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BMW X5: Xquisite new X5 Xceeds its Ex

S.Muralidhar | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on January 26, 2011

BMW X5   -  BUSINESS LINE

BMW X5 2011   -  BUSINESS LINE

BMW X5 2011   -  BUSINESS LINE

BMW X5 2011   -  BUSINESS LINE

BMW X5 2011   -  BUSINESS LINE

BMW X5 2011   -  BUSINESS LINE

BMW X5 2011   -  BUSINESS LINE

It would seem like the love for large sports utilities is travelling from the other end of the globe to India. In their attempts at becoming greener, the Americans are fast shedding fat around their waists and their cars. We, on the contrary, in our quest to rediscover the possibilities of mobility, seem to be revelling in the joys of the automotive equivalent of a Maharaja Burger.

SUVs as a class of vehicle are becoming popular in almost all price segments starting from about Rs 7 lakh to Rs 70 lakh. The only difference between the two markets is the ‘diesel, give me more’ here versus the ‘diesel, what is that?’ in the US. The preference for diesels is so strong amongst Indian buyers that they dominate even amongst luxury vehicles; after all we are pre-programmed to look for value even when we indulge in a bit of excess.

The BMW X5, the Audi Q7 and the Mercedes-Benz M-Class have all been some of the best selling SUVs in the luxury segment and in some cases is also the best selling model within the company’s portfolio.

BMW recently launched a refreshed, partly redesigned 2011 version of the X5. The new X5 also gets new equipment including the X6’s more powerful engines. We get to test drive the new X5 and here is our take.

Design

The new X5 is more elegant and yet, hasn’t lost its muscular, butch stance. The changes and redesign are not stark or harsh, but are subtle, yet eye-catching. There is also the strong BMW character that seeps into every new element in the X5.

For one, there is an increased proportion of painted surfaces both in the front and rear of the vehicle. There is much lesser of the black plastic trim that is visible all around the vehicle. This immediately gives the new X5 a better-proportioned, sportier and more dynamic look. It also gives it a filled out, visually ‘planted on the road’ appearance.

The BMW trademarks at the front of the new X5 include the distinctively contoured bonnet, the large-sized kidney grille and dual round headlights slightly cut off at the top. The new X5 boasts a strikingly expressive front end that symbolises increased power and presence thanks to the larger area of the bumper now featuring body paint and the larger airdams.

Also the new interpretation of this look comprises the structure of the front apron and the new position of the fog lamps featured as standard, all of which form a visual triangle that is also a characteristic of BMW X models.

Another new feature is a matt-finished silver under-ride protector that extends across the entire width of the middle air intake, thereby emphasising the muscular features of this sports activity vehicle. Together with the really wide 255/55, low rolling-resistance tyres that are shod on 18-inch alloys, the robust character of the front design of the new BMW X5 gets a further boost.

To enhance visual appeal and extend the off-roading character, the new X5 gets a similar matt-silver under-ride protector at the rear too. The rear bumper also integrates the twin exhaust-pipes. The L-shaped tail-lights of the new X5 have also been redesigned to incorporate BMW’s trademark night-time design of parallel LED light banks.

The surface of the new X5’s bonnet flows seamlessly into the waistline and the sides of the vehicle are elegantly stretched through the dominance of horizontal lines giving it an impression of the classic X5 size.

Engine and Performance

The new X5’s design changes may be subtle, but its change of heart is very discernable. The X5 is now offered with a new generation diesel engine and completely revised petrol unit. The diesel variant in the model range is the new BMW X5 xDrive30d and the petrol variant is the X5 xDrive50i.

The 3-litre diesel engine which is shared by the new BMW X5 with the X6, originates from a new generation of powertrains. Featuring an all-aluminium construction, the latest common rail direct injection technology with piezo injectors and a turbocharger, the 2,993cc straight six-cylinder engine gets impressive power, refinement and unparalleled efficiency. A further reduction in weight compared to its predecessors additionally enhances the agility of the diesel engine that is on offer for the BMW X5.

