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
The RRS, on the other hand, is something else again. Fair enough, the 20in wheels look a little lost in those large arches, but the scaled-and-swept themes of the full-sized Rangie suit the Sport to a tee. It's a genuinely handsome car that does without too many visual extras, and it's the better for it. The same goes for the inside, and while the satnav screen looks a bit pokey compared to the widescreen magnificence of the BMW, the Sport feels plush, classy and characterful. A proper gentleman's club of a car. But, in this lower-spec guise at least, the ‘Sport' tag feels a bit misleading. Driven hard on the road, it comes across as more of a luxury tourer than anything you actually desire to chuck about for the hell of it. The standard air suspension does a good job of keeping the body in check, but this base version does without Land Rover's Active Ride Control system, so you'll still get a fair few momentous feelings part-way around a corner. It's nothing to worry about particularly, and it rides with a lovely long-legged feel, but this is nothing like the Supercharged V8.
The Cayenne is much, much more performance-biased, and it shows on the first corner. The test car came with Porsche Active Suspension Management to constantly manage the damping of the coil springs, and you really can chuck the car about with gay abandon to the point that you really do need those centre-console grab handles. It's decidedly flat, minutely controlled and has the most accurate steering of all three cars - though that's not particularly saying much, as we'll come to later. The downside is obvious: the ride is on the hurtful side of firm on anything other than glassy tarmac, a situation not helped by the optional (£3,779) 21in wheels also fitted to our test car.