First Drive – BMW X5 M50d

The X5 accounts for almost a third of all BMW models sold globally

The X5 accounts for almost a third of all BMW models sold globally

The new BMW X5 is here on November 16th, but some of us just couldn’t wait that long! We went to Goodwood Estate, the home of the Festival of Speed, to try out the new model.

What is it? This is the latest version of the BMW X5. Since its launch it has always been a firm favourite with fashion conscious on-the-go moms.

First impressions of the new BMW X5.   BMW have finely tuned the X5 rather than redesigned it. Restyled headlamps now slide the whole way across the front and the chrome slated kidney grille has been adjusted so it looks more like the rest of the family.  Overall its not the  most successful makeover in history, the macho bulging wheel arches and wide tyres that gave the previous model such a looming presence have given way to a more car-like stance that is not nearly as appealing.

What about the interior? What the X5 lacks on the outside it makes up for on the inside. The dashboard is beautifully uncluttered with a variety of materials and textures that exude quality. From the black gloss and white leather to the ambient lighting you are cosseted in  pure luxury. The seats are both supportive and soft and visibility all round is excellent. Room is good front and back and even middle seat passengers won’t feel like they have drawn the short straw. There is also an optional third row of seats making it a seven-seater

The 40:20:40 split in the middle row is new and allows for much greater flexibility than before. With the seats upright there is 650 litres of luggage space.

Inside there is more rear leg room, a larger boot and more versatile seating

Inside there is more rear leg room, a larger boot and more versatile seating

And behind the wheel? At the launch we had a chance to sample the M50d.

BMW X5 on-road:  The X5 soaks up bumps in the road beautifully. It is remarkably agile for its size and it tackles bends like a car half its size but it is cornering at speed where you truly appreciate the effort and expense that went into the X5′s development. There is also no wind or engine noise inside the cabin. On the downside the steering is less than impressive; heavy at low speeds it’s a little too numb and disconnected at faster speeds.

BMW X5 off road:  The X5 may look like it’s equipped with rugged off-road capabilities but looks can be deceptive. Now for this first time ever not all models have four wheel drive there is a two wheel drive option. At the launch we “off roaded” through a wet and slippery forest and mounted a few hilly embankments. While we are not totally convinced a standard car could not have achieved the same the X5 is certainly good enough for the purposes to which it’s most likely to be put.

How Much? The entry level BMW X5 costs £42,590. This is not however a four wheel drive version, the same model with x drive will cost you £44,895. Our test car the M50d costs £63,715 while the range topping xDrive 50i M Sport will set you back £63,920

How Safe? The X5 has yet to be independently crash tested by the Euro NCAP but it comes with a suitably impressive army of active safety systems that help keep you and yours safe including forward collision warning, lane departure warning, preventive pedestrian protection and city collision mitigation

What about my options: The BMW X5 is available in a variety of trim levels, the basic being SE model. Three packages can be added to SE version to add a variety of interior and exterior trim finishes; they are Design, Pure and Experience. BMW also provides an M Sport package, which adds M-inspired body styling, sports seats, adaptive M suspension, quad exhaust pipes and a host of external M badges.

3 words to describe the BMW X5; Sporty; Potent; Agile

For more information check out BMW.co.uk or the BMW UK Facebook page


Geraldine Herbert

30th October, 2013

Author: Geraldine Herbert

Motoring journalist Geraldine Herbert is the founder of wheelsforwomen. A jury member for the International Women’s World Car of the Year, she has been a motoring journalist for over ten years and is the motoring expert for Good Housekeeping Magazine and their “Women at the Wheel” section of goodhousekeeing.co.uk. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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