BMW X5

Larger, bet­ter and more tech-laden than be­fore

Auto Today - - Dashboard - Yo­gen­dra Pratap Ed­i­tor yo­gen­[email protected]­to­day.com @Yo­genPratap

The X5 was the ve­hi­cle that kicked off this pre­mium SUV seg­ment of cars with the off-road ca­pa­bil­i­ties, looks and ad­van­tages of SUVs, but driv­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics of road go­ing cars nearly two decades back, but since then all the other pre­mium car man­u­fac­tur­ers seem to have ad­vanced the con­cept much more than BMW and the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion X5 was launched at the be­gin­ning of a pe­riod that would see big and rapid ad­vance­ments in as­sis­tance sys­tems, elec­tron­ics and au­ton­o­mous driv­ing fea­tures as well as in­te­ri­ors and in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem con­cepts and the X5 was fast get­ting left be­hind. So

BMW took the un­prece­dented step of de­vel­op­ing and in­tro­duc­ing the next gen­er­a­tion X5 in just five years. And this time it seems BMW has wres­tled back its lead­er­ship sta­tus in this seg­ment.

The new X5 is wider, longer and big­ger in all re­spects but it’s not done just by a lit­tle stretch in all direc­tions but by shift­ing the un­der­pin­nings to BMW’s new clus­ter ar­chi­tec­ture (CLAR) plat­form. This paves the way for all the new sys­tems to make their way in as well as af­ford­ing flex­i­bil­ity and the shar­ing of parts across ve­hi­cles from across the CLAR plat­form. Like be­fore the X5 will come with an op­tion of two ad­di­tional seats mak­ing it avail­able as a 7-seater as well.

The in­crease in size of the X5 is masked by the new de­sign that keeps the X5 much in line with the lat­est gen X-cars from BMW – the X1 and the X3. Although the pro­file and the front is sim­i­lar to the rest of the X-cars and also to the old X5, there are some im­por­tant dif­fer­ences though. The large kid­ney grille up-front is now huge and has flaps just like on the 7-se­ries that can shut when cool­ing is not re­quired or when the SUV is in wa­ter. The X5 gets Laserlights with adap­tive LED head­lights that have a sig­na­ture blue el­e­ment in them and are laid out in the form of an X. This new de­sign also bids adieu to the sig­na­ture corona ring DRLs. Wheel-size is also up now to 22in and such is the size of the car that even 22in wheels do not look big on the SUV.

While the X5 is avail­able with tur­bocharged 6-cyl-

in­der diesel and petrol en­gines as well a tur­bocharged V8 ex­clu­sively for the US mar­ket, we are ex­pect­ing the 6-cylin­der diesel to be launched in In­dia with the 30d badg­ing. The same 6-cylin­der diesel en­gine will also be avail­able with a 50d badg­ing with 4 tur­bocharg­ers and an out­put of 400bhp. How­ever we drove the 30d with the same straight-six en­gine with BMW’s twin­power turbo tech­nol­ogy pro­duc­ing 265bhp of max power and 620Nm of peak torque. This en­gine is mated to the 8-speed au­to­matic gear­box that BMW has been us­ing for some­time now on both the pre­vi­ous X5 and other mod­els as well and com­bined with an AWD sys­tem, man­ages to put the oo­dles of torque to good use, ac­cel­er­at­ing to 100kmph from stand­still in six and a half sec­onds and to a top speed of 230kmph.

While me­chan­i­cally there may not be a lot of changes on the X5 in terms of the hard-

EN­GINE MAN­AGES TO PUT THE OO­DLES OF TORQUE TO GOOD USE

ware used there is a whole lot of changes in­side the car. Af­ter a long time the in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem as well as the dis­play for in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem is dif­fer­ent. It’s now a 12.3-inch screen and ac­tu­ally there are two of the same screens – the first one is the touch-screen on the cen­tre con­sole and the other one is the in­stru­ment panel dis­play which is now to­tally dig­i­tal, fully con­fig­urable and a big change from ear­lier BMW in­stru­ment dis­plays.

Steer­ing wheel con­trols are all new as well with its more fea­tures and sys­tems to con­trol as well. Gone also is the ro­tary knob for the lights and in­stead there are switches now to se­lect dif­fer­ent set­ting for the head­lights. Gear shift lever is now look­ing cool, with BMW hav­ing taken an idea from the Volvo plug-in hy­brids and in­cor­po­rat­ing pure crys­tal not only into the gear knob but also into the iDrive con­troller. Rear seats come with fac­tory fit­ter base for coat hang­ers or dis­plays and the cabin feels to­tally dif­fer­ent.

