The BMW X5 has more power, more efficiency, writes Neil McDonald.
BMW’S NEW X5
WHEN the firstgeneration BMW X5 arrived in the late 1990s, it was among the first of a new breed of svelte Euro expresses.
It also coined the term SAV – sports activity vehicle – which meant it was fast, civilised and capable of tackling most road conditions.
Even though it was a hulking fourwheel drive, the Munich-based carmaker saw fit to distance the highriding wagon away from more rudimentary off-roaders.
Today BMW’s off-roader family has also grown to include the X6, X3 and the just-introduced X1.
The X5’s rivals have also expanded, with the Audi Q7, Mercedes-Benz M-Class as well as the Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg.
BMW Australia spokesman Piers Scott says the latest mid-life update for the X5 showcases more powerful engines, new driver-assistance systems and a modest visual makeover.
‘‘It’s all about efficiencies,’’ he says. ‘‘There are important gains in fuel economy without sacrificing performance.’’ Mr Scott says some of the X5 models return combined fuel economy figures similar to smaller four-cylinder Japanese hatches.
Three new models, the xDrive35i, xDrive40d and range-topping xDrive50i V8 replace the xDrive30i, xDrive35d and xDrive48i. At $92,100, the turbo-diesel xDrive30d is the new entry model and expected volume player. It is priced at about $5300 higher than the previous starter, the xDrive30i petrol.
Despite the substantial power increases, fuel economy has improved thanks in part to the adoption of an eight-speed automatic across the range.
The xDrive30d in-line six-cylinder turbo-diesel gains an extra 7kW, developing 180kW while maximum torque is up 20Nm to 540Nm over the old model. The 30d returns 7.4 litres/ 100km, an improvement of 1.3 litres/ 100km over the previous model while CO emissions have dropped 36g/km from 231g/km to 195g/km.
The all-new xDrive40d Sport turbo diesel develops 225kW and 600Nm, 15kW and 20Nm more than its predecessor. It takes just 6.6 seconds to hit 100km/h.
The xDrive35i is powered by a new 225kW/400Nm turbo six-cylinder engine that propels the big wagon to 100km/h in 6.8 seconds.
Even with this increased output, the engine consumes just 10.1 l/100 km, compared with 11.7 litres for the previous xDrive30i.
The range-topper is the xDrive50i Sport, which gets a new twin-turbo 300kW V8, propelling the car to 100km/h in 5.5 seconds, one second quicker than the old V8.
The new engine develops 39kW more power and 600Nm, up from 475Nm. Apart from the eight-speed auto, all models get speed-dependent Servotronic power steering.
As almost 80 per cent of all xDrive35d customers opt for either the Sports or M Sport packages, the xDrive40d Sport and xDrive 50i both include the Sports package as standard. This includes sport leather steering wheel, anthracite roofliner, titaniumcoloured air inlet grille and the choice of two new different alloy wheels, 19-inch on the xDrive40d Sport and 20-inch on the xDrive50i Sport.
The xDrive50i Sport also features a self-levelling rear suspension, while the xDrive40d Sport is available with sports suspension as a no-cost option.