Off the beaten track with style and agility
LOCAL LAUNCH/ New X5 has a lot to offer, including astonishing road holding and a ferocious quad-turbo engine, writes Phuti Mpyane
Fans of BMW’s X5 list top-notch dynamic driving qualities in their purchase decision. When it comes to pure thrills only a few SUVs could match the ability of an X5 for athleticism. Apart from wanting to tempt people out of rival brands, BMW’s aim when building this latest, fourth-generation version, and other X models thus far, is to infuse more off-road driving capability into the recipe of luxury and performance.
For those customers who may have coveted a BMW X5 but shied away due to the farmroad impracticality, the company is now able to offer a 20inch light alloy fitted with allterrain tyres for more mitigation against easy punctures.
I’d have dearly loved to expand on this revelation but instead my driving partner and I found ourselves facing 40 gravelled kilometres of the Montagu Pass in the Western Cape, not in a BMW X5 armed with the new set of knobbly Grabber AT3 tyres but the other option the very road-based 22-inch M Performance alloys covered with the thinnest of 275/35 Pirelli rubber and exclusively available to the M50d derivative.
The cabin quality is a particular highlight and is more than a match for segment rivals. It’ sa lovelier place now, with the latest BMW innovative technology and choice materials and patterns that introduce a new premium feel. The layout has changed, not dramatically so but enough to be a welcome change from the predictable interiors.
There’s a fully digital BMW live cockpit instrument binnacle and a stylish new lever for the transmission. The now more luxurious confines of the BMW X5 are a hive of sophistication, from an intuitive, multimodal interaction between driver and vehicle through artificial intelligence, touch control, the familiar iDrive touch controller, to voice and gesture control.
These feature alongside now traditional convenience expectations such as navigation, a 20GB hard drive-equipped multimedia system, two USB ports, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi interfaces. There’s no doubt that the new BMW X5 is, on paper, a major improvement over its predecessor on all fronts.
It’s available in the xDrive30d versions with a single-turbo diesel engine with outputs of 195kW and 620Nm.
The M50d I drove at the media launch is a six-cylinder quad-turbo virtuoso with its 294kW and 760Nm, with claimed 0-100km/h times of 5.2 seconds and top speed of 250km/h. The M50d is the juggernaut of the range until the X5M arrives.
It’s the model-specific kinematics and elastokinematics for the wheel suspension that lead to a newfound agility, bringing this hulk closer to the league of something more focused such as Porsche’s Cayenne. X5 xDrive30d xLine Model R1,186,200 X5 xDrive30d M Sport package
R1,245,100 X5 xDrive30d xOff-Road R1,245,450 X5 M50d R1,493,600
New design language with oversized kidney grille is surprisingly handsome in the metal. Below: A business-like ambience and also an AI voice assistant.