The 2015 BMW X5 was first launched back in 1999, at a time when SUV competition wasn’t particularly stiff. Its rivals included the Land Rover Discovery, which looked more like a tractor’s cousin than an accommodating car, and the planet-sized Toyota Land Cruiser. The SUV market has come a long way since then, but the burning question, has the new BMW X5 managed to keep up? Let’s take a closer look at what the BMW X5 M Estate X Drive offers.
Most of the engine range found for the BMW X5 M Estate X Drive comprises diesels, including the 2.5d, the 3.0d, the 4.0d and the 5.0d, with the only one which isn’t a 2.0-litre being the 5.0d. Buyers can also get their hands on a 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol unit if they want to buy one of the 5.0i models. The 5.0d 3.0-litre power plant has displaced the outgoing 3.0-litre engine and represents a big improvement. It still makes a fair amount of noise, but no where near as much, whilst performance is effortless. The 4.4-litre V8 is also a tasty piece, as it comes with super sharp performance and now develops 444bhp – overshadowing its predecessors output of 401bhp. Economy has also been slightly improved, too.
If you opt for a standardising driving setup, you’ll be lumbered with steel springs, passive anti-roll bars and conventional dampers. Whilst this is no bad thing in and of itself, you need to contrast it with what you could get – air-sprung rear suspension, active anti-roll bars, electronically adjusted dampers and cross-axle torque vectoring. This makes handling exemplary, whilst agility is satisfying. Moreover, whilst the BMW X5 M Estate X Drive is fairly bulky, it feels nimble when on the road. Steering is accurate and stable.
Pros and Cons
On the outside, the 2015 BMW X5 M Estate X Drive looks as though it’s benefited from a number of revisions so as to distance itself from its predecessor, but under its skin, not too much has changed. Indeed, the platform is pretty much the same as. What has changed is that the new BMW X5 has lost a bit of weight, largely thanks to the addition of an aluminium bonnet. The newly lightweight nature has been further enhanced by thermoplastic side panels, but we could argue that a little bit more could have been done to reduce some more weight.
Whilst the original BMW X5 M Estate X Drive might have been the SUV of choice back in 1999, it now has a whole host of rivals, and one area it comes up short when compared to a Range Rover Sport (and even the Porsche Cayenne) is its interior. Don’t get us wrong, though, the new BMW X5 houses a seriously sophisticated interior which leaves you in doubt that you’re behind the wheel of a premium product. It comes adorned in polished wood, aluminium and double-stitched leather, whilst buyers get to choose between either comfort or sports seats. It’s just that the Range Rover Sport is a bit more plush. If that’s even possible (it is). Boot space here is competitive though, with 650-litres on offer, whilst the fact that sat-nav comes as standard is a nice touch.
Facts and Figures
BMW X5 M Estate X Drive offers out from around £42,945 and rises to about £90,000. There are 2 trim levels available, the SE and the M Sport. Standard equipment across the range includes 18” alloys, metallic paint, Xenon headlights, as well as LED fog plus tail lights and automatic split rear tailgate. Anyone who finds themselves in an electric seat will be treated to DAB radio, Bluetooth and dual zone climate control. The price tag for the entry level variants see them cheaper than a rival Range Rover Sport, whilst running costs are competitive, with the most frugal option the 2.5d, which returns 50.4mpg.
The 2015 BMW X5 M Estate X Drive comes with a number of compromises. It can be easy to argue that it’s still retained the sporty look it had back in 1999, which ultimately means the designers have been bereft of imagination. But we’d argue that this is no bad thing, as it looks just great. And whilst there is no doubting a cabin that comes with comfort and luxury, others might argue that steering feedback is flawed whilst the M 5.0d price tag is unreachable. Overall, the new BMW X5 is not the class-leader it was back in 1999, but it’s still a very fine off-road cruiser.
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