The new 5-series’ platform will be reimagined and bring a wider choice of petrol, diesel and hybrid powerplants, as well as an electric-only 48-volt unit.

Images taken of the prototypes give few clues to the shape of the new car, but BMW bosses have been commenting on a sleeker appearance to that of its current incarnation, looks that have been influenced by the Gran Lusso Coupe concept that was shown in Italy this April. Unconfirmed reports say the saloon will boast a Cd of 0.24, a 0.01 improvement on toady’s 520i.

Future X5, X6 and possible X7 SUVs will take advantage of the new 5-series’ platform, which will be designed to support a range of wheelbases and different track widths, offering an increased flexibility.

BMW’s new 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol and diesel engines are also rumoured to feature in the new 5-series in order to help drop the company’s overall emissions below 95g/km of CO2 – the figure proposed by the EU for 2020.

“We have the opportunity to provide future iterations of the 5-series with a three-cylinder engine,” an insider Autocar. “As an engineering exercise, it would be an exciting prospect in combination with our Efficient Dynamics technology — especially the diesel. But we would have to ensure there is sufficient customer acceptance before making any definitive decisions in this direction.”

We’re still to see the current 5-series evolve for nearly the next three years (we’re expecting the new one at the backend of 2016), with the second-hand market already quite strong with present models from the likes of SW Car Sales.

The recent and existing M5 took the world by storm, and a lighter 5-series as a base car in the future in addition to this could raise the bar once again in the world of fast saloons. However, Mercedes and Audi will no doubt follow suit and we’ll once again have three superb examples that will split opinions to no end.