BMW’s new improved X5
EXPONENTIALLY better is the catchcry for BMW’s new X5. It’s a better drive, has much better kit and is seriously better value.
The volume-selling version, the xDrive 30d holds steady on price at $112,990 before on-road costs and adds the likes of adaptive LED headlamps, advanced parking and driving aids, sports front seats and gesture control as standard.
The quad-turbo M50d climbs by $5000 to $149,900 and adds laser headlamps, gesture control, more software aids, adaptive dampers and active cruise control with traffic sign recognition, which BMW says adds more than $11,000 to the value.
The X5 has been the best-selling large prestige SUV in Australia for more than a decade, with 55,000 examples finding homes since the 2001 launch. It has also overtaken the 3 Series as the brand’s single most important model, which makes the launch of this fourth-generation a big deal — and a bigger proposition, literally.
Length on this new X5 is up by 36mm, width by 66mm and it rides 19mm higher. Most of that space has improved rear seat comfort — there’s reasonable leg room and the standard panoramic sunroof doesn’t impinge on headroom.
The cargo area is unchanged at 650L and all X5 variants will still tow up to 2700kg.
There is no shortage of options to personalise your X5. The 30d comes standard with an x-Line style pack but history shows more than 80 per cent of buyers will invest in the M Sport look, which upgrades the standard dampers to adaptive items, adding beefier brakes, revised steering wheel and alloy pedals for $4000.
ON THE ROAD
BMW’s insistence on calling its soft-roaders “sports activity vehicles” is reflected in the firm ride on the 30d M Sport’s steel springs and adaptive dampers. Don’t expect to be sipping tea in the rear seats when mobile, even with the drive mode in comfort.
The ride isn’t intrusive but will ripple rather than roll over small imperfections on the road.
In contrast, the M50d amps up the stiffness to the point it jolts over those same bumps, though it compensates by being all-but immune to body pitch and roll. It will tire as a daily driver, making the air suspension a logical choice.
In both, the engine is the most enjoyable feature, exhibiting only a touch of lag before the tacho climbs towards peak torque at 2000rpm.
Steering response has been sharpened and the eight-speed auto invariably finds the right gear at the right time. The combination makes the X5 an entertaining car to drive on twisting tarmac.
The clarity of the digital dash and head-up display is good and the overall drive experience is hugely competent, if not cosseting.
DEALER: Geelong BMW PHONE: 5221 2111 WEB: geelongbmw.com.au