We've spied the upcoming LCI facelift updated 5 Series again, and the sighting comes on the first Plug-in Hybrid 5 Series we've spotted. The LCI update will facelift the entire 5 Series lineup, including the F10 sedan, F11 touring, F07 GT, and the F10 M5, although the styling updates do not look to be too drastic.
Also see: Previous F10 5 Series LCI Spy Photos
The F10 LCI prototypes spotted thus far have shown slightly sportier side mirrors, with integrated turn signals (still camouflaged on previous prototypes seen). Some LCI prototypes have been spotted with a new optional LED headlights option with squared off angel eyes/corona rings. The standard xenon lights (as spotted on this prototype) will retain circular angel eyes. The tail light graphics will receive a new look.
The front and rear bumpers will also receive styling updates. We can already make out one of the biggest styling changes in the front fascia - a new character line appears between the upper part of the kidney grilles and the area right above the headlights, which should give the headlight/grille area a more aggressive look. The M Sport package aero parts should also receive a slight refresh, as well as the F10's optional M Performance accessories parts.
The updated F10 5 Series will cure one of the F10's main complaints - poor steering. The F10's steering is being re-engineered to be more communicative. The changes will also apply to the touring and GT models.
The 535i models may receive the inline turbo 6 cylinder engine which will replace the current N55 and is expected to debut in the F32 4 Series Coupe. Expect the 550i models to be powered by the uprated V8 N63Tu (the update to the N63 engine) which recently appeared in the F07 550i GT and is good for +45hp / +30 lb-ft torque over the N63 engine.
This sighting represents our first look at a plug-in hybrid 5 Series prototype. Back in 2011, BMW unveiled
a F10 plug-in hybrid prototype at the Shanghai Auto Show. It was slated for production in 2013 and only for the Chinese market. Whether it's offered for the rest of the world at some point remains to be seen.
Plug-in hybrids work in a similar way to the standard hybrid vehicle. They are also fitted with an internal combustion engine and one or more electric motors. But, unlike standard hybrid cars, plug-in hybrids derive most of their power from the electric motor, which acts as primary, while the internal combustion engine acts as back-up. The plug-in hybrid requires a power outlet to get the battery charged to full capacity. Still, as the battery gets low on power, the internal combustion engine kicks in and takes over, at the same time recharging the battery. When the battery is depleted, the plug-in hybrid starts acting as a regular hybrid, with the combustion engine taking the role of primary power source.
We have information which shows production for the F10 LCI as beginning in July 2013, with deliveries starting in August/September of 2013.
The F10 M5 should see the same lighting updates (headlights, tail lights, and perhaps integrated turn signal in its mirror), and potentially the new character line between the grilles and headlights as well, but we expect it to retain its current front and rear bumper designs. Overall, the F10 M5 should receive minimal exterior updates. Whether the M5 gets the updates at the same time as the 5 Series, we do not yet know.