THE NEW BMW X5: An SUV with SAV!
It was BMW that coined the acronym SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle) with the launch of their original X5, and with the launch of their third-generation model they are delving even deeper into the world of sports activity; and at the same time adding not only to the reputation of the X5 but also to the sales figures of the previous X5 that already total more than 1.3 million.
It almost goes without saying (but I will anyway) that the new X5, on sale in the UK from 16 November 2013, is a major advancement on the ‘old’ one in so many ways; design, luxury, comfort, versatility, efficiency, driving pleasure, safety and connectivity to name but eight. In the UK the SE and M Sport versions will be available with five TwinPower Turbo engines - four diesel and one petrol - a standard eight-speed automatic transmission that makes its own contribution to fuel-saving and the option of two or four-wheel drive (sDrive and xDrive).
The car itself exemplifies the 'Sports Activity Vehicle' tag as it offers all-roads, all-weather capability married to the space and versatility of an SUV with the driving enjoyment of a BMW. And the updated version merely puts a more defined stamp on this fact.
As standard, the X5 is fitted with ECO PRO, Auto Start-Stop, Brake Energy Regeneration, on-demand use of auxiliary units, electric power steering and low rolling resistance tyres; all combining to create ‘EfficientDynamics’ (as BMW call it) to ensure that the car operates as efficiently as possible with as little drag as possible being created by the improved aerodynamics and the reduced overall weight courtesy of the use of ultra-high-tensile steels in the body structure, an aluminium bonnet and magnesium instrument panel support and thermoplastic side panels. And there’s also (as standard again) a Drive Dynamic Control switch mounted in the centre console which allows the driver to fine-tune the balance between comfort and sportiness on and off-road.
You want great suspension? Have four options - Adaptive Comfort suspension, Adaptive M suspension, Adaptive Dynamic suspension and Adaptive Professional suspension – all equipped with electronic power-assisted steering (The X5 xDrive30d and xDrive50i are optionally available with Active Steering.)
You want an electromechanical parking brake? That’s there too! And a powerful anti-lock braking system backed up by a vast array of driver assistance features like Dynamic Stability Control, Dynamic Traction Control, Cornering Brake Control, Dynamic Brake Control, an Automatic Differential Brake, Brake Assist, Brake Standby, Hill-Start Assistant, Brake Fade compensation, Brake Drying and Hill Descent Control (on xDrive versions)? Yep! Got them as standard as well.
Now; that X-Drive version that we touched upon in the previous sentence. This is the latest version of the BMW xDrive system, which interprets information it automatically receives about road and wheel speeds, steering angle and accelerator position to realise what the driver is going to do (and therefore the car’s reaction) and apportion engine torque accordingly, thereby eliminating both understeer and oversteer.
Design-wise the new X5 is “deliberately evolutionary” with space inside for up to seven people in even greater luxury and functionality. From the outside grille, shape, windows, lights and bumper to the interior quality, controls, display materials, technology and seating everything exudes class and power, whichever of the two design packages you choose; Design Pure Experience or Design Pure Excellence.
All that is down as to whether you want robustness – in which case choose the titanium, matt black, matt chrome and Nappa leather of the Experience – or elegance – when you’ll choose the black and chrome with T-shaped bars, Ivory White leather and American Oak trim that the Excellence offers.
And to keep you up to date with the world that goes by outside your windows, there’s the BMW ConnectedDrive system that is there to enhance the active safety, convenience and infotainment facilities of the new X5.
Technology such as the new Driving Assistant that includes Lane Departure Warning, a pedestrian and collision warning system with braking function, Active Cruise Control (in the Assistant Plus package) with Stop & Go that later this year will include Traffic Jam Assistant to maintain the X5's position in its lane at up to 25mph, Dynamic Safety (that adjusts the seat belts, front passenger seat, windows and sunroof (if fitted) to the optimum position to survive an accident), Attention Assistant, BMW Emergency Call, Glare-free High-beam Assistant, the BMW Parking Assistant (planned from late 2013) and a new version of the BMW Head-Up Display which is able to put additional information on the windscreen, is there to keep you informed when information seems so far away – but in safety.
And finally, if you need any more reason to get out there now to a BMW showroom to slap down an order for one of these, there is internet access and Online Entertainment that gives access to 12 million music tracks, as well as BMW Apps that include web radio, customised music programming and access to Facebook and Twitter – but NOT whilst on the move!
See you down there. I’m off right now!