BMW started its X journey with the X5 way back in 1999. BMW called it a Sports Activity Vehicle rather than an SUV to emphasize its on-road ability despite its size. Over the years the X5 has evolved and this is here is the 4th generation model and it aims to offer even greater luxury and technology.
So how good is the new X5? We answer that question by telling you 5 things that are good about the X5 and two things that aren’t.
While photos don’t do justice, the X5 in the flesh is massive. Then there’s the huge, shiny kidney grille which in any other cars rearview mirror looks like the X5 is coming to swallow you whole. The grille is flanked by angular headlamps which also get the laser light high beam system. Other than that BMW X5 boasts plenty of sharp lines and details which gives it a nice blend of premium and sporty.
That the BMW is full of features and has comfortable interiors is a given. But in the new X5, the interiors are more akin to a fancy lounge.
You get plenty of wood on the dash which looks and feels great. Also, it’s like a sea of leather in here and you can choose the shade from a bunch of options. Importantly, if it feels like a lounge it’s got to have ambient lighting and there are as many as 12 choices of colour combinations for the LED ambient lighting, which even extends to a panoramic sunroof. You even get a crystal effect gear selector that looks more like artwork. Even the front seats are brilliant and there are a million adjustments you can do to get it just right for your kind of driving.
Fast and Furious
265Bhp and 620Nm of torque, that’s the kind of numbers the 3-litre, 6-cylinder engine churns out. Sport mode enabled, the X5 is blisteringly quick. Quick enough to hit 100 kph in just over 6 seconds. And should you find the need for it, there’s launch control too. The 8-speed ZF gearbox works brilliantly too and aides in providing effortless performance. Helping put all that power down are some of the widest tyres out there. With a 275 section in the front and a massive 305 section at the rear, along with AWD, the X5 makes sure there is no dearth of grip in any condition whatsoever. Even the braking is herculean and the X5 just stops on a dime even from three-digit speeds.
Ride and Handling
Since BMW claims this is a Sports Activity Vehicle, it should handle like one right? And it does. For a car of this size and weight, the X5 pretty much defies physics.
While the steering is light it’s unbelievable how the X5 can just dart into corners. Body roll is surprisingly well controlled and it’s only in comfort mode that one can notice the body roll. On the suspension front, the X5 now gets air suspension on all four wheels and ride height can be raised or lowered in 5 steps. The ride quality can be a little lumpy over bumps thanks to those massive wheels but overall the ride feels quite plush over most surfaces.
Fussy Instrument console
Now let’s take a look at some of the things we didn’t like starting with this! We’ve always loved how BMW’s classic twin-pod instrument console looked. I mean who doesn’t like a good looking instrument console. But this new one here spoils the party for us fanatics.
With this new console, BMW has gone fully digital. For starters, there’s just too much information to read. Then there is the way it gives out the information. The tachometer works anti-clockwise and as you switch to sport mode it just disappears. Also, the font is quite small so it takes some effort to read. BMW please give us back the classic dials.
Non-reclining rear seat
Considering India is such a strong market for chauffeur-driven vehicles, it almost feels unpardonable that the rear backrest cannot recline.
There’s no complaining when it comes to the legroom and width, but BMW should have offered some level of recline for the rear seats to make it more comfortable for the rear passengers. What does not help its case further is that the seat also feels a little too upright. Not a good thing for long journeys.
The new X5 prices start from Rs 72.9 lakh and go up till Rs 82.4 lakh for this XLine variant. Yes, prices do seem a little steep but then you do get a lot of BMW for the money. It’s big, beautiful, luxurious and has a stonking performance on offer. Sport Activity Vehicles don’t come much better than this.
Pictures: Kapil Angane