First Drives: BMW X5 xDrive30d by Autocar, Autoexpress
First drives of the 2014 X5 are coming in. The new X5 boasts clean looks, plush, comfortable interior and the 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo diesel engine. But how does how is it on the road? Autocar and Autoexpress got to drive it and here is what they thought.
So the essence of the 1999 X5’s mini-revolution is preserved intact, and this latest edition is pleasingly nimble and precise when the going gets twisty. The keen will enjoy such roads in sport setting, which enlivens the drivetrain, girds the dampers and weights the occasionally uncertain steering to produce a well-resolved driving experience.
And the ride? It swallows most small bumps whole, as promised, although the odd clatter across ridges and potholes in sport suggests that it’s the comfort damping mode you’ll mostly want on Britain’s roads. Given how well the rest of the system performs, it’s unfortunate that in Sport mode setting the steering turns over-light - and you can’t mix and match the steering, drivetrain and suspension settings.
We tried the xDrive 30d, which is as punchy as ever with all the performance you’re likely to need. It sounds familiar too – a distant gruff growl, which gathers into a more distinct snarl as you press hard on the throttle. The extra grunt leads to sharper acceleration - the 0-62mph time drops by 0.7- to 6.9 seconds - but fuel economy and CO2 emissions have improved by 7.4mpg and 31g/km to 45.6mpg and 164g/km.
The X5 has always had impressive handling for a car of its size, and the new model continues the trend. All new X5s will be fitted as standard with BMW’s Driving Experience Control, a toggle switch that lets the driver switch between Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Eco Pro modes.
Comfort really is comfortable, bringing to the X5 a fluidity and level of bump absorption that simply wasn’t present in the old version. Even in Sport mode (Sport+ has the same level of damper stiffness but dials out the assistance from the ESP and traction control) this new X5 has a level of comfort that would have been utterly alien to its predecessor. Unfortunately that means it can’t match the steering feel and chassis responses of its predecessor.
|The sports steering is, however, is one of the few flaws in this plush, practical and decently powerful set of family wheels. The X5 formula is unchanged and, steering apart, its mix of sporting edge and refined, big cabin comfort remains a compelling draw. Buyers will undoubtedly find this to be a very comfortable, very capable, off-road cruiser.|
|These things are relative though and the X5 will still dance rings around the Audi Q7 and Mercedes ML-Class. The fact that BMW has dialled down the dynamics slightly and upped the comfort levels shows they are fully aware of this car’s target customers – people who want a safe, high-riding SUV with an alluring badge on the bonnet. If a customer want to set lap times, they’ll buy an M3, if they need something to drive around the farm, they’ll buy a Land Rover anyway.|
Read the full review by Autocar here.
Read the full review by Autoexpress here.
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