FIRST DRIVE

The BMW X5 has more power, more ef­fi­ciency, writes Neil McDon­ald.

The Advertiser - Motoring - - Front Page -

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.

RAT­ING 87/100

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