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BMW X5: Bold, dashing and dynamic

BMW’s big-selling international SUV is back with more power and equipment. Does it live up to its predecessor’s terrific legacy?

BMW credit themselves with creating the concept of Sport Activity Vehicle in the form of the X5. SAV, in essence is a big, comfortable, well-equipped SUV, which doesn’t compromise on handling or fun to drive factor.

The previous generation version of the burly machine baffled users and automotive media alike with its impeccable handling, which bordered on to defying the laws of physics.

The big comfortable seats are adjustable and split foldable in a 40:20:40 ratio. Panoramic sunroof is standard. Rear entertainment system is optional. Pics/Amit Chhangani
The big comfortable seats are adjustable and split foldable in a 40:20:40 ratio. Panoramic sunroof is standard. Rear entertainment system is optional. Pics/Amit Chhangani

Thanks to its unique blend of massive presence and razor sharp handling, the X5 nameplate is a huge success worldwide, and has sold more than 1.3 million units in its first two avatars. In its third generation, the X5 adds a new chapter in the brand’s successful history.

You can choose from Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ modes to make the car suit your driving style
You can choose from Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ modes to make the car suit your driving style

Design and appearance
The proportions of the new X5 are summed up by a short front overhang, upright A-pillars and a long wheelbase. The face of the new X5 is dominated by a massive BMW kidney grille, extending all the way to the headlamps, and flanked at the lower end by fog lamps.

Instrument cluster is classic BMW with simple, yet informative functions and layout. Check out the blue coloured gauge with blue marking, it indicates brake energy recuperation
Instrument cluster is classic BMW with simple, yet informative functions and layout. Check out the blue coloured gauge with blue marking, it indicates brake energy recuperation

The bumper’s contour lines are meant to represent the letter X to mark it out as a member of the BMW X model family. BMW corona rings in the headlamps, a hallmark of BMW design are flat bottomed and feature an LED accent light on their top edge.

One of the coolest tricks the X5 has up its sleeve is its xDrive status display, which shows you which wheel is getting how much power. Check out the electronic compass in the right pane
One of the coolest tricks the X5 has up its sleeve is its xDrive status display, which shows you which wheel is getting how much power. Check out the electronic compass in the right pane

The front bumper also features side air intakes, helping lend a wide, planted stance to the X5. Drag-reducing air curtains have made their debut on a BMW X model with the X5. The air curtain tech uses clever aerodynamics with the help of apertures and air breathers to reduce the wind turbulence at the front wheel arches, and thus reduces drag to enhance efficiency.

In profile, a tight beltline, and another parallel accent line through the lower portion of doors underlines the taut, athletic character of the X5. The greenhouse area is entirely chrome lined to give a premium touch to profile.

Straight horizontal lines, horizontally aligned tail-lamps twin exhaust pipes on the rear bumper’s flanks and a visible horizontal shut line of the split tail gate make the X5 look wide and planted.

The thin, three-dimensional L-shaped LED rear lights create a unique night-time look. The new X5 is also the first BMW model to feature Aero Blades, attached with roof spoiler to optimise the car’s aerodynamic properties.

In all honesty, the new X5 isn’t the most dashing looking SUV around. A lot of thought has gone into its surfacing though, evident by the clever Air Curtain up front and the Aero Blades at the rear. The quality, finish, and attention to detail is impeccable though.

Engine and transmission
For India, the BMW X5 is available only in the xDrive30d variant. The diesel burning version is powered by BMW’s acclaimed TwinPower Turbo six-cylinder in-line diesel engine.

The 3.0-litre turbocharged engine with a variable geometry turbine delivers a power output of 258 bhp at 4,000 rpm and an impressive torque of 560 Nm between 1,500-3,000 rpm. BMW claims that the power on tap is enough to launch the new X5 from naught to 100 km/h in a matter of 6.9 seconds. Top speed too is impressive at 230 km/h.

The engine is mated with an eight-speed Sport automatic transmission. The transmission is meant to perform smooth, imperceptible gear shifts and can be controlled manually via steering mounted paddles or the central drive selector.

Driver can choose from Comfort, Sport Sport+ and Eco Pro modes, which can be selected at the press of a button. Eco Pro mode favours a low rpm, efficient driving style, and quick gearshifts along with engine start/stop function to maximize fuel efficiency.

Other modes mentioned above allow the driver to customize accelerator response, transmission shift point, power steering characteristics and the level of intrusion allowed for the electronic safety net. BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system that monitors driving conditions constantly and juggles drive power smoothly between the axles comes as standard with the X5.

In addition, advanced features such as Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) including Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), Cornering Brake Control (CBC) and Hill Descent Control (HDC) further enhance the X5’s impeccable dynamic ability.

Cabin and features
The interior of the new BMW X5 is expansive, with well selected premium materials and excellent craftsmanship. The cockpit is oriented towards the driver, with all the controls falling easily within reach. Both driver and front passenger seats feature lumbar support and a memory function.

Second row of seats has generous space, and is adjustable in numerous ways. The upholstery for the seats can also be customised based on the tastes and preferences of the customer. The third row includes two individual fold-down seats facing the direction of travel. To facilitate entry, the second row of seats can be folded down using the Easy Entry Function.

Another useful feature of the new X5 is its two-part tailgate to provide easy access to smaller luggage items. The lower section of the tailgate flats fold to create a platform which can take up to 250 kg of weight. Second row seats are foldable with a 40:20:40 split ratio.

The most mentionable interior features of the X5 include auto A/C with 4 zone control, gear shift paddles, interior mirror with auto anti-dazzle function, ambient lighting designs in three colour LEDs, panoramic glass sunroof, electric front seats with memory function for driver and lumbar support among others.

Other important features include adaptive LED headlights, an aerodynamic package including air breathers, air curtains and aero blades, automatic tailgate operation, cruise control with braking, headlight washer, rain sensors and automatic driving headlights.

Summing it up
The previous gen X5 was astonishing as a razor sharp, fun-to drive machine. The new gen X5 takes a cue from the small X3 as regards design, focuses more on creature comforts and may have lost some of its unrelenting edge as a driving tool with the new, more convenient EPS replacing the old and heavy hydraulic steering unit.

There is no questioning the overall superiority of the X5 as a driver’s machine in its segment though. At Rs 70.90 lakh, the X5 is still probably the best option you have if a premium mid-size SUV with uncompromising dynamic ability is what you’re looking for.

Price

BMW X5
Rs 70.90 lakh (ex-showroom price)

Bells and whistles
>> Harman Kardon surround system with 600W and 16 loudspeakers
>> Park distance control front and rear
>> Rear view camera
>> xDrive status with compass 
>> iDrive touch, with handwriting recognition and integrated hard drive
>> Panoramic sunroof

Technical specs
Engine - 2993cc turbo diesel, six cylinders, four valves per cyclinder
Power - 258 bhp @ 4,000 rpm
Torque - 560 Nm @ 1,500-3000 rpm
Acceleration - 0-100 km/h: 6.9 sec
Top speed - 230 km/h

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