Published On: Tue, Feb 10th, 2015


BMW X5 - Unique Times

BMW X5 – Unique Times

Regular readers would remember that, we had earlier previewed the new X 5, but such has been the response of the new model, we have this full-on review of the X 5 30 d. When BMW launched the original X5 back in 1999, it suddenly became a topic of hot debate. Unlike Mercedes Benz who has a history of making SUVs like the G Wagon and commercial vehicles like the Unimog, BMW had never made anything remotely similar to an SUV. It had a reputation for driver oriented cars with rear wheel drive and here it was, making a tall SUV with four wheel drive. However, fifteen years and 1.3million sales later we now know that BMW’s early push down the SUV route has turned out to be a brilliant business decision. The third generation of the X 5 (F 15) has been launched in India and we take the popular new 30 d model for a spin.

It has the unmistakable X5 look and the styling is evolutionary of the earlier model. It has an identical wheelbase as its predecessor, but is 5mm wider, 29mm longer and just a tad lower. BMW has also managed to get the coefficient of drag from 0.34 of the predecessor to 0.31 as part of increasing overall efficiency. The front end styling is similar to the one in the new 3 series, with the headlamps stretching to the twin kidney grilles for a wider look. There is also less of a height difference between the wings and the bonnet as in the previous model and this makes it feel wider. The creased rear styling is shared with the smaller X3, but the overall proportions make it look a lot sweeter.

More spacious and better designed than the outgoing model, the new X5’s cabin is well executed.  An un-lacquered wood trim runs across the dashboard and door trims, while the 10.2inch screen for the Drive takes central place on the dashboard. The dashboard is similar to most current BMWs and the driving position is familiar to X5 drivers. The front seats are wide and comfy, with power adjustment and excellent slide-out under-thigh support. The second row of seats are split 40:20:40, and adjust fore-and-aft as well as for rake.

The famous 3.0litre straight six has been carried over and it produces 255bhp and 57.1kg-m of torque, an increment of 10bhp and 2.1kg-m respectively. Mated to an 8 speed automatic, it pulls well through the gears. The new X5 despite its girth, can get up to 100kmph from a standstill in a shade over seven seconds. The variable four wheel drive system makes for a quick getaway, while the throttle responses seemed to be improved on the new model. You get the usual Comfort, Sport and Sport+ modes which vary the engine response and steering assist.

The body control is great for a car of its size and that is one of the reasons why you pick the X5 among other cars in its class that are better off roaders. The Indian car comes as standard with self leveling rear suspension and electronic damper control. The steering feels precise and you can feel the inherent balance of the chassis, every time you attack a corner with gusto. The new Drive system along with improved dynamic stability control can deliver up to 100 percent torque at the front or rear axle.  Although it is firm, the ride quality is good and that makes the X5 a great travel companion.

The new X5 is assembled in India and prices start around Rs.71lakhs. While it may not look like a quantum leap from the model it replaces in terms of styling, the new X5 with its improved cabin, new design and overall dynamic abilities is a sure winner in its class.

Vivek Venugopal





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