Its straight six-cylinder engine is supercharged with the help of a a variable turbine geometry turbocharger. The common rail direct injection system operates at a maximum pressure of 1,800 bar. Together they contribute to boosting engine power to a maximum output level of 180 kW or 245 bhp, which is marginally higher than the X6’s and at the same 4,000 rpm. The diesel engine in the X5 also produces a slightly higher maximum torque of 540 Nm between 1,750 and 3,000 rpm.

The new diesel in the X5 makes it one of the most powerful and torquey units in this class, beaten only by the Audi Q7’s 4.2 TDI Quattro. The new BMW X5 xDrive30d accelerates from 0 to 100 kmph in 7.6 seconds and reaches a top speed of 222 kmph. Mind you these are performance numbers for a large SUV. Another highlight is the fact that in spite of having a 7 kW higher output than its predecessor, the X5’s average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle is now 7.4 litres per 100 kms, a ten per cent reduction.

Also on offer is the V8 petrol engine carried over from the X6. Due to the engine featuring BMW’s TwinPower Turbo tech and high precision injection, the output of the new BMW X5 xDrive50i has increased by 39 kW compared with the previous model. The unique 4.4-litre engine has the turbochargers located inside the V section between the cylinder banks, and it develops a sumptuous output of 300 kW or 407 bhp within an engine rpm range of 5,500 to 6,400. Maximum torque generated is a huge 600 Nm between 1,750 and 4,500 rpm. The extremely high-revving V8 engine offers outstanding sporting performance and is also considered the most efficient engine of its kind worldwide.

The X5 xDrive50i accelerates from a standstill to 100 kmph in just 5.5 seconds. Its top speed is rated at 250 kmph. Average fuel consumption according to the EU test cycle is 12.5 litres per 100 kms.

Both the new variants of the X5 have been paired with a new eight-speed automatic transmission with a greater spread of ratios, compared to the previous X5’s six-speed gearbox.

Interiors

The passenger cabin of the new X5 is as inviting as ever. Generous space, luxurious appointments and a functional, yet graceful dashboard are all the typical features with BMW quality etched on them.

A comprehensive range of standard equipment characterise the luxurious style of the new BMW X5. To cater to the preferences of seven passengers, four-zone automatic climate control is available as an alternative to the two-zone version. The iDrive system features a hard disk storage unit for the personal music collection.

BMW ConnectedDrive in the new BMW X5 offers a range of unique driver assistance systems for optimising comfort, safety and for the use of the infotainment functions. In addition to the Head-up Display, Adaptive Cornering Headlights, High-beam Assistant, Park Distance Control and reversing camera with Top View are also available.

For improved safety, in addition to the extremely stiff body structure, the standard equipments include front and side airbags, side head airbags for the front and second-row seats, three-point automatic safety belts for all seats, belt tensioners and belt-force limiters as well as crash-active front headrests and the ISOFIX child seat system at the rear. The new BMW X5 is also equipped with the standard dynamic brake lights, runflat safety tyres and a tyre defect indicator.

Other features

The new X5 also gets BMW’s EfficientDynamics technology, which includes features such as brake energy regeneration and demand-controlled ancillary components, including the electric coolant pump, the map-controlled oil pump, the disengageable air conditioning compressor as well as a transfer box optimised for efficiency. Combined with the weight-saving measures and the optimised aerodynamics including active air vent control, the new X5’s performance and fuel efficiency has gotten a big boost. The new X5 is also packed with more - the intelligent xDrive four-wheel drive system, the Adaptive Drive suspension and body control system and a number of customisation options for the interiors.

Available for Rs 69.5 lakh and Rs 53 lakh for the xDrive50i and the xDrive30d respectively, the new X5 is now much more appealing. Until BMW decides to revive its plans for the X7, the X5 can be as much fun and as luxurious as its previously more endowed cousin – the X6.

Published on January 26, 2011
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