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Call it what you will: luxury four-wheel drive wagon;4x4; sports utility vehicle; or BMW's own title of 'sports activity vehicle' SAV', the BMW X5 continues to barge its way through the Australian market.
When it premiered in 1999, the four-wheel driven BMW X5 was the first vehicle of its kind according to the German company. However, Range Rover may argue it introduced a sports activity model 29 years previously, though it didn't tag it as such.
Now the third generation of the new X5 is landing in Australia with seven models, ranging in price from a tad over $80,000 to around $150,000, available from March. We had a preview of one of these, the X5 xDrive 30d recently.
On the outside the new X5 is of similar proportions to the model it replaces but up front makes use of a wider kidney grille, headlight and tail lamp design giving the vehicle a more broad shouldered appearance.
Style and function have combined up front with new air curtains at the outer edges of the apron designed to reduce drag by directing air around the wheel arches to create a curtain of air over the wheels, expressing it through breathers in the side panels. New-look 19-inch alloy wheels complete the picture.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The xDrive 30d drivetrain, which includes an eight-speed automatic transmission and engine start / stop function, has been given boosts in power output, fuel economy and cleanliness. The 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel engine takes advantage of the latest in BMW TwinPower turbo technology and common-rail direct injection.
The result is maximum power of 190kW, 10kW up on the previous motor, and maximum torque of 560Nm, an advance of 20Nm. This is enough to push the vehicle to 100 kilometres an hour from rest in just 6.9 seconds, 0.7 seconds quicker than before.
Average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle has been improved by 1.2 litres per hundred kilometres to 6.2 litres per 100km, with carbon dioxide emissions of 162 grams per kilometre, 33 grams per km better.
Standard equipment for the BMW X5 xDrive 30d goes beyond its $100,000 price tag with particular attention being paid to keeping the driver in touch with his or her surroundings.
Primarily a five-seater, a third row of seats is among an extensive list of cost options to prise open the potential owner's wallet.
Awareness has been improved with Bi-Xenon headlights, LED front fog lights, High-Beam Assist and anti-dazzle exterior mirrors. The Head-Up Display, Driving Assistant, which includes lane departure warning, forward collision warning and pedestrian warning with light city braking function, rear-view camera, 360 degree Surround View and audible alarms of varying tones for each section of the vehicle, add to the safety credentials of the new model.
The satellite navigation system is displayed with impressive sharpness on a dashboard-mounted wide screen together with other functions at the call of the iDrive Touch controller. The latter is positioned rather inconveniently to the left of the gearshift on the centre console, a nod to the left-hand drive origins of the BMW. Voice control, internet functions and quality audio system make up the grab bag of premium features.
Comfort is enhanced with electric front seat adjustment with memory, while cargo loading convenience is taken care of with an automatic tailgate. One thing that was given a workout was the Driving Experience Control by which the driver can alter drivetrain settings by means of a button on the centre console.
Sport mode has the X5 30d in spritely mood, rare in such a big vehicle (two tonnes-plus), Sport+ lifts the feral function. We liked it, which perhaps explained the higher than expected fuel consumption. The official figures appear rather optimistic as our test car consumed 12.7 litres per 100 kilometres in the city, eight to nine litres during open-road travel thrown. Then again, the typical owner of the BMW X5 isn't likely to push their machines along that hard.
With the advent of a large range of new models, the third generation BMW X5 looks to be on a continuing track of sales success.
BMW X5 30d
Price: from $99,900
Engine: 3.0 six-cylinder turbodiesel, 190kW/560Nm
Transmission: 8-speed auto, AWD
|M50d||3.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO||$55,999 – 79,990||2014 BMW X5 2014 M50d Pricing and Specs|
|sDrive 25d||2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO||$38,888 – 54,990||2014 BMW X5 2014 sDrive 25d Pricing and Specs|
|xDRIVE 25d||2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO||$40,990 – 47,990||2014 BMW X5 2014 xDRIVE 25d Pricing and Specs|
|xDrive 30d||3.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO||$35,980 – 64,900||2014 BMW X5 2014 xDrive 30d Pricing and Specs|