Yes, muttering the word BMW is synonymous with luxury and while the German powerhouse might argue that the X5 isn’t an SUV but rather a SAV (sport activity vehicle), the first of its kind, there’s no denying it’s an absolutely lavish beast that commands impressive attention and is a popular model. The proof is in the sales figures, where one out of every BMW sold is an X5.
So what’s changed with the new model? Well, you might be forgiven for thinking very little, but upon closer inspection you realise this German has an entirely new facade. The familiar kidney grille has been enlarged and now meets the twin circular headlights to give it a more pronounced look. The exterior is imposing and elegant as the long stretched silhouette is complemented by the swage line over the wheel arches.
At the rear the changes are again subtle, as the car retains the horizontal lines emphasised by the robust stance of the X5. While the new thin, three-dimensional LED light strips of the two-section L-shaped rear lights create a striking night-time look. Preserving the distinctive X5 physique, the new model’s interior is generously sized and the renowned elegance can be found throughout the cabin.
Some of the welcomed changes inside include the ambient lighting designs and redesigned instrument cluster while the clear 10.2-inch control display screen is now freestanding and moves away from the one previously integrated into the dashboard design. It’s a car fit for a king that isn’t flashy and wants functionality, because this BMW isn’t just a pavement hopper and in fact does boast some off-road credentials, as we experienced on the launch.
We got to play in the dirt and while the X5 is by no means a fully-fledged off-roader - given its tall stance and powerful drivetrains - this lavishly suited vehicle made short work of the dusty and sandy roads. But where it really shines is on the black stuff, as it prances and floats about in its luxury attire, transporting its passengers in the utmost comfort.
Currently, there are three powertrains on offer. The sublimely economical xDrive30d, with its six-cylinder in-line diesel engine incorporates a range of detail improvements. The 3.0-litre engine now develops maximum power of 190kW (up by 10kW) and maximum torque of 560Nm (up by 20Nm). Capable of doing the 0-100km/h sprint in a claimed 6.9 seconds, it will also average 6.2 litres/100km.
For those looking for a little more gusto, the sporty X5 xDriveM50d gets a 3.0-litre straight-six unit, in this case featuring M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology with three-stage turbocharging. This engine has a maximum output of 280kW and develops peak torque of 740Nm. It charges to 100km/h in just 5.3 seconds and has a claimed fuel consumption of 6.7 litres/100km. For the power hungry among us, the X5 xDrive50i is the pick of the bunch. Utilising the new-generation V8 engine, it generates 330kW of power and 650Nm of torque and will complete the 0-100km/h shuffle in 5 seconds while drinking around 10.4 litres/100km of fuel.
The BMW X5 line-up will expand later. The X5 xDrive35i (225 kW) will be released as well as the xDrive40d (230 kW).
Pricing for the new BMW X5 range start at R769 900 and includes the company’s 5-year/100 000km Motorplan.