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BMW X5 2010 review

EXPERT RATING
8
When the first-generation BMW X5 arrived back in the late 1990s it was among the first of a new breed of svelte Euro expresses. It also coined the term SAV - sports activity vehicle - which meant it was fast, civilised and capable of tackling most road conditions. Even though it was a hulking four-wheel drive, the

When the first-generation BMW X5 arrived back in the late 1990s it was among the first of a new breed of svelte Euro expresses. It also coined the term SAV - sports activity vehicle - which meant it was fast, civilised and capable of tackling most road conditions.

Even though it was a hulking four-wheel drive, the Munich-based carmaker saw fit to distance the high-riding wagon away from more rudimentary off-roaders. Today BMW's off-roader family has also grown to include the X6, X3 and just introduced X1. The X5's rivals have also expanded, among them the Audi Q7, Mercedes-Benz M-Class as well as the Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg.

BMW Australia spokesman, Piers Scott, says the latest mid-life update for the X5 showcases more powerful engines, new driver assistance systems and a modest visual makeover.

"It's all about efficiencies," he says. "There are important gains in fuel economy without sacrificing performance." Scott says some of the X5 models return combined fuel economy figures similar to smaller four-cylinder Japanese hatches.

Three new models, the xDrive35i, xDrive40d and range-topping xDrive50i V8, replace the xDrive30i, xDrive35d and xDrive48i.

BMW X5 xDrive30d

At $92,100, the turbo-diesel xDrive30d is the new entry model and expected volume player. It costs about $5300 more than the previous starter, the xDrive30i petrol. Despite the substantial power increases, fuel economy has improved thanks in part to the adoption of an eight-speed automatic across the range.

The xDrive30d in-line six-cylinder turbo-diesel gains 7kW, developing 180kW while maximum torque is up 20Nm to 540Nm over the old model. The 30d returns 7.4 litres/100km, an improvement of 1.3 litres/100km over the previous model while CO emissions have dropped 36 g/km from 231 g/km to 195 g/km.

BMW X5 xDrive40d

The all-new xDrive40d Sport turbo diesel develops 225kW and 600Nm, 15kW and 20Nm more than its predecessor. It takes just 6.6 seconds to hit 100km/h.

BMW X5 xDrive35i

The xDrive35i is powered by a new 225kW/400Nm turbo six-cylinder engine that propels the big wagon to 100km/h in 6.8 seconds. Even with this increased output, the engine consumes just 10.1 l/100 km, compared with 11.7 litres for the previous xDrive30i.

BMW X5 xDrive50i

The range-topper is the xDrive50i Sport, which gets a new twin-turbo 300kW V8, propelling the car to 100km/h in 5.5 seconds, one second quicker than the old V8. The new engine develops 39kW more power and 600Nm, up from 475Nm. Apart from the eight-speed auto, all models get speed-dependent Servotronic power steering.

Options

As almost 80 per cent of all xDrive35d customers opt for either the Sports or M Sport packages, the xDrive40d Sport and xDrive50i both include the Sports package as standard. This includes sport leather steering wheel, anthracite roofliner, titanium-colourer air inlet grille and the choice of two new different alloy wheels, 19-inch on the xDrive40d Sport and 20-inch on the xDrive50i Sport. The xDrive50i Sport also has self-levelling rear suspension, while the xDrive40d Sport offers sports suspension as a non-cost option.

Driving

THE X5 steers and handles like a BMW should. There are no weak links in the petrol and turbo-diesel engine lineup either and the visual updates give the car a cleaner, more contemporary look. We have to admit that even though the xDrive50i twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 is enormously appealing, both 3.0-litre turbo-diesels, in differing states of tune, are the pick if you put economy ahead of outright performance. Neither diesel is lacking in urge either.

The twin-turbo xDrive40d 3.0-litre turbo diesel has 225kW on tap and a massive 600Nm - the same as the V8 - available from just 1500 revs. We manage low 8s in a mix of country and some urban driving, making the 7.5 litres/100km combined figure realistic.

Even the "entry" single turbo xDrive30d develops 180kW/540Nm, which is more than adequate to push the two-tonne wagon to 100km/h in 7.6 seconds while returning 7.4 litres/100km.

The new eight-speed transmission is slick with imperceptible gear changes while the servotronic steering feels more consistent around town and on the highway. Considering its bulk, the wagon handles amazingly well and that's thanks to its BMW pedigree. It is precise and crisp through the corners, only the slightly firmish ride on the optional larger wheels taking the edge off its on-road poise. At 110km/h through windy country roads it handles like a far smaller, well-sorted hatch.

On rougher, corrugated roads though, the X5's composure can be challenged on the Sports suspension models. We encountered some wind noise from the exterior mirrors intruding into the otherwise quiet cabin.

However, despite these slight niggles, the X5 remains the leader of the pack.

BMW X5

Price: $92,100 (xDrive30d), $103,900 (xDrive35i), $113,300 (xDrive40d), $133,400 (xDrive50i)
Body: Five-door wagon
Seats: 5 (7 seater optional)
Engines: 3.0-litre six cylinder, 3.0-litre turbo-diesel, 4.4-litre V8
Power: 180kW at 4000 revs (xDrive30d), 225kW at 5800 revs (xDrive35i), 225kW at 4400 revs (xDrive40d), 300kW at 5500-6400 revs (xDrive50i)
Torque: 540Nm at 1750-3000 revs (xDrive30d), 400Nm at 1200-5000 revs (xDrive35i), 600Nm at 1500-2500 revs (xDrive40d), 600Nm at 1750-4500 revs (xDrive50i)
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
0-100km/h: 7.6 secs (xDrive30d), 6.8 secs (xDrive35i), 6.6 secs (xDrive40d), 5.5 secs (xDrive50i)
Top speed: 210km/h (xDrive30d), 235km/h (xDrive35i), 236km/h (xDrive40d), 240km/h (xDrive50i)
Economy/CO2: 7.4 l/100km/195g/km (xDrive30d), 10.1 l/100km/236g/lkm (xDrive35i), 7.5 l/100km/198g/km (xDrive40d), 12.5 l/100km/292g/km (xDrive50i)

Pricing Guides

$26,990
Based on 56 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$19,888
Highest Price
$34,988

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
M 4.4L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $30,030 – 36,190 2010 BMW X5 2010 M Pricing and Specs
xDrive 30d 3.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $23,990 – 27,388 2010 BMW X5 2010 xDrive 30d Pricing and Specs
xDrive 30d Executive 3.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $21,450 – 27,170 2010 BMW X5 2010 xDrive 30d Executive Pricing and Specs
xDrive 30i 3.0L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $22,888 – 25,999 2010 BMW X5 2010 xDrive 30i Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8