The BMW X5 has upped the challenge to rivals

The BMW X5 has upped the challenge to rivals

Call it what you will: luxury four-wheel drive wagon;4×4; sports utility vehicle; or BMW’s own title of ‘sports activity vehicle’ SAV’, the BMW X5 continues to barge its way through the Australian market.

When it premiered in 1999, the four-wheel driven BMW X5 was the the first vehicle of its kind according to the German company. However, Range Rover may argue it introduced a sports activity model 29 years previously, though it didn’t tag it as such.

Now the third generation of the new X5 is about to land in Australia with seven models, ranging in price from a tad over $80,000 to around $150,000, available from March. We had a preview of one of these, the X5 xDrive 30d recently.

On the outside the new X5 is of similar proportions to the model it replaces but up front makes use of a wider kidney grille, headlight and tail lamp design giving the vehicle a more broad shouldered appearance.

Style and function have combined up front with new air curtains at the outer edges of the apron designed to reduce drag by directing air around the wheel arches to create a curtain of air over the wheels, expressing it through breathers in the side panels. New-look 19-inch alloy wheels complete the picture.

The xDrive 30d drivetrain, which includes an eight-speed automatic transmission and engine start / stop function, has been given boosts in power output, fuel economy and cleanliness.

The 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel engine takes advantage of the latest in BMW TwinPower turbo technology and common-rail direct injection.

The result is maximum power of 190 kW, 10 kW up on the previous motor, and maximum torque of 560 Nm, an advance of 20 Nm. This is enough to push the vehicle to 100 kilometres an hour from rest in just 6.9 seconds, 0.7 seconds quicker than before).

Average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle has been improved by 1.2 litres per hundred kilometres to 6.2 litres per 100 km, with carbon dioxide emissions of 162 grams per kilometre, 33 grams per km better.

However these figures appear rather optimistic as our test car consumed 12.7 litres per 100 kilometres in the city, eight to nine litres during open-road travel thrown.

Standard equipment for the BMW X5 xDrive 30d goes beyond its $100,000 price tag with particular attention being paid to keeping the driver in touch with his or her surroundings.

Awareness has been improved with Bi-Xenon headlights, LED front fog lights, High-Beam Assist and anti-dazzle exterior mirrors. The Head-Up Display, Driving Assistant, which includes lane departure warning, forward collision warning and pedestrian warning with light city braking function, rear-view camera, 360 degree Surround View and audible alarms of varying tones for each section of the vehicle, add to the safety credentials of the new model.

The satellite navigation system is displayed with impressive sharpness on a dashboard-mounted wide screen together with other functions at the call of the iDrive Touch controller. The latter is positioned rather inconveniently to the left of the gearshift on the centre console, a nod to the left-hand drive origins of the BMW.

Voice control, internet functions and quality audio system make up the grab bag of premium features. Primarily a five-seater, a third row of seats is among an extensive list of cost options to prise open the potential owner’s wallet.

One thing that was given a workout was the Driving Experience Control by which the driver can alter drivetrain settings by means of a button on the centre console.

Comfort is enhanced with electric front seat adjustment with memory, while cargo loading convenience is taken care of with an automatic tailgate.

Sport mode has the X5 30d in spritely mood, rare in such a big vehicle (two tonnes-plus), Sport+ lifts the feral function. We liked it, which perhaps explained the higher than expected fuel consumption. Then again, isn’t the typical owner of the BMW X5 likely to push their machines along

With the advent of a large range of new models, the third generation BMW X5 looks to be on a continuing track of sales success.


BMW X5 sDrive 25d: $82,900
BMW X5 xDrive 25d: $87,900
BMW X5 xDrive 30d: $99,900
BMW X5 xDrive 35i: $106,900
BMW X5 xDrive 40d: $115,900
BMW X5 xDrive 50i: $133,900
BMW X5 xDrive M50d: $147,900
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local BMW dealer for drive away prices.

ABS Brakes: Standard
Electronic Stability Control: Standard
Eight-speed Automatic Transmission: Standard
xDrive AWD system: Standard
Dual Front Airbags: Standard
Front Side Airbags: Standard
Head-up display: Standard
Voice Control: Standard
Audible Parking Sensors: Standard
Reversing Camera: standard
Surround View Camera: Standard
Parking Assistance Package: Optional
Panoramic sunroof: Standard
Bi-Xenon headlamps: Standard
Leather upholstery: Standard
Bluetooth: Standard
Steering Wheel Mounted Controls: Standard

SPECIFICATIONS (BMW X5 xDrive 30d 3.0-litre turbo-diesel)

Capacity: 2.993 litres
Configuration: In-line 6-cylinder, four valves per cylinder. Variable geometry turbo, common-rail direct injection
Compression Ratio: 16.5:1
Bore/Stroke: 90 mm x 84 mm
Maximum Power: 190 kW @ 4000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 560 Nm @ 1500-3000 rpm

Driven Wheels: xDrive permanent AWD with fully variable torque split between front and rear axles
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic

Length: 4886 mm
Wheelbase: 2933 mm
Width: 1938 mm
Height: 1762 mm
Track: 1644 mm (front), 1650 mm (rear)
Overhang: 890 mm (front), 1063 mm (rear)
Ground clearance: 209 mm
Turning Circle: 12.7 m
Kerb weight: 2070 kg (DIN)
Fuel Tank Capacity: 85 litres
Towing Ability: 2700 kg (braked), 750 kg (unbraked)
Cargo Capacity: 650-1870 litres

Suspension: Double wishbone (front); Integral (rear)
Brakes: Ventilated discs (front). Ventilated discs (rear). Dynamic Stability Control with anti-lock braking, brake assist, cornering brake control, pull-away assistant, braking readiness, dry braking and fading compensation. Hill descent control.

0-100km/h: 6.9 sec
Maximum speed: 230 km/h

Type: Diesel
Combined Cycle (ADR 81/02): 6.2 L/100km; CO2 162g / kilometre
Emission rating: EU5

19in light alloy wheels Star-spoke style 449, 9 J x 19 / tyres 255/50 R19. Emergency spare

Greenhouse Rating: 6.5/10
Air Pollution Rating: 5.0/10

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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