BMW has, at somewhat long last, pulled the veil of their 4th-generation X5, a SUV that will now go head to head with other luxury high riding offerings, resting on the new CLAR platform, new exterior, as well as a roomier and more luxurious cabin that looks to fix the shortcomings of its predecessor, the F15, which lasted a mere 4 years in production.
Carrying the codename G05, the all-new X5 has grown larger in all dimensions despite remaining a 5-seater SUV. While this may put it in direct size parity with the Mercedes-Benz GLE, competitors such as the Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90 are larger still, aiding roomies for third-row occupants. Then again, BMW looks to address this capacity gap with the upcoming X7.
Unsurprisingly, the X5 should look quite familiar to anyone who’s already seen the G01 X3. BMW seems to be bent on establishing a clear through line with the design of its new generation of vehicles, and here we see common cues such as the enlarged kidney grilles, slimmer headlights that can be had with laser-assisted LED lamps, and a generally softer design emphasis.
At the rear, the SUV features a split tailgate and, in spite of its larger proportions, actually features a marginally smaller boot than its older model at 640-litres. Overlook this blemish, however, and you’ll be treated to a cabin that’s arguably the most stylishly designed to emerge from BMW in recent memory.
Gone are the button laden dashboards and control surfaces that dominated the interiors of previous models in favour of a more minimalistic approach, with touch sensitive toggles replacing physical ones. The overall layout is still as driver-centric as in previous cars, but the simplification of the various clusters are a most welcome change.
This is mostly credited to the new iDrive infotainment system which has been given more responsibilities to be controlled either via touch, the rotary dial next to the gear shifter, or via gestures and voice. The central panel itself is larger too, measuring 12.3 inches and more tightly placed to the adjacent digital instrument cluster.
In terms of fit and finish, too, BMW looks to be positioning the X5 even more as luxury vehicle. Perhaps it’s just this particular variant, but the fit and finish looks a cut above what we’re used to being from the Munich automaker at this price point.
The X5 will be available with the usual array of turbocharged six cylinder petrol and diesel engines as well as select hybrid variants that augment a 2.0-litre turbo-four. However, a new V8 turbo will be offered from launch along with an M Performance model.
The 4.4-litre eight-cylinder motor, derived from the N63 family of V8s, delivers 340kW and 650Nm to the X5 xDrive50i. Lower down the ladder, the xDrive 40i is supplied with a 250kW/450Nm turbocharged inline-6 petrol. However, the most powerful model yet announced will be X5 M50d, which uses a quad-turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbodiesel to generate 294kW and 760Nm, nearly identical to the 5 Series-based M550d xDrive. In this guise, the 0-100km/h sprint occurs in just 5.2 seconds.
Power is transmitted through an 8-speed automatic in all variants, reaching the wheels via BMW’s new generation all-wheel drive system, able to more responsively split drive torque between the front and rear wheels as well as featuring a locking rear differential.
Similar optimisations have been made to the standard Dynamic Damper Control system, while Adaptive M suspension Professional with active roll stabilisation and Integral Active Steering (making its debut in a BMW X model) enable extremely agile and dynamic driving. Customers can also now option a new Off-Road Package that adds four new terrain-dependent drive modes, each altering the X5’s ride height, accelerator response, transmission control, and stability control to tackle driving on sand, rock, gravel, or snow.
Convenience-focused technology features are out in full force too, bringing semi-autonomous functions such as Traffic Jam Assist to the fore with the capability to self steer and even merge into a clear lane upon a pull of the indicator stalk. BMW’s autonomous braking now has Emergency Stop Assistant which is able to sense if the driver has become incapacitated, bringing the X5 slowly to a halt in the emergency lane even from across multiple highway lanes.