Third generation BMW X5 revealed
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BMW has released extensive details of its third generation X5. While the big SUV appears to receive a relatively minor overhaul on the outside, the changes run deep. BMW claims that all versions are more efficient than before, yet higher performing. More equipment comes as standard too, but there's also a lot more on the options list to allow buyers customise their cars. Last, but certainly not least, the X5 will be offered in sDrive25d guise, which, to those not familiar with the company's naming strategy, means the first ever two-wheel drive BMW X5.
While the overall profile of the X5 appears unchanged, the detailing brings the big SUV into line with the rest of the BMW range. The most obvious differences are up front, where a wide kidney grille extends to the restyled headlights, which themselves stretch further into the car's bodywork. In the range-topping '50' models Xenon headlights are standard, while LED front fog lights and distinctive Adaptive LED Headlights are optional throughout.
BMW has come up with more capitalised names for its new aerodynamic trickery too. Air Curtains are apparently formed around the wheel openings to smooth out the flow of air and reduce drag, aided by Air Breathers in the side panels. At the rear there are Aero Blades, which we believe are the small black panels either side of the back window. New rear LED lights are incorporated too, mimicking those of the BMW X3.
The brown car you see in the photo gallery is painted in 'Sparkling Brown Brilliant Effect', a new option in a choice of 11 finishes.
The layout of the interior is largely the same as before, but it's a complete redesign in terms of the shape and material of every surface. The instrumentation now features a lot more 'black panel' technology and the infotainment screen has been updated to BMW's latest wide-screen standalone item - up to 10.5 inches depending on options. And options seem to be high on the list of BMW's priorities for this model, as there are seven upholstery colours, as well as the packages described below. Comfort and sports seats are available up front, while seat heating and individual Comfort seats are offered in the rear for the first time. There's a seven-seat option as before and the boot has grown by 30-to 650 litres (in five-seat guise presumably). The upper section of the tailgate opens and closes electronically on all models.
At launch, the BMW X5 will be available in three guises. There's the 450hp xDrive50i powered by a twin-turbocharged petrol V8 engine that hits 100km/h from rest in just 5.0 seconds; and the M50d model, which isn't far behind thanks to a tri-turbocharged (that's right, three turbos) 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel engine, producing 381hp and an astounding 740Nm of torque. Clearly they're both specialised machines and the majority of buyers in this part of the world will be more interested in the xDrive30d model, with its 3.0-litre (single turbo) diesel engine producing a still healthy 258hp and 560Nm of torque. It does 0-100km/h in 6.9 seconds yet returns 45.6mpg (6.2 litres/100km) on the combined cycle and emits as little as 162g/km, putting it in Band D for road tax.
However, if low emissions are your thing, you'll be waiting around for the first ever two-wheel drive BMW X5, the sDrive25d model, which emits just 149g/km. Presumably it sends its power to the rear wheels and that designation suggests it'll feature a twin-turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine under the bonnet. In the X1 xDrive25d this produces 218hp and 450Nm. BMW will offer this engine with and without four-wheel drive in the new X5. It won't be available until December 2013, when the xDrive40d and xDrive35i variants also come on stream.
Bolted to all engines in the line-up will be BMW's excellent eight-speed automatic transmission, featuring stop-start and a new coasting function. A Driving Experience Control switch is standard (allowing Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Eco Pro modes), but buyers may enhance the car's ability by opting for Comfort, Dynamic and Professional adaptive suspension packages or Adaptive M and Active Steering.
Along with the M Sport trim level BMW has added two new design packages, called Design Pure Experience and Design Pure Excellence. These affect the interior and exterior, but the two can be separated and buyers can mix and match as they wish. The former's exterior emphasises the X5's off-road nature, while its cabin is described as 'dark yet warm'. Meanwhile, the Design Pure Excellence package uses more expensive looking materials inside and out, including more chrome.
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