Evolution is a great process for refining most things we see in life; from science to technology and industrial design just to name a few. Examples of this in the automotive industry can be seen in the internal combustion engine, aerodynamics and styling; speaking of which, one company does this better than most - Porsche.
Its iconic 911 symbolizes the pinnacle of design evolution (although some say it's because they can't be bothered) from its humble beginnings as a squashed and streamlined VW Beetle to the current 911 Carrera; making it arguably one if the most recognizable pieces of automotive sculpture around the globe.
Porsche isn't the only brand taking this approach; evolutionary examples can be seen in the VW Golf, Range Rover, Mazda Miata and various BMW's. The Hofmeister kink and twin-kidney grill are the most recognizable aspects of BMW's design DNA, but things are also getting familiar with surface styling too.
Case in point; the upcoming 2014 BMW X5 (codenamed F15). Based on the recent spy-shots published here at CarScoop, I've illustrated how the next generation of Bavarian SUV will evolve an familiar look.
When starting this illustration I found myself scratching my head. If you're asking why, well, because having a passion for automotive design there are tendencies to compare old with new; and in the case of the X5, I was initially struggling to see the differences. For a start, the cabin area looks to be a slight massage of the current generation - and unfortunately, still looking awkward with those small rear quarter windows and stumpy proportions.
That surface language almost looks the same too, but it isn't. The complex body curves and shapes are now more fluid, sweeping and rounded in their appearance; more in-line with BMW's other recent offerings.
The common upper body crease seen on most modern vehicles now has a slight curve at its frontal starting point, whilst the remaining side pressings look fairly unremarkable. The frontal view is once again graced with round twin fog-lamps that have been an X5 signature since its 1999 debut. Headlights and that famous twin-kidney grill have subtlety changed, with the headlights now intersecting the grill as with the latest 3-series. Looking below these is an interesting plethora of intake scoops; there will potentially be integrated daylight running lamps, however, the impressive camouflage on the prototype cars has hidden some details rather effectively.
Under the hood, the Munich based carmaker is expected to fit an array of engines; from inline-sixes and V8's to new 2.0-liter diesel units. Cradling these engines will be lighter body materials in effort to get the weight down, whilst other chassis enhancements should make this the ultimate driving machine on-road; but moving off the beaten track it remains to be seen if will keep up with the likes of the Range Rover Sport.
As a whole, the next generation package will no doubt be a great drive, but the styling will always remain subjective. The conservative faithful will take to it, but for those wishing for something a bit more radical may have to look elsewhere. Can you spot the differences? Let us know in the comments below.
By Josh Byrnes
Renderings Copyright: CarScoop / Josh Byrnes
Editor's Note: Josh completed his rendering of the 2014 BMW X5 on January 5, but due to our coverage of the Detroit Auto Show (before and during the press days) and the constant flow of news stories, we kept pushing back the publishing date.
On January 14, the first day of the event, many of you tipped us off about these two images, allegedly showing the new X5 from the online brochure of an unnamed toymaker. We still can't say for sure if they're real, but you can take a look and compare them with Josh's rendering right after the jump. – John Halas