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BMW's next high-performance X5 project is well underway.

Spies have caught what we've been told is the 2019 BMW X5 M undergoing early street testing in Germany, giving us our first look at what promises to be a heavy-hitter in the high-performance SUV category.

This M model is given away by a couple of telltales. The first clue is a set of hodgepodge, large-diameter wheel setup sporting wide rubber and mounted over beefed-up brake calipers. Swing around to the rear and the large cut-outs surrounding quad-tipped exhausts are further giveaways.

Based on the new X5, the X5 M will get its sibling's upgraded interior to go with what is likely to be a 600-horsepower, twin-turbocharged V8--more power than just about anybody needs in a family SUV. It's also expected to be lighter or, at the very least, to not gain any weight over the outgoing model.

Customers can expect the X5 M to come only with a rear-biased all-wheel-drive system, which is about all we can expect from a SUV boasting a level of horsepower which was until only recently reserved almost exclusively for supercars.

Photos by Brian Williams.