A quick drive in the BMW X5

The current BMW X5 line-up features various petrol engines, a diesel engine and now a plug-in hybrid engine with a purely electric range of 80km. I recently spent a couple days with the middle of range X5 xDrive40i; xDrive designates all-wheel drive and 40i designates that it is powered by a 3.0 litre, twin turbocharged V6 petrol engine.

All-wheel drive doesn’t equate to four-wheel drive, so if you want to take your X5 further off-road than a gravel road you will need to opt for the optional xOffroad Package, which is available on the 40i and xDrive 30d models. My X5 was fitted with the optional trailer tow hitch at a cost of $2,500 and its towing capacity is 2,700kg.

There is plenty of sting from the 3.0 litre, twin turbocharged, 6-cylinder petrol engine and the X5 is definitely not slow off the mark. The 250kW and 450Nm of torque can accelerate the X5 from 0-100km/h in just 5.5 seconds. The official combined fuel consumption is 9.2l/100km and for my time with the X5 I used 11.9l/100km of 95RON petrol driving predominately in Sport mode. There are three other drive modes in the X5 being Eco-pro, Comfort and Adaptive and whichever mode I used I found the X5 had a comfortable ride and was pleasant to drive.

The blacked-out look of this X5 included Black Sapphire metallic paint ($2,000 option) and 22-inch alloy wheels in Bicolour Jet Black ($3,900 option). On the inside it has black Vernasca leather, black stitching and black interior to finish the look off. A black interior is certainly a must have if you have children as I find getting light marks out of dark materials is much easier than getting dark marks out of a light interior. One negative I found though, I was scraping the painted skirts below the door sill when I got in and out as they protruded quite a long way out and with the black paint they would easily become scratched.

The leather steering wheel was nice to hold and has voice control accessed by a button with a microphone on it rather than the silhouette of a face. But for some reason the voice control on my X5 did not work at all and this is very unusual for the BMW system, which is among the best I have used. I suspect the system may have just needed a control alt delete to reset it?

I liked the Aluminium Tetragon mesh look on the centre console and across the dash, but not the gloss black where you operate the controls on the centre console. The mesh also looks great at night under one of the 12 ambient lighting colour settings available in the X5. For convenience at the front of the centre console there are two cup holders, one 12V outlet, one standard USB port, wireless charging for compatible devices and here beside it is a space ideal for sunglasses. I also noticed that under the arm rest there was one micro USB port.

Another great feature was the climate control in the front that could be individually set the temperature, speed and mode for driver and passenger. This is particularly good for me as I like to be warmer than my husband and I could put the controls on my cold feet only for extra warmth along with the heated seats. The front seats were comfortable and had side bolstering, head rests could be adjusted to go up/down and in/out for added comfort, but there was no lumbar support. Also the driver’s seat has two memory positions but the passenger’s seat had none.

The X5 comes with BMW Live Cockpit Professional with 12.3 inch instrument display and high resolution 12.3 inch Infotainment Display that includes navigation with split screen function accessed by touch display or iDrive (rotary) controller. Your media options in the X5 include AM/FM radio, DAB, 32GB on-board storage and Bluetooth.

The rear seats are very roomy and comfortable for two adults to use. There are two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points and with careful seat selection there would be enough room for three car seats across the back. If only two seats are in use you can fold down the centre seat as an arm rest. It has a storage cubby within it and two fold out drink holders at the front or you can store a large drink bottle in the door cubby.

Rear passengers only get central air vents with manual temperature and speed control. At the base of these is one 12V outlet and for devices there is a mounting point on the back of each front seat with a micro USB port next to each for charging. Also handy are the lights under the front seats to make it easier to find that lost cuddly in the middle of the night. If you know, you know.

The boot is good size in five seat configuration of the X5 and would fit a pram and the weekly shop easily. But when the lower half of the tailgate is down it is difficult to reach the very back of the boot. When you lift the boot floor there is a gas strut to hold up the boot floor so you can easily access the space saver spare tyre and removable cargo net. I could not see where the cargo net mounts though in the X5? For variable storage options the rear seats can be manually raised or lowered and have a 40/20/40 split fold. You can open and close the boot using the key fob or from driver’s seats but the X5 does not come with a gesture open boot.

The X5 40i comes standard with many driver safety aids including Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Assist, Front Collision Warning, Side Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning with or without steering intervention, Lane Change Warning with or without steering intervention and a 360o rear view camera with sensors.

Passive safety features include dual frontal, side chest-protecting and side head-protecting (curtain) airbags and a driver knee airbag. The BMW X5 has a 5-star ANCAP safety rating (2018), but this ANCAP safety rating only applies to variants with a 3.0 litre diesel engine; other variants are ‘unrated’. The Adult Occupant Protection rating is 34.2 out of 38 (89%) and the Child Occupant Protection is 42.9 out of 49 (87%). ANCAP also advises if you have an X5 with a third row of seats that “Installation of child restraints in the third row is not recommended as there are no top tether anchorages.”

All new BMWs come with a three years unlimited kilometre warranty and 24/7 BMW Roadside Assistance. The BMW Service Inclusive Basic package covers your scheduled servicing needs for 5 years or 80,000 km, whichever comes first. For the X5 this package costs $2,150 and includes your annual vehicle checks, oil changes, all filters, spark plugs and labour costs for the duration of the package.

Prices for the BMW X5 xDrive40i M Sport Package start at $120,900 plus on-roads and as tested my X5 was $130,300 plus on-roads. Visit your preferred BMW dealer to learn more about the entire premium X5 range.

ProsCons
Elegant interior and exterior designVoice control was not working
Good performance from the V6 petrol engineOnly basic climate control for rear passengers
Individual front climate control for temp, speed & modeI scraped the painted skirt below the door sill

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.