By Veeno Dewan
BMW’s X5 has been a successful model in the German company’s SUV portfolio, acting as the anchor for the more recent smaller X SUV variants. So important is it, that the new X5 model has been given significant improvements, more equipment, newer technology and extra lavish luxury than ever before. The new X5 is larger, compared to the outgoing model, the wheelbase is longer by 42 mm, the width extended by 66 mm, and it sits 19 mm higher. The familiar twin kidney headlights are prominent, and overall look, is stately, and mature. The X5 still has road presence and an air of patrician nobility about it. An M Sport Package is available (optional on 40i models for $3,000, standard on 50i models) that comprises larger front air inlets, side body skirts, an M sport exhaust, and larger wheels, and can bolster appearance.
Inside, the M versions offer upgraded leather upholstery trims, and an “M” steering wheel, and illuminated door sill plates. Powering the X5 is an in-line six engine for the xDrive40i inline-six engine with 340 hp or a 4.4L V8 with 462hp in the xDrive50i. Both engines are hooked up to a eight -speed sport automatic transmission. Also new is an off-road package ($2,950), a BMW-first, that equips the X5 with an electronically locking rear differential, the two-axle air suspension, front and rear under guards, off-road display screens, and four extra driving modes (Snow, Sand, Gravel, and Rock).
The new cabin looks really cool; faultless in execution. And is much more spacious than the outgoing model. Equally important, materials, plastics, textiles and switchgear feel more premium. The X5 is a festival of new technology, with options and luxury items too numerous to list, But let’s have go! We tested a top X5 xDrive40i model (Base priced at $71,500) with the following options: Premium Enhanced Package ($9,000) with: Comfort Access, Soft Close Doors, Side Sunshades, heated and Cooled Cupholders, Travel and Comfort System, Seat Heating, Front and Rear, Auto 4-Zone Climate Control, BMW Laserlights Headlights, Parking Assistant Plus w/Surround View, Head-Up Display, SiriusXM Satellite Radio Tuner, Harman Kardon Sound System, Wireless Charging with Extended Bluetooth and USB WiFi Hotspot/ Also added was the M Sport Package, M Sport Exhaust System ,($3,000), With 21″ M Light Alloy Wheels. And more. If that’s not enough, also added was the advanced Driving Assistant package ($2,000) with its slew of advanced safety aid, plus a bunch of stand lone options. Final tally was a seizure inducing $88,900 plus taxes and fees.
There are now two 12.3-inch screens that look like one, and comprise the instrument readouts, and display. It’s a sleek, hi-tech look. The X5 driver interface also uses BMW’s new iDrive software. Meanwhile, the head up display now has a larger screen, and the front cupholders are now heated and cooled. One of my favourite features available if you can stump up for it is the massaging seats from the BMW 7 Series. The second-row can electronically tilt out of the way with just the touch of a button, allowing easy entry to the somewhat cramped third row (Find me a third row that never cramped!). Cargo area is generous with 650 L and grows to 1,870 L with the seats folded down. At the rear there is power operated split tailgate along with a power trunk cover.
On the road the X5’S 40i’s revised in-line six- cylinder engine is more efficient and smoother than before. It’s no slouch delivering 340 hp and 332 lb-ft in a silky turbine smooth spread of power. Turbo-lag is negligent here, and the in-line six has a wide torque range allowing for usable power all the way from the lower end of the tach range. The X5 40i is fast with a 0-100 km/h sprint time of 5.5 seconds. The 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 in the 50i model offers 0-100 km/h in 4.7 seconds.
Handling wise the X5 offers a secure, stable and very responsive platform thanks to its new Integral Active Steering, a first for BMW. The system comprises a twin- axle steering system that is speed activated. The new X5 also exhibits more agility, responsiveness and sharper cornering in bends. In addition the X5’s new electro-hydraulic braking system also offer shorter braking and more progressive modulation. To sum up, not much to complain about. The X5 is expensive, and options packages prices are also high. But in admission to the BMW brand you are gaining an incredible amount of SUV for in terms of luxury, performance and technology. It is beautifully finished and a joy to drive and own. Highly recommended.
2019 BMW X5 40i xDrive: Base price: $71,500 Price as tested with options: $88,900. Website: www.bmw.ca