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Rediff.com  » Business » BMW X5: A safe and stylish SUV for comfortable long drives

BMW X5: A safe and stylish SUV for comfortable long drives

May 17, 2016 14:58 IST

The BMW X5 is the largest SUV one can buy with the famous blue and white logo from Bavaria.

The car is the quintessential European luxury SUV with all the creature comforts one finds in the executive sedans of the company.

Faisal Khan, MotorBeam.com, tests the mettle of the big-brawny SUV from BMW.

The BMW X5 is the first name which comes to everybody's mind when one thinks of a big powerful European SUV to attack the urban jungle.

Based on the 5-Series platform, the X5 exudes confidence and uber luxury from every angle.

Rather than calling the X5 an SUV, BMW always chose to use the SAV acronym which translates to Sports Activity Vehicle, promoting the vehicle’s on-road performance along with off-road capability.

The third generation BMW X5 is more evolutionary in design from its previous iteration instead of a radical change.

The car has oodles of road presence due to a short overhang, muscular kidney grille and a nicely detailed bumper along with the beautiful L shaped tail-lights.

Twin exhaust, stubby shark-fin antenna and blackened B and C pillars further complete the macho appeal of this BMW SUV.

The interiors of the X5 are a familiar sight for the keen eyed ones as many elements are shared with the 5-Series sedan but it is still different in its own way.

The car is overflowing with features just like it should to justify that premium price tag, such as front and rear parking sensors which are over-sensitive, rear camera, xenon lights with cornering function, cruise control with automatic braking, a fantastic sounding Harman Kardon 16-speaker audio system, etc.

What makes the car a BMW and not your average pedestrian box-on-wheels is the quality of materials and attention to details.

Intelligent storage places and a beautiful colour scheme for the panels, which have silver lines flowing, with dark wood and piano black finishing complete the richness of the dash.

The iDrive system is slick and works flawlessly, it’s super quick and intuitive to use and there are abundant features here including handwriting recognition and BMW apps.

As a car which costs this much, the seats of the BMW X5 have terrific levels of comfort, preventing you from getting tired even on the longest of drives.

The car is equipped with a four-zone climatic control system and a large panoramic sunroof.

In the second row of seats, one will appreciate the good knee and legroom with headroom being ample too, only under-thigh support being a bit lacking, with the third row being unable to accommodate full sized adults at all.

The SUV also has a split tailgate with electronic function for closing.

The BMW X5 is offered in India with only a single engine option, a 3.0-litre in-line 6-cylinder diesel which churns out 258 horses and 560 Nm of twisting force.

The engine redlines smoothly with the revs rising quickly without any resistance from the powerplant, its grunt comes in just one long surge and the X5 gains pace in a smooth manner but with urgency.

The new X5 weighs 90 kgs less than the model it replaces.

The highlight of the powertrain is without doubt the fantastic 8-speed ZF gearbox.

In-gear acceleration is good and the transmission won’t upshift in Sport+ mode, redlining all the way to 5500 RPM.

The cogs shift smoothly and the gearbox intelligently selects the desired gear at the right time, all the time.

The SUV does remain glued to the road with its 18-inch tyres at high speeds and braking performance is excellent with speeds shedding in no time. 

The X5 comes with air suspension and electronic damper control, the rear suspension is also self levelling and the X5 doesn’t feel stiff like BMW’s are known for.

The ride quality is good on Comfort mode, there is no thud on bad roads but the car becomes too harsh on Sport mode which becomes immediately apparent as soon as you switch the mode.

The X Drive system is more than up for the job to traverse any given path as it can send 100% power to either axle when required.

The German luxury SUV comes with every safety feature abbreviation available on the planet including front and side airbags, ABS with Brake Assist, Cornering Brake Control (CBC), Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Hill Descent Control (HDC), Attentiveness Assist, Fading Compensation, Brake Drying, etc.

The new X5 has excellent performance and boasts of a good balance between ride and handling, which makes it a worthy competitor to the all time best selling Audi Q7.

Faisal Khan