BMW’s third-gen X5 could get axed after just four years on the market

The fourth-generation BMW X5 will arrive much sooner than expected, a new report finds.

The X5 that’s currently sitting in showrooms (pictured) was introduced less than three years ago, so it’s not old by any means of measurement, but BMW is already preparing a replacement. The fourth-gen model will ride on the modular Cluster Architecture (CLAR) platform that’s also found under the new 7 Series. Switching to the CLAR platform will make the next X5 lighter and more efficient than the current model, which shares many components with the second-generation X5 it replaced. The shift will also allow BMW to streamline its production process by trimming down the number of platforms it needs to build.

Mechanically, the next X5 will carry on with six- and eight-cylinder engines, and BMW has previously made it clear that it remains committed to selling diesel-powered models in the United States in spite of the Dieselgate scandal. A plug-in hybrid capable of driving on electricity alone for short distances will be offered, and an M-tuned variant designed to hit the track will sit at the very top of the X5 hierarchy. All but the entry-level X5 will be offered with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system.

The next X5 will continue to offer an optional third-row seat, but buyers looking for a more spacious BMW SUV will need to patiently wait until the X7 makes its official debut. Also based on the CLAR platform, the X7 is a flagship model that’s being designed to take on the Mercedes-Benz GLS, the Audi Q7, and the Volvo XC90.

Related: BMW’s answer to the stylish Mercedes-Benz CLA could arrive in 2018

The X7 isn’t expected to begin rolling out of BMW’s Spartanburg, South Carolina, factory until 2018. Marc Werner, BMW of Australia’s managing director, told website Motoring that the next X5 will arrive before the X7, which seems to indicate that it will go on sale next year.

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