Our time with BMW’s X5 30d has come to an end, and it was an uneventful affair in terms of its dependability.
The X5 is a made-for-the-US BMW, and the early generation models weren’t without their faults. But the quality and reliability of this latest model are impeccable, the robust build and luxury fit out goes some way to justifying the six-figure price tag of the X5. The interior surfaces all absorbed the rigours of family life well, none of the plastics easily scratching (just the shiny surround of the swish looking key fob when you drop it) and nothing broke. No faults to note either, nothing at all, no squeaks, no rattles unearthed, no niggly electronic control-alt-delete moments. No aspect of the X5 feels underdone either, even the finishing of the boot area is well considered.
An aspect that has never been at fault for the X5 is dynamic ability; it’s one of the true sporting utility vehicles. Recently added to the model is the suite of driver assistant aids, including a collision warning that’s notable for how few false alerts it sounded off.Some systems pick up too many parked cars or other stationary objects as potential dangers, sending off alarms, which you then begin to ignore. We didn’t need the AEB to save our bacon at any point, possibly because we were forever using the active cruise in traffic to keep tabs on following distances. We found this automatic low speed cruise function helps relieve the woe of traffic congestion, and is one aspect of autonomous drive that appeals. And proving how dire the traffic can get, our 103 hours behind the wheel were spent at an average of 33.9km/h. Figures like this make it hard to justify the spend on the 40d or slightly mad 50d models. Though the guy at the Zed station in the identical-looking white X5 with the M sport kit, but with the 40d badge on the flanks, who gave me a knowing mine’s-more-powerful-than-yours glance, might argue otherwise.
The six in the 30d revs well for a big diesel, spinning freely towards 5000rpm like few big oilers will. And as it’s forthcoming with urge, you tend to indulge in a few more revs than strictly necessary. It’s not grand for the consumption figures, but with a fuel use figure in the nines over 3300km for what was largely urban commuting, it’s pretty good for a biggish SUV. This was a similar figure to what we observed with the three-cylinder 318i on test for a week, to put it in perspective. The X5 has a big tank, so while you’ll waste a few minutes of your life as the bowser chugs away filling the big reserve, it’s something you do infrequently, a full tank giving a range of more than 900km. You’d likely get even more on a long open road cruise. We didn’t get away much in the X5, a few family outings to the beach, but no big roadies. With the imminent arrival of number three, we weren’t going far. But young Julia got her first car ride in the back of the X5 home from the hospital.
The sixth and seventh seats fitted as an option to this vehicle found occasional use. Leg room in the rearmost row is cramped, and while the spring-loaded seat in the second row pops out of the way in an easy-to-use fashion to gain access to the rear, it’s on the right hand side only, which is not that great for our market. Can’t complain about the boot space however; it’s cavernous. While the powered tailgate is quick acting, you’re still required to manually unlatch the lower section, although most of the time you tend not to bother with the latter process. And the fold-down section does make a handy seat on occasions out. The more you live with these SUVs, the more you understand why they are so popular; they handle everything you might ever need to do.
We wonder if the next X5 will have doors that cover the sills completely. The new Land Rover Discovery has such a design, and it means when you open the door, the sill is left clean, and so to the leg of your trouser when you exit. The next X5 is still a way off yet though, the current model due a facelift soon. The new model will use the platform of the 7 and 5 Series to deliver a lighter vehicle, and it is expected to debut a year after the new X7 arrives in 2018, which will be a full seven-seater model along the lines of Merc’s big GLS.\