The all-new BMW X5
With a super-successful seven years of its existing model behind it, BMW has launched the all-new X5, a longer and wider replacement for the current model that's range includes a 4.8 litre, 355 HP V8.
The new BMW X5 is the world’s first SUV to be offered with Head-up Display and an active suspension system – BMW’s Adaptive Drive package. It is also the first SUV that can be specified with Active Steering and the first to be shod with Run-flat tyres for added safety. And it's the first BMW to offer a third row of seats.
A choice of three engines is offered, all of which feature increased power compared to the engines in the outgoing model, while also posting more economical consumption figures and reduced emissions. The biggest seller in the UK will be a 2,993cc six-cylinder diesel but the X5 can also be specified with a 2,996cc six-cylinder or a 4,799cc V8.
The BMW X5 4.8i with its 355hp engine is faster from zero to 62mph and has a higher top speed than the supercharged Range Rover Sport or a Mercedes Benz ML500 Sport. The 4,799cc V8 powers the car to 62mph in just 6.5 seconds before going on to a top speed of 150mph (when fitted with the Dynamic Package). Despite such performance, fuel consumption is a respectable 22.6mpg on the combined cycle and emissions are 299g/km.
The new X5 can now be specified with Adaptive Drive and Active Steering – two advanced systems never offered before on a BMW X model. Adaptive Drive uses active hydraulic anti-roll bars to counteract the cornering forces of the car to keep the body from leaning too heavily and unsettling the occupants. In addition to this Adaptive Drive incorporates an Electronic Damper Control system that uses sensors to continuously adjust the damper setting for optimum comfort.
Active Steering uses an electronically operated planetary gear intersecting the steering shaft that adds more lock than inputted by the driver at slow speeds to make parking effortless. When driving at speed the opposite occurs for a smoother, more composed ride.
The BMW X5 can be specified with Head-up Display – a first for a SUV. For enhanced safety the system projects speed, navigation and check control messages into the line of sight of the driver. A further safety benefit is the fitting of Run-flat tyres – again a first for a SUV. The BMW X5 comes fitted with 18-inch alloy wheels and Run-flat tyres as standard with optional 19- and 20-inch alloy wheels offered.
The new X5 can be specified with an optional third row of seats allowing up to seven occupants to be transported in comfort. An increase of 19cms in overall body length and an increase in body width of 6cms has made it possible to introduce a brace of seats in the rear, while still retaining luggage space. However, with all seven seats in place there is still 200 litres of boot space. The two extra seats, complete with three-point seatbelts and head restraints, are stowed under the boot floor when not in use.
BMW X5 owners who do not specify the third row of seats benefit instead from an additional 90-litre storage compartment situated below the boot floor. Whatever seating combination an owner chooses, the new BMW X5 is capable of taking most payloads. In a standard five-seat configuration the boot measures 620 litres – up 155 litres compared to the outgoing X5.
A drag coefficient as low as 0.33 places the BMW X5 at the top of its segment as the most aerodynamically efficient large SUV. This low figure is partly achieved by a rear tailgate that incorporates a roof spoiler and a near flat underbody to aid airflow.
Nine exterior colours are offered initially alongside four levels of trim and seven upholstery colours to allow owners to personalise their X5s.
Supplementing the standard fit front and rear Park Distance Control, X5 customers have the option to specify a rear camera for added parking convenience. Automatically activated when the reverse gear is selected, the driver is presented with a wide-angle colour image on the iDrive display in the centre console.
Since it was launched in 1999, BMW's X5 has sold more than 580,000 vehicles worldwide. The pricing for the new model will be announced nearer to the spring 2007 UK market launch date.
Text: Classic Driver
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