Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

An Outstanding Piece of Machinery; Sporting Wagon Will Strike a Chord with Many Families

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

An Outstanding Piece of Machinery; Sporting Wagon Will Strike a Chord with Many Families

Article excerpt

SEEMINGLY innocuous with few downsides, there are inherent dangers for a motoring test driver.

It's not all petrol fumes, long lunches and on-road frivolity. And not everyone can be the Stig.

Apart from your usual on-road hazards, pot holes, debris, Camry driversa[degrees]there are also perils of the domestic kind.

Like bringing home vehicles to a savvy three-year-old and a beautiful bride with a penchant for quality. Both can be vital adversaries in the testing process.

But on this occasion it could cost yours truly just under $100K.

BMW's X5 struck a chord with the pair, the little bloke enjoyed the truck-like qualities and high-riding viewing platform while the wife appreciated the drivability, space and good looks.

It's testament to why the X5 has achieved more than a million worldwide sales in the past decade.

And the midlife makeover of this second generation SUV is more like some botox and improved fitness a going with the aif it isn't broken, why fix ita approach.

Three new nameplates enter the X5 range, xDrive35i, xDrive40d and the range-topping xDrive50i. We sampled the entry-level xDrive30d, which starts at just over $92,000.

Comfort

The fink folk from Bavaria don't call this a sports utility vehicle a they have their own name, sports activity vehicle or SAV.

That's probably fair given the X5, and others within the "Xa family, are unlikely to step off the bitumen.

The focus is on luxury and drivability despite the impressive four-wheel drive technology which lurks within the metal.

Ride height is the greatest indicator of its intensions. Getting inside is only slightly more challenging than a sedan, although the optional running boards are handy, especially for the ladies looking for graceful entries and exits.

Once inside it's an expansive cabin which will find favour with the family or five adults. Anyone sitting in the centre back seat will find things a little firmer, yet there is still good head and legroom along with great views courtesy of deep windows.

Cup holders front and rear are a boon, along with the deep centre console and various storage compartments throughout the cabin.

On the road

Under the bonnet of the base-model X5 is a revised in-line six-cylinder diesel which boasts impressive new figures. Fuel economy is down by 1.3 litres to 7.4 litres/100km and the reduction in CO2 emissions is down 36g/km from 231g/km.

There have been marginal gains in power and torque, and the xDrive30d remains a zesty offering.

Despite being at the bottom of the X5 tree, it has some lusty performance which is more than adequate for just about all drivers.

Its 0-100kmh sprint time of just over seven seconds is impressive while still maintaining the traditional BMW hallmarks of driveability.

Mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, the xDrive30d feels like there is torque on tap and it also manages to find the right cog on all occasions. …

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