Driven: New BMW X5

Posted by debu at 11:27 am on Friday May 02, 2014

It’s almost unthinkable that any particular conventionally pegged BMW hasn’t done well in the market place. I say conventional in the interest of leaving out the GTs and the X6s of consideration, because, let’s face it, they don’t really fit into any large consumer category, not in India at least. So when you look at any of the other cars in their line-up, you notice that they have all done pretty well. All but one, the X5.

Despite being introduced fairly early, when luxury SUVs were just catching on, the first-gen X5 never did have too many takers.  May be it was the fact that it only sat five, or it’s slightly compact dimensions.

Anyway, the designers at BMW have gradually worked in various demands since then. So, the X5 seats seven now and has also grown in dimension, although marginally. More importantly, it has been re-styled without disturbing much of its general profile. For the keen observer, there are plenty of fresh touches to the styling of the new X5, most notably the sculpted lines and the new front and rear-end of the car. The headlamps get LED, flat-bottomed corona rings with an LED eyebrow of sorts and the tail lamps are larger wrap-around ones. The kidney-grille is familiarly large and the front bumper has been re-designed too. Everything fits in nicely to look more sleek than earlier, in fact even the tail-gate has been given a couple of creases to break up the vast expanse of metal.

BMWs gone ahead and brought the interiors up-to-date as well, something that was desperately needed in the current world of flashy SUVs. The great thing is that the designers have managed to keep all the controls in largely the same place as was in the earlier car, but every single thing has been redesigned.

The dash has a gentle curve to its design and the display is a now a large unit that stands out. All the buttons are new and simpler to use, the dials have also been separated and are easier to read and the central lock buttons have been moved to the driver’s side door. Finally. The downside is BMW's insistence on forcing the iDrive upon you instead of a simple touchscreen interface, something that is almost inexcusable in this age.

Fortunately though, they have gone about making the driving bit more fun to keep your spirits up. Not only does the 3-litre diesel make more power than before at 255bhp, but it has more torque too at 560Nm, and those numbers coupled with the eight-speed transmission simply means it is freakin’ quick!

The X5 can hit 100kph in just under seven seconds, all two-tonnes it and if you choose to drive to save the earth, the improved efficient dynamics does a better job at that too. Ride is more forgiving now, but handling remains impressive. It lives up to the dynamic experience that you expect from a BMW while being more friendly, efficient and now, arguably, looking its best.

The numbers
In-line 6 cylinder, 2993cc, twin-turbo diesel, 255bhp at 4000rpm, 560Nm at 1500-3000rpm, 8A, AWD, 0-100kph: 6.9 seconds, 230kph, Rs 78 lakh (expected, on-road price)

The verdict
The new X5 has been given a proper update and one that works on pretty much every level. Looks smart, sounds good and rides well too. BMW might finally crack the full-size SUV market.

TAGS// bmw, x5

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