THIS IS ONE AMAZING CAR…
Paul Agnew takes the new BMW X5 for a test drive and discovers a car that is filled with technology and fun to drive too. Photography: Paul Currie
Every generation, a car comes along that simply takes your breath away.
The magnificent new BMW X5 is that very car – and some. It is so sophisticated, so intelligent and so damned confident that even a driver could be considered among the ‘extras’.
To say that everything is available ‘at the touch of a button’ isn’t strictly true either. Many features only require voice instruction and you can even carry out some tasks (like turning up the volume on the radio) by simply waving your fingers! They call it ‘gesture control’.
For such a big and imposing vehicle with an awful lot going on – including all that is so good about BMW engineering – there is also a genuine sense of fun about this fourth generation BMW X5.
Based on the model I was lucky enough to experience, there is plenty to whet the appetite of car enthusiasts in terms of power, performance, comfort and style.
The BMW X5 xDrive30d, fitted with 3.0-litre, straight-six diesel engine produces 261bhp and 620Nm of torque which, like all new BMW X5s, is fed through an eight-speed gearbox to an all-wheel-drive system. It will cover the standard 0-62mph sprint in just 6.5 seconds.
Longer, wider and taller than its predecessor, the most notable visual change comes at the front where two huge kidney grilles, with active air-flaps to improve aerodynamic efficiency, dominate the face. These are flanked by BMW’s LED laser headlights, which have the ability to shine up to 500 metres ahead on full beam. Yes, a third of a mile!
At the back, the split tailgate gives access to a 650-litre boot, which expands to 1,870-litres with the rear seats folded. An optional hands-free tailgate and electronically retractable load cover provide additional practicality.
The BMW X5’s cabin has also evolved in favour of a more minimalist look. The standard 12.3-inch infotainment system controls the majority of its functions via the iDrive controller, touch, voice and gesture commands. A second 12.3-inch display sits behind the steering wheel in place of a traditional gauge cluster.
BMW say ‘technology is plentiful’ and, to be frank, that almost understates just what is on offer here.
The ever-friendly Parking Assistant is included and can automatically select and manoeuvre the vehicle into parallel parking spaces.
Other options include the Driving Assistant Professional Package, which adds lane departure warning, rear-end collision warning and adaptive cruise control, capable of automatically braking and accelerating the car to motorway speeds from a standstill.
Standard equipment includes leather upholstery, 12.3-inch infotainment display, electrically adjustable heated front seats and air conditioning, wireless smartphone charger, 19-inch alloy wheels and air suspension.
There are numerous options too, available either in packages or individually. As an example, customers can spec the Comfort Plus Package, adding rear seat heaters, comfort seats with massage function, four-zone climate control, rear sunblinds and cupholders which are heated and cooled to keeps your coffee hot and your water cold. What next?
Well there are other quirky features to take your attention, like BMWs Head Up Display that appears illuminated as if by magic on the windscreen. You think it’s a distraction? It isn’t – 10 minutes into the drive and you’ve stopped checking the normal dashboard.
And what about this extra-special feature for anyone who has ever gone the wrong way down a country lane and ended up nose-to-nose with a closed farm gate without sufficient room to turn around.
The clever BMW X5 can re-trace its route in reverse for up to 50 metres, while you sit back and watch it all unfold!
In these highly-technological days when little comes as a surprise, this is truly amazing stuff.
But, then again, this is one amazing car.
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