The posh SUV test
BMW X5 takes on Range Rover Sport TDV6 and Cayenne Diesel in the war of the big 4x4s
Posted: 12 Feb 2014
Here I am, swaddled in a leathery womb, Radio 2 bubbling gently in the background like a muttering grandfather, driving a new BMW X5 3.0d through a lake. And it's about as terrifying as a sleepy Labrador. We are being calmly pursued by a Porsche Cayenne Diesel and a Range Rover Sport TDV6, appearing not unlike a triplet of unlikely speedboats in a semi-V formation, both equally unperturbed by the strenuous external conditions. Turning left, I exit up a small sandy bank, feel the big BMW's xDrive AWD system squirm as it makes infinite instantaneous assessment of the tyre's grip and the engine's torque, and the best places to deploy both, and simply potter off across gloopy mud that would swallow your feet.
The lack of fuss blurs the edges of the terrain, makes it all simple, finds clarity in the muck. In fact,
all three of these cars - as long as just one of the wheels can find something to cling to and you equip yourself with at least a measure of restraint - will maintain forward momentum without even noticing.
Words: Tom Ford
Pictures: Jamie Lipman
This feature first appeared in Top Gear magazine