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Car reviews - BMW - X5 - 4.6is

The Car

21 Aug 2002

"UNDERSTATED elegance" - that's how BMW describes the look of its X5 off-roader. With the 4.6is, however, the purported subtle styling modifications have turned the vehicle more towards wild than mild, as there is nothing subtle about massive 20-inch alloy wheels. They help the sports X5 model standout from the ever-expanding four-wheel drive crowd and give it a hotrod-style presence among its fellow road-goers. The steroid dose can also be seen in the flared wheel arches that are needed to accommodate the wheels within the extremities of the X5's already wide body. Other distinguishing features to separate the 4.6is from its X5 stablemates include body coloured front and rear airdams, which are both fitted with "wind splitters" on their outer edges, as well as large oval tailpipes exiting from either side at the rear of the vehicle.

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The experimental X5 Le Mans is even more extreme than the 4.6is. With a 514kW and 720Nm 6.0-litre V12 engine from the Le Mans-winning McLaren BMW race car under its bonnet, the X5 Le Mans lapped the 20.8km northern circuit of the Nurburgring in mid-2001 in just 7:49.92 minutes at the hands of German racing driver Hans-Joachim Stuck

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