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Driven: BMW springs surprise base X5 from $82,900

Rejuvenation: BMW's top-selling X5 has entered a new generation.

Rear-drive, $83k four-pot diesel sDrive25d kicks off all-new BMW X5 range

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14 Nov 2013

BMW’s third-generation X5 is tackling Mercedes-Benz’s popular M-Class model-for-model, kicking off with an all-new $82,900 (plus on-road costs) sDrive25d variant.

On sale from November 16, the new entry-level version of Australia’s best-selling luxury SUV introduces a four-cylinder engine, as well as two-wheel drive, to the range for the first time.

However, actual customer deliveries won’t commence until March next year.

The all-wheel-drive-equipped xDrive25d is also available, for a $5000 premium.

But BMW believes the $99,900 xDrive30d six-cylinder turbo-diesel with AWD will remain the most popular X5, despite costing nearly $8000 more than the previous E70 version.

According to BMW Group Australia general manager of marketing Toni Andreevski, the inclusion of nearly $25,000 worth of previously optional or unavailable equipment will help offset the price increases for the completely redesigned F15 series.

“On average the new X5 range is about 20 per cent better value than its predecessor,” he told GoAuto at the X5 launch in New Zealand this week.

The xDrive30d now includes 19-inch alloy wheels, bi-Xenon high-intensity discharge headlights, LED front fog-lights, anti-dazzle interior and external mirrors, an upgraded ‘BMW Professional’ satellite navigation system, an automatic tailgate, electric front seats, improved audio with internet functionality and a ‘Driver Assistant’ package with lane departure, forward collision and pedestrian warning and a reversing camera with 360-degree surround-view.

Additionally, every X5 model now offers better packaging, higher performance and significantly better fuel economy compared to their predecessors, thanks to improved efficiencies.

With 1.3 million sales globally and 37,000 sold in Australia since the original X5’s launch here in 2000, it is easy to see why BMW hasn’t stirred the successful recipe too much.

While similar visually, no body panels are interchangeable, while the front and rear proportions have gently altered thanks to longer front and rear overhangs. For pedestrian-impact purposes, the bonnet now sits higher than before.

Probably the only real styling differentiation is the integration of the headlights with the kidney grille, for a more tapered front-end look.

Overall length and width have grown by 35mm (to 4886mm) and 56mm (to 1938mm) respectively, but the 2933mm wheelbase remains the same, while overall height (1762mm) drops by 2mm. Kerb weight falls up to 40kg, depending on the model. At 2070kg, the xDrive30d is 5kg lighter, for example.

Inside, the seats have been ergonomically improved, while BMW’s latest interpretation of its driver-orientated dashboard design is another highlight.

Along with the dash’s new wraparound effect that extends to the rear doors, there are new lighting packages as well as optional rear-seat screens.

The dash’s central screen is a 10.25-inch item linked to BMW’s iDrive system, offering the brand’s sophisticated Connect Drive Office technology that allows for dictation of emails, among a myriad of other media-related duties.

Small increases in cargo capacity (up 30 litres to 650 litres, or 120L to 1870L with the rear seat folded) make for a more practical family carry all. A third-row option is also available, ranging from $3200 to $4600 depending on the variant.

Speaking of which, there are seven distinct variants on offer at launch – the aforementioned rear-drive sDrive25d, as well as the AWD-equipped xDrive25d, 30d, 35i, 40d, 50i, and range-topping M50d.

EU6 emissions compatible, each employs ZF’s eight-speed automatic transmission (with paddle-shifters from the xDrive35i and up), while the AWD versions feature BMW’s ‘Intelligent’ full-time system with infinitely variable torque distribution.

The sDrive25d and xDrive25d use a 1995cc 2.0-litre four-cylinder twin-turbo diesel engine producing 160kW of power at 4400rpm and 450Nm of torque between 1500 and 2500rpm.

