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

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS - Pric­ing

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.

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