While there is a huge change in all the ma- jor things in­side the cabin there are also a lot of de­light­ful lit­tle ad­di­tions on the in­side. What I par­tic­u­larly liked is that the cover of the lug­gage com­part­ment is now elec­tri­cally op­er­ated. Not only does the cur­tain roll it­self but also goes

NVH IS RE­MARK­ABLE AND EVEN FOR THE DIESEL EN­GINE, THE CAR IS QUIET AND BARELY SHAKES AS THE EN­GINE COMES TO LIFE

all the way un­der the floor of the boot and stows it­self in case it is not re­quired. The lug­gage com­part­ment it­self has metal rid­ers for slid­ing bags and suit­cases in but once the ve­hi­cle starts and is in mo­tion, a rub­ber strip comes up above the metal so that the suit­cases or what­ever else there is does not slide around. And not only can one reach and lower or raise the third row of seats from the back but one can also elec­tri­cally op­er­ate the 2nd row of seats from the back.

The proof of a pud­ding is in eat­ing it and that for a car is in driv­ing it and the dif­fer­ences that one can see and feel trans­late into driv­ing as well. The NVH is re­mark­able and even for the diesel en­gine, the car is quiet and barely shakes as the en­gine comes to life and pow­ers the car into mo­tion. What is re­mark­able is that de­spite all the ad­di­tions to make the X5 more

sporty, the car has a very nice ride qual­ity in com­fort mode and de­spite the large low pro­file tyres that look good on it, the car should ride well even on In­dian roads. This of course is the con­tri­bu­tion of not only air-sus­pen­sion all around but also the way it is set-up and tuned. The steer­ing is adap­tive and it seems that BMW has mas­tered the art of us­ing electrics on steer­ing columns while han­dling is also su­perb, given that there are a num­ber of sys­tems that not only keep the car sta­ble but also aid in mak­ing it feel like a sports car.

Not only is the X5 good on the road but is bet­ter off it as well. Now it gets a se­lec­tion of off-road driv­ing modes as stan­dard with the Off-road pack­age and in ad­di­tion has a num­ber of smart fea­tures that will help it go off-road. First there is a sys­tem that judges if the car has been beached or has touched down by rec­og­niz­ing that sev­eral wheels are los­ing trac­tion and if it does then au­to­mat­i­cally gives it a fur­ther 30mm of lift in ad­di­tion to the 40mm that would have been selected with the off-road mode.

VER­DICT

This is a gi­ant leap for­ward for BMW com­ing af­ter a lot of evo­lu­tion­ary and in­cre­men­tal changes. Even though the styling of the 4th gen X5 is evo­lu­tion­ary, ev­ery­thing else about the SUV is not.

The SUV get more hi-tech at the same time more prac­ti­cal and has even more as­sis­tance sys­tems and safety sys­tems than any of the cars launched in the past. Like be­fore, the car will be as­sem­bled in In­dia and there­fore should have a com­pet­i­tive price tag de­spite the ad­di­tion of a lot of hard­ware and soft­ware. If it were launched to­day it would by far be the most ad­vanced SUV in the coun­try but even when it is launched around the mid­dle of next year it will be the one stand-out pro­duc­tion ve­hi­cle in In­dia.

STEER­ING IS ADAP­TIVE AND IT SEEMS THAT

BMW HAS MAS­TERED THE ART OF US­ING

ELECTRICS ON STEER­ING COLUMNS

WHILE HAN­DLING IS ALSO SU­PERB

The dash­board of the new X5 gets a twin-screen setup called BMW Live Cock­pit Pro­fes­sional as stan­dard.It fea­tures two 12.3-inch dis­plays for the in­stru­ment panel and the cen­tre con­sole

Glass fin­ish bits like the gear se­lec­tor, the con­troller, start/stop but­ton and au­dio sys­tem con­trol knob used in the BMW X5 are op­tional

The 12.3-inch dis­play that acts as the in­stru­ment panel is fully cus­tomis­able and can be con­fig­ured to dis­play nav­i­ga­tion in­struc­tions, G-force me­tre, me­dia de­tails. It also changes theme de­pend­ing on the drive mode selected

The off-road pack­age lets the driver choose from four pre­set off-road modes that al­ter the ve­hi­cle’s ride height, ac­cel­er­a­tor re­sponse, trans­mis­sion con­trol and the DSC sys­tem’s cor­rec­tive in­puts to pre­pare it for var­i­ous ter­rains

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