We take over a BMW X5 for a long term test. It’s BMW’s most popular model here in NZ, what makes the X5 so desirable?
You’re looking at the best selling BMW in New Zealand. The X5 is the most popular model line and the 30d is the one most people opt for. X5 has a broad range of options but the mix has changed recently. It used to be an all diesel line-up, but you have to keep up with changing trends. The 2017 X5 range starts off with the entry level 25d with its four-pot oiler, then there’s the six-cylinder 30d, the more powerful 40d, the slightly mad M50d and the range now includes the hybrid 40e and the V8-powered 50i which sees the X5 covering price points ranging from $109,900 to $164,900. And we can’t forget the X5M at $202,900.
We’ve taken over an X5 30d for the next few months, in the most popular colour and fitted with the most popular option of the M sport package. The 30d starts at $129,900, and countering aggressive moves from Mercedes-Benz around specification levels, the X5 now has a renewed and more replete list of standard features. About the only thing we can think that it lacks for is lumbar support for the front seats, an $800 option. But there’s the suite of active safety features, dubbed Driving Assistant Plus which, with its camera- and radar-based systems, manages lane departure, collision avoidance, pedestrian detection, and active cruise with the stop and go function, the latter helping take care of slow moving traffic jams.
There’s also speed limit information, the forward facing camera reading the road signs ahead and relaying the limit via the head-up display. It’s a helpful feature, as long as you don’t have polarised sunglasses – these render the head-up data all but invisible. There’s also a multi-view camera, smart key, and seats with heaters and a memory function. Yet you can still go sick on options; night vision, a glass roof, and a $10k sound system, while the kids would love the rear seat entertainment pack. Adding more to the luxury buyer experience, you get to choose interior trim finishes, though I wouldn’t have gone for the woody look inside. And it will be the brave and bold that decide on the $5000 interior upgrade to fine Nappa leather in Ivory White.
The iDrive system has been updated with a wider 10-inch screen and improved resolution. It also adds some touchscreen functionality to complement the iDrive rotary controller, making the whole thing easier to use. There’s a seemingly endless depth to the iDrive system; it even features short animated videos explaining the benefits of all the systems such as xDrive AWD and the active safety gear. There’s 20Gb of music storage and all of BMW’s ConnectedDrive technology, which is another layer of the ownership experience we will relay in the next report. The main dials too have been upgraded to a multifunctional display, the instruments changing depending on the drive mode selected.
Like other luxury Euro brands, there are now more option packages available, grouping a few popular extras together to lower the overall cost. The most popular pack is the M sport option which includes a different front and rear bumper and side sills, black detailing and window tints. There’s also the bigger 20-inch wheels, and lowered M sport suspension, while inside it gains sports design seats, revised gauges, M steering wheel and alternative finishings. All up it adds $5500 to the price.
Other options fitted here are the electrically folding tow bar ($2400) which is unlikely to get any use in our time but the addition of the third row of seating will come in handy. You don’t really think of the X5 as a seven-seater option, and while the sixth and seventh seats are more suited to halflings than adults, they fold away easily into the floor and the access via the tilting second row is good too. This is part of the Family Package at $2990, which also adds sunblinds to the rear doors. However, this vehicle was optioned and built prior to the new options packages becoming available, so missed out on the shades which, if you ferry young ones around, actually get used quite often.
The 30d has a bristling engine – you wonder why you’d spend the extra $10k on the 40d as 190kW and 560Nm seem to be enough urge for the drive to work. The surge is a tad addictive and that means fuel use isn’t as stellar as suggested. The 30d has a claimed average of 5.9L/100km, but we doubt we’ll ever get close. The urban use test figure is quoted as 7.1L/100km, but even so, the average so far is 10.3. We’ll have to use the rigged-for-economy Eco Pro mode more often to lower that figure.
The variable xDrive system puts all of the output to effective use, not one Nm wasted, while this family wagon has rubber a Porsche GT3 would be proud to parade with 275/40R20s on the front and 315/35R20s on the rear. The ride is rather relaxed despite the sports look, with both air suspension on the rear and adaptive dampers.
The one feature we don’t like is the X5’s split tailgate arrangement, the top section powered and notably quick in its action, but then you still have to unlatch the lower section. Seems a single door would be a better solution, like on the X3. But if that’s the only thing to moan about after our term is up, we’ll be more than happy.
|BMW X5 xDrive30d
|2933cc, IL6, 190kW/560Nm
|8-speed automatic, AWD