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First drive: BMW X5 3.0sd climbs twin diesel peaks

Frugal too: BMW's most powerful diesel ever offers 200kW/565Nm.

BMW fits a twin-turbo to its class-leading X5 diesel to create an efficient performer

5 Feb 2008

GREATER efficiency and choice, along with high performance and segment-leading dynamics, are the main attractions of the latest addition to the BMW E70-series X5 luxury SUV.

On sale now, the twin-turbo direct-injection diesel 3.0sd is the first of its type in Australia, as well as BMW’s riposte to the burgeoning ‘fast’ diesel phenomenon typified by the Audi Q7 V8 TDI, Range Rover TDV8 and Volkswagen’s Touareg V10 TDI.

Priced from $102,800 in standard Executive trim, the 3.0sd doesn’t replace the popular 3.0d, which continues unchanged except for a few minor 2008 model year titivations that all X5s bring, such as new front-seat headrests.

But it does add $16,000 to the price of the base ($86,800) X5 3.0d, although that chasm shrinks to $6500 if you compare it to the identically equipped 3.0d Executive.

BMW will not offer an X5 3.0sd in Australia below Executive specification.

The American-made (in Spartanburg, South Carolina) Bavarian SUV undercuts its Audi, Land Rover and Volkswagen rivals by $21,100, $40,100 and $19,190 ($27,190 if you include the R50 V10 TDI) respectively.

Since around 70 per cent of all X5 sales are made up of the 3.0d, BMW is hoping that the 3.0sd will score a sizeable slice of the performance diesel SUV sales cake. It predicts the newcomer will account for about one-in-four X5 diesel sales, which tallies up to approximately 600 units using the SUV’s 2007 performance as a guide.

14 center imageSpeaking of performance, the ‘s’ in X5 3.0sd denotes a 40kW and 65Nm jump in power and torque over the X5 3.0d, for a figure of 200kW at 4400rpm (up from 4000rpm) and 565Nm at 2000rpm (up from 1750rpm) respectively.

The BMW’s power/torque outputs compare to the Q7 4.2 V8 TDI’s 240kW/760Nm, Range Rover TDV8’s 200kW/640Nm, Touareg V10 TDI’s 230kW/750Nm and Touareg R50 V10 TDI’s 258kW/850Nm.

Both X5 3.0-litre diesel powerplants, using a variation of BMW’s M57 engine platform introduced in 1998, are 2933cc in capacity, in-line in design, and have 24 valves.

The twin-turbo is a variable item featuring two turbo-chargers of different sizes. The smaller one works in reducing low-rev turbo lag thanks to its low inertia, while the larger turbine gradually takes over as revs rise for a stronger power delivery right up to the rev limit.

This is the all-aluminium M57D30T2 unit first unveiled in the European-market 730d sedan in 2005.

In Australia, the 3.0sd is mated exclusively to the ZF 6HP26TU six-speed automatic gearbox common to most BMWs.

The ‘s’ in 3.0sd could also stand for ‘sting’, because the official average combined fuel consumption (8.8L/100km) and carbon dioxide emission (233g/km) figures represent a rise of only 0.1L/100km and 2g/km over the 3.0d respectively.

BMW says this is the result of “… advanced engine control and fine tuning of the turbo-chargers” that makes the 3.0sd up to 35 per cent better for CO2 emissions that some rivals.

For the record, the Audi returns 11.1L/100km and 261g/km, the Land Rover 11.3L/100km and 295g/km, and the Touareg twins 12.6L/100km and 333g/km respectively.

The 3.0sd’s top speed is rated at 230km/h (3.0d: 210km/h) while the zero to 100km/h-sprint time is 7.2 seconds (8.6s) – versus 236km/h and 6.4s (Q7), 209km/h and 9.2s (RR TDV8), 231km/h and 7.4s (Touareg V10 TDI) and 235km/h and 6.7s (R50).

In every other way, the both X5 diesels – in Executive trim level – are identical – meaning 18-inch alloy wheels, an electrically adjustable driver’s seat with memory, a rear camera to aid reversing, satellite navigation with monitor, a TV receiver, Bluetooth preparation, a voice recognition system and BMW Assist.

These are on top of the standard X5 features like ABS anti-lock brakes with DTC dynamic traction control and Hill Descent Control, cruise control with a braking function, a start/stop button for the engine, leather upholstery, a six-stack CD player, rain-sensing wipers, auto-on headlights, a multi-function steering wheel, and iDrive with eight favourite buttons.

Options include a $4500 Sport package offering ‘sportier’ (firmer) suspension settings, 19-inch alloy wheels, different front seats, and specific steering wheel, roof lining and trim presentations, as well as Adaptive Drive anti-roll suspension set-up ($6100), self-levelling suspension with pneumatic suspension ($2000) and a panorama glass sunroof ($3500).

The next recipient of the 3.0sd powerplant will be the E71 X6 sports coupe-cum-SUV. Based on the X5 and built on the same US production line, BMW’s strikingly styled segment-buster – that made its production world debut last month in Detroit – is due in Australia in August. It will only be offered in twin-turbo units for the time being.

Despite BMW’s enthusiasm for diesels, the X5 will not receive a smaller turbo-diesel installation such as the 125kW/340Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit offered in the 1, 3, and 5 Series, as well as the X5’s smaller X3 sibling.

Last year, BMW sold 3399 X5s, over 400 more than it did the previous year with the previous-generation E53 version. The first X5 diesel was sold in Australia in early 2003.

2008 BMW E70 X5 pricing:
3.0si (a): $85,000
3.0si Executive (a): $94,500
3.0d (a): $86,800
3.0d Executive (a): $96,300
3.0sd Executive (a): $102,800
4.8i (a): $118,300

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