Spy photographers have taken pictures of a BMW which looks like it could be a 5-series prototype with production bodywork or perhaps a 3-series or even something else. The styling of the car is not unique and therefore this makes it hard to spot initially exactly what it is. However, there are a few other cars around which help to confirm that it is in fact the 5-series. This is an opportunity for BMW to be able to put its mid-size sedan towards the sport end of the market. There are many competitors now trying to work on this part of the market, an area where previously the 5-series could not be touched but is now starting to see some competition. There was a recent test between the 535i and the Audi A6, Mercedes-Benz E350 and Cadillac CTS and it came last. It seems that they have been trying for higher sale volumes and it seems that this has meant that the car does not compete as well. The car seems big and floaty somehow but with a sports suspension. It is therefore important for them to be able to work hard to get back the soul of the car while competing with those others in the market. They seem to be making a good start with this though. They will be using a lighter weight platform which will use composites and aluminium and possibly even carbon fibre in order to shed a lot of pounds. This will obviously help fuel economy which many drivers are very conscious of. There are also emissions and efficiency regulations of course, which they also need to fit in with. However, drivers are not always that worried about this, but the fact that the lower weight will improve handling will certainly be a positive for them. There will also be a new rear drive platform that will be flexible and will be the one used in the future for all models from the 2-series to the 7-series. The car doesn’t really look massively different to the current model though. However, the styling was admired by many and so by keeping it the same, they will be pleasing a lot of people. However, there is some disguise in the pictures over the head lights and rear lights and so some of the details are not obvious yet. The kidney grilles look a bit wider and the decklid looks deeper in the scallops. The shape looks a bit sharper and more squared off like the latest 3-series. There are not pictures of under the hood and so it is all down to guesswork as to what is inside. However, it would be safe to guess that it will have the turbocharged 3.0 litre inline six. It is expected though that the 550i model’s twin turbocharged V8 will not be included as BMW now state all their engines displace 500cc per cylinder. However, this leaves room for a new V8. It is expected though that there will still be a 2.0 litre four cylinder as in the 528i as well as a diesel six like in the 535d but they could have a bigger output. There will be eight speed automatic transmission on all and there could be a six speed manual option as well. There will be a plug-in hybrid variant as well as BMW announced that they would build these on all of its major models. This is a replacement for the ActiveHybrid 5 which isn’t plug-in and not very efficient as it is costly as well as complex. It is expected that they will use the X5’s setup for the plug in hybrid for this model which has a 240hp 2.0 four cylinder engine as well as a 95-hp electric motor. It is expected that the car will be seen for sale in Europe next year but it could be as late as 2016. It is thought that the price will be just a bit higher than that of the 2015 5-series which has a starting price of $50,900. This will allow the 3-series a bit of breathing room as it is more expensive and will be accounted for by the new lightweight materials in the 5-series model.