Hitting the 100km/h mark from standstill in 8.2 seconds on the way to a 220km/h top speed, the 1995kg rear-drive model consumes an average of 5.8 litres per 100 kilometres and emits 152 grams per kilometre of carbon dioxide emissions, as compared to the 2040kg AWD version’s 6.0L/100km and 157g/km ratings.

The 2070kg xDrive30d, meanwhile, switches to a 2993cc 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder variable-geometry turbo diesel unit, delivering 190kW at 4000rpm, 560Nm from 1500 to 3000rpm, 6.9s to 100km, 230km/h top speed, 6.2L/100km, and 162g/km of CO2 emissions.

A more powerful version of this engine in the $115,900 xDrive40d adds another turbocharger for 230kW at 4400rpm and 630Nm from 1500 to 2500rpm, for a 5.9s run to 100km/h and a 236km/h V-max, but with identical consumption figures despite a 40kg weight penalty.

Yet another iteration of this torque monster is used for the $147,900, 2190kg, M50d, bringing 280kW between 4000 and 4400rpm and 740Nm between 2000 and 3000rpm, for a 5.3s race past 100km/h to 250km/h, with a penalty of 6.7L/100km and 177g/km.

Petrol-powered X5 fans must pay a minimum of $106,900 for the xDrive35i, with its 2979cc 3.0-litre Twin Scroll turbo engine pumping out 225kW between 5800 and 6000rpm and 400Nm from 1200 to 5000rpm. Tipping in at 2030kg, it manages 0-100km/h in 6.5s, 235km/h, 8.5L/100km and 197g/km.

Finally there’s the xDrive50i from $133,900. The cheapest V8, its 4395cc 4.4-litre powerplant offers up 330kW at 6000rpm and 650Nm from 2000 to 4500rpm, to help the 2175kg SUV sprint to 100km/h in just 5.0s, hit the speed limiter at 250km/h, and average 10.5L/100km and 244g/km. The latter is a 15 per cent improvement over the E70 equivalent, by the way.

An aluminium bonnet and some composite side panels, as well as improved aerodynamics (0.31Cd) help with reduced consumption, as does BMW’s Efficient Dynamics technology such as idle/stop and regenerative braking.

As with the previous version, the X5 uses an electrically powered rack and pinion steering, a double-track control arm front end and a multi-link ‘Integral-IV’ rear axle.

Air suspension with auto-levelling is available, along with a host of other driver-aid technologies like active steering, radar cruise control with ‘Stop and Go’, low-speed automatic braking, and lane-departure and blind spot warning systems.

BMW says the standard suspension provides significantly improved ride comfort, while six and eight cylinder models bring the option of Adaptive M Suspension with Dynamic Damper control and air suspension on the rear axle.

Like the X6, Dynamic Performance Control is also available, as part of the Adaptive Suspension packages, bringing variable torque distribution between the rear wheels for improved traction.

Other options include Night Vision using special technology for improved very low-light safety, high-beam assistance that automatically dips the lights to normal beam, Two exterior design themes are available – the more off-road like Experience that BMW describes as “powerful, masculine and robust”, and the Excellence – “luxury, elegant and status conscious”.

With 19 per cent of the Luxury SUV market compared to 15.6 per cent for the newer M-Class (year-to-date to October VFACTS), the outgoing X5 is as popular as it has ever been, and BMW expects the same to continue with the F15.

Australian sales currently account for 15 per cent of total global annual volume.

“We’ve been a dominant player in this segment, and it has been increasing year-on-year… we expect the new X5 to continue that trend,” Mr Andreevski said.

While BMW won’t divulge volume expectations, the X5 should at least match the circa-2770 units the E70 achieved last year.

2013 BMW X5 pricing*
sDrive 25d (a) $82,900
xDrive 25d (a) $87,900
xDrive 30d (a) $99,900
xDrive 35i (a) $106,900
xDrive40d $115,900
xDrive 50i (a) $133,900
M50d (a) $147,900
*Excludes on-road costs.

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