A 200-kilo­me­tre-long drive in the all-new, fourth-gen­er­a­tion BMW X5 in At­lanta, USA, ably high­lighted all the as­pects in which this SUV marks a vast im­prove­ment on its pre­de­ces­sor

Car India - - CONTENTS - Story: Aspi Bha­thena Pho­tog­ra­phy: BMW

The all-new X5 is a huge step for­ward

The pop­u­lar­ity of sport util­ity ve­hi­cles (SUV) is on the rise world­wide and the de­mand for SUVs keeps go­ing up as com­pared to that for the sedans. On the per­sonal front, I was not an SUV fan, for they tend to be big and cum­ber­some to drive with a lot of body-roll. How­ever, af­ter driv­ing SUVs like the BMW X5, es­pe­cially on In­dian roads, now I swear by them for long-dis­tance driv­ing in In­dia.

We were in At­lanta, USA , to drive the all-new, fourth-gen­er­a­tion BMW X5. As we en­tered through the ho­tel gate, the black X5 on dis­play in the mid­dle of the court­yard looked im­pos­ing.

The SUV has grown on all the fronts with an in­crease of 42 mil­lime­tres over the pre­de­ces­sor and 36 mm in over­all length of the car. The X5 has ex­tra 66 mm of width and an­other 19 mm have been added to the height of this SUV.

The most strik­ing fea­ture at the front is the large BMW kid­ney grille that merges into the LED head­lamps. The front bumper has big air vents for cool­ing the in­ter­cool­ers and the brakes. This wide grille with the big air in­takes gives the X5 a sporty and ag­gres­sive look.

The char­ac­ter line on the SUV’s flanks, which rises up at the rear door, is the key to the mod­ern look of the new X5 with its large wheel-arches that house the big 21- and 22-inch wheels. The slits be­hind the front wheel-arch helps with air flow, in let­ting the hot air out fr om the wheel well. The SUV is so well-pro­por­tioned that though the dis­play car was fit­ted with 22-inch wheels, it looked more like one with 19-inch ones.

The char­ac­ter line con­tin­ues from the side of the car into the wrap-around LED tail-lamps that ex­tend into the flanks. The rear de­sign is in line with the rest of the car’s sporty look. The new X5 looks big­ger, sportier, and lux­u­ri­ous at the same time.

In­side, the new X5 has grown in size with the clear struc­ture of the in­stru­ment panel and the cen­tre con­sole. The raised driv­ing po­si­tion and de­sign of the in­stru­ment con­sole help with ease of driv­ing as one does not have to take one’s eyes off the road. The com­mand­ing driv­ing po­si­tion fa­cil­i­tates good all-round vis­i­bil­ity for the driver. Be­sides the crys­tal gear-shift knob, the other fea­tures de­signed to en­hance lux­ury in­clude mul­ti­func­tion leather seats, cooled/heated cuphold­ers, panorama glass roof sky lounge, dy­namic in­te­rior lights, and Bower & Wilkins di­a­mond sur­round sound sys­tem. The new BMW op­er­at­ing sys­tem 7.0 dis­play and con­trol con­cept makes its début in the X5 and it fo­cuses on op­ti­miz­ing at­ten­tion con­trol. The BMW Live Cock­pit Pro­fes­sional sys­tem com­prises an in­stru­ment clus­ter and con­trol dis­play (both 12.3-inch). The in­te­rior is well-ap­pointed as one would ex­pect of BMW.

On the oc­cu­pant safety front, this SUV is equipped with air bags on the front side and the roof for the driver and pas­sen­gers.

The new X5 will have an op­tion of one V8 and three in-line six en­gines. Those that will make their way to In­dia are the six-cylin­der petrol and diesel units in the

form of xDrive 40i petrol, xDrive 30d, and M50d diesel. The 40i pro­duces 340 PS and 450 Nm. The M50d is fit­ted with a quar­tet of tur­bocharg­ers and pro­duces 400 PS and 760 Nm while the 30d puts out 265 PS and 620 Nm.

The en­gine is mated to an eight-speed step­tronic trans­mis­sion and the power is put down on the road via xDrive, the BMW all-wheel-drive sys­tem. To max­i­mize trac­tion, agility and dir ec­tion sta­bil­ity are taken care of by the all-wheel-drive sys­tem. The lat­est gen­er­a­tion of the BMW xdriv e is now able to split drive torque be­tween the front and rear wheels more ef­fi­ciently as the sit­u­a­tion de­mands. The new xDrive sys­tem of­fers a rear-bi­ased torque dis­tri­bu­tion for a driver with a dy­namic driv­ing style.

The sus­pen­sion set-up is dou­ble-wish­bone air sus­pen­sion with aut omatic self-lev­el­ling at the front and the r ear has a five-link air sus­pen­sion with self-lev elling. The multi-link air sus­pen­sion comes with a host of t ech­nolo­gies such as dy­namic damper contr ol with ac­tive roll sta­bi­liza­tion and in­te­gral ac­tive steer­ing to en­hance ag­ile and dy­namic driv­ing char­act eris­tics. The two-axle air sus­pen­sion caters to any­one seek­ing greater ride com­fort and also al­lows the v ehi­cle height to be ad­justed up to 80 mm at the t ouch of a butt on.

The en­gine op­tions for the driv e were the 40i and the 30d. The ob­vi­ous choice for the driv e was the 30d. The mo­ment I pressed the start-stop but­ton, the in-line six mo­tor came to life with­out a sound. Aft er a cou­ple of miles, I got on t o the free­way and the X5 was cruis­ing with­out a sound from the en­gine. Nor­mally, BMW diesel en­gines de­liver ex­cel­lent per­for­mance but t end to be a lit­tle noisy, but this en­gine is so r efined that you don’t hear it and you can ’t feel the en­gine vi­bra­tion that one nor­mally as­so­ci­ates with diesel pow­er­plants. The new SUV is more lux­u­ri­ous from the seat­ing t o the en­tire in-cabin com­forts and sound in­su­la­tion.

The X5 has not lost its dy­namic abil­ity or the driv­ing plea­sure and, at the same, it has be­come more lux­u­ri­ous. If you want to throw the car around cor­ners, all you have to do is se­lect the Sport mode and if you want to drive in the lap of lux­ury, then se­lect the Com­fort mode.

The 130-mile (200-km) drive from the ho­tel con­sisted of a mix of high­way and coun­try roads and it brought out the best in the X5 on the mo­tor­way. This SUV can cruise with­out a sound and, at the same time, you can h ave fun throw­ing her round cor­ners on the coun­try roads. What was amaz­ing was the ride qual­ity even with 35-pro­file tyres.

The other as­pect that BMW have worked on is off-road­ing ca­pa­bil­ity and now you can do some se­ri­ous off-the-beaten-track driv­ing which I ex­pe­ri­enced on the off-road course as you can see in some of the pic­tures here.

The two-fold man­date that the BMW en­gi­neers re­ceived was to make the SUV more lux­u­ri­ous and im­prove its off-road­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties and, let me tell you, they have done an ex­cel­lent job on both the fronts. The new X5 has come a long way where it is still fun to drive and lux­u­ri­ous at the same time with good off-road­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

This SUV can cruise with­out a sound and, at the same time, you can have fun throw­ing her round cor­ners on the coun­try roads

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