BMW X5 30d 2014 Review
BMW's new X5 is a big bugger, bigger than we recall the previous two models were but it's not unexpected from a vehicle built in the US where they make 'em to accommodate possibly the largest humans i
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A decade ago fundamentalist greenies accused SUV owners of damaging the planet's climate and plundering fossil fuel reserves.
Today, a 5m long, near-$180,000 Range Rover SUV uses the same amount of fuel as an automatic 2012 Toyota Corolla. Argument over. The Range Rover Vogue - even in its entry-level TDV6 version - may be out of financial reach for most people but nothing can deny it a place as one of 2013's most remarkable motoring exhibits.
The all-alloy Vogue's versatility, perfect form and outstanding function will arrest prospective luxury-car buyers. The equipment level, the superb ride comfort and spaciousness put it above saloon cars and its performance smothers many so-called sports cars.
Show it the dirt and it'll plunge through where no normal SUV would dare. It is, in fact, the motoring equivalent of Inspector Gadget - a car that is everything to all buyers. Damn shame it costs so much.
My wife wants a Thermomix because it's one kitchen appliance that does everything so we don't have to buy five devices.
The Range Rover falls in the same category. Of course, like the Thermomix, the price is five times the price of a single-purpose appliance. So at $178,900 (plus $13,420 of options) the 3.0 TDV6 Vogue isn't cheap but can be all cars to all men. And women. The warranty is ordinary, the service costs are high-ish but fuel costs are low.
Hot features include massage and heated front and rear seats, huge sunroof ($3080 must-have option), dual-view touch screen ($1300 option) and superb audio. Your neighbours will hate you.
This 2013 model softly reflects the original Range Rover silhouette but does so with a bigger, more accommodating body.
There is more subtly with the styling - note the neater grille, headlights and tail lights - while 21-inch alloys ($3240 option) give power to the design. Cabin design is beautiful. Lots of leather and wood, excellent graphics and switchgear, superb seats and a wide field of driver vision.
It's also big inside with giant-size leg and headroom in the rear and an expanded cargo area that fits a mountain bike without removing its wheels. The electric tailgate, electric fold rear seats and rear-seat control panel adds icing to the cake.
The big news is its all-aluminium body that shaves up to 400kg off the old model. The 190kW/600Nm 3-litre V6 turbo-diesel may pale against the optional V8 diesel and Porsche's new 4.2-litre oiler, but it's the right choice for owners who don't tow heavy gear.
It's mated to an eight-speed auto that goes through a constant all-wheel drive system. Unlike most rivals, it has a low-range gearbox. The suspension is air adjustable, electric-assist steering, there's Terrain Response to electronically dial in the wagon for different off-road conditions and even stop-start to save a bit of fuel. Brilliant.
It's (only) a four-star crash-rated car with nine airbags, electronic stability and traction control enhanced with roll-stability and cornering brake control, cruise control (adaptive is $3240 extra), all-wheel drive and a full-size spare wheel.
Boat lovers will salivate over the aquatic bent of this vehicle. It moves forward like a luxury launch, cutting a fluid path and gently pitching and rolling with an unseen ocean's swell. That underbody cushioning - attributes of air suspension - and leather armchair comfort create the feeling that your loungeroom is suddenly capable of motion.
There's a cautious vagueness about this marshmallow ride but even when thrown into a corner, the wagon reacts immediately, hardening the suspension and steering so it unrelentingly follows its confident line through the bend.
The engine is quick to respond, though there are moments when it gets caught napping and the turbo fails to quickly ignite the engine. In terms of response though, it's a better engine than the optional V8 turbo-diesel that in comparison feels almost truck like.
Acceleration to 100km/h is a quick 7.9 seconds and it feels like being pushed in the back by a powerful, velvet-encased glove. It's an incredibly quiet car as well. Electronics run this wagon, from the steering to the optional adaptive cruise to the ride-height air suspension and the five-mode Terrain Response system.
In the sand and gravel this never even looked like slowing down. The low-range box, gobs of torque and diff locks sneered at sand. Pump the air suspension up to the max (from 220mm to 295mm) and while wheel travel is reduced, the wagon will clear some really big hurdles.
Towing is rated at 3500kg so it may suit a lot of holiday haulers.
This is a clever vehicle. Few cars come close to its flexibility while being luxurious, secure and even fun to drive.
|Autobiography 5.0 V8 SC||5.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO||$107,910 – 124,080||2013 Land Rover Range Rover 2013 Autobiography 5.0 V8 SC Pricing and Specs|
|Autobiography SDV8||4.4L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO||$113,630 – 130,570||2013 Land Rover Range Rover 2013 Autobiography SDV8 Pricing and Specs|
|HSE TDV6||3.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO||$69,520 – 79,860||2013 Land Rover Range Rover 2013 HSE TDV6 Pricing and Specs|
|HSE V6 SC||3.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO||$88,660 – 101,970||2013 Land Rover Range Rover 2013 HSE V6 SC Pricing and Specs|