1 Apr 2007
THE E70 X5 landed seven years after BMW’s first SUV wowed Australians, Americans and indeed the world by combining BMW-style driving dynamics and luxury with the practicality of a large high-riding wagon.
After selling more than 600,000 examples globally (and about 16,000 here), BMW raises the bar again with a second-generation X5 that, in typical BMW fashion, brought improvement in all key areas.
Bigger in every dimension and offering noticeably extra rear legroom, the new X5 also offered a third-row seating option for the first time. Though it’s strictly a kids-only zone, the extra flexibility of seven seats gave the E70-series a vastly wider appeal.
Beneath the familiar but more imposing new sheetmetal was a significantly more rigid chassis, redesigned engines, improved transmissions and upgraded suspensions - and of which came at no extra cost or weight, except on V8 variants.
BMW’s first ever seven-seat model rode on a 113mm-longer wheelbase (up to 2933mm) and 68mm and 75mm wider wheel tracks (1644mm front and 1650mm rear respectively). Significantly, the body was 187mm longer (4854mm), and both width (1933mm), height (1766mm) and rear overhang (1062mm) were also up.
At launch the three-variant X5 range comprised the 3.0d turbo-diesel and 4.4i petrol V8-replacing X5 4.8i, plus the entry-level X5 3.0si.
The 3.0si was powered by BMW’s latest Valvetronic-equipped (but not direct-injection) 3.0-litre 24-valve magnesium-alloy petrol inline six. It developed 200kW (up 18 per cent) at 6650rpm and 315Nm of torque (up 11 per cent) from 2750rpm, and sprinted to 100km/h in a claimed 8.1 seconds in auto-only guise. Top speed was quoted at 210km/h and combined EC fuel consumption was 10.9L/100km.
The X5 3.0d was powered by a new all-alloy 24-valve common-rail turbo-diesel inline six that delivered 160kW (up 10kW) at 4000rpm and 500Nm of torque (up 20Nm) at 1750rpm. It offered the same 210km/h top speed as the petrol six, but slightly slower 0-100km/h acceleration (8.6 seconds) and reduced fuel consumption (8.7L/100km).
At the top shelf of the new X5 range was the 4.8i, which replaced the outgoing 4.4i.
In early 2008, BMW brought in Australia’s first twin-turbo direct injection diesel vehicle, the X5 3.0sd. It served 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.
The 3.0sd didn’t replace the popular 3.0d, which continued unchanged except for a few minor 2008 model year titivations such as new front-seat headrests.
The ‘s’ in X5 3.0sd denoted 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.
In July 2010, Australia's top-selling luxury SUV received a mid-life facelift, with new nomenclature for the four variants plus the performance-oriented X5 M, although the entry-level 3.0-litre petrol variant was deleted in favour of the xDrive30d.
The single-turbo diesel 3.0-litre xDrive30d produced 173kW and 520Nm, up 7kW and 20Nm from the old model, but delivered a significant 15 per cent improvement in fuel consumption over the older model at 7.4L/100km. CO2 emissions were also reduced from 231g/km to 195g/km.
Much of the decrease in fuel use came from the application of a new eight-speed automatic transmission from ZF that became standard across the X5 range.
While the xDrive30d represented the entry-level, it did not fall short on standard equipment, which included 18-inch alloy wheels, leather trim, Servotronic power steering, brake energy regeneration, diesel particulate filter, front head and side airbags, active head restraints, an iDrive controller, Bluetooth phone connectivity, an electronic park brake, rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlights, hill descent control and electronic stability and traction control.
Rhe petrol X5 line-up started with the xDrive35i. While the six-cylinder engine retained its 3.0-litre capacity the XDrive35i used twin turbochargers to boost power to 225kW and torque to 400Nm – up from the non-turbocharged engine’s 200kW and 315Nm.
The result was a drop of 1.3 seconds – to 6.8 seconds – for the 0-100km/h dash, while at the same time reducing fuel consumption from 11.7 to 10.1L/100km.
Next step up was the second diesel-engined X5, the xDrive40d Sport, which was fitted with the ‘Sport’ package, optional on xDrive30d and xDrive35i models, as standard.
The Sport package included a choice of two new alloy wheel designs, a sports leather steering wheel, BMW Individual anthracite roof lining and firmer sports suspension. The sports suspension could be deleted at no extra cost.
The xDrive40d Sport replaced the 3.5d in the range and its 3.0-litre, twin-turbo direct-injection diesel engine was tweaked to deliver 15kW and 20Nm more than the previous model. That put it at 225kW and a thumping 600Nm of torque enough to propel the X5 to 100km/h in just 6.6 seconds – down from 7.0 seconds. Also down was fuel consumption, to 7.5L/100km – a drop of 15 per cent.
As in previous iterations, the range-topping X5 was powered by a V8 petrol engine, but the 4.8-litre V8 of the xDrive48i was replaced by a smaller-capacity, 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine from the X6.
The X5 xDrive50i Sport, to use its full title, benefited from an extra 39kW and an incredible 125Nm of torque to deliver 0-100km/h acceleration in just 5.5 seconds. Peak figures were 300kW and 600Nm, while maximum torque was available from just 1750rpm through to 4500rpm.
Fuel consumption for the V8 remained unchanged at 12.5L/100km, indicating that the twin-turbocharged 4.4 engine was thirstier than the naturally aspirated 4.8 but helped out by the new eight-speed transmission. As indicated by the nomenclature, the X5 xDrive50i Sport had the Sports pack as standard, but in this case self-leveling rear suspension was also included.
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