Are you the boss? Wait why am I even asking you this?
Well to own the car that I’m reviewing next, you got to be the Boss.
A Boss, who drives like a Boss, A Boss, who corners like a Boss, A Boss, when he’s about to arrive, the world knows he’s around, just like Nandini, Rahul’s mom from K3G, always Knew about his arrival and pre-opened the doors for him, A Boss, who loves to be pampered with utmost comfort and care, A Boss, who knows where he’s heading, and goes after his goals, well like a Boss, A Boss who loves to make his executive presence felt, in the board meetings.
Did you picture yourself here? Well if you did, then what I’m driving right now, and if SUV’s are a thing for you, or wait even if they aren’t, the next car or should I say SAV is the one that’s for you. Enter the BMW X5
But before I delve about the SAV, let’s look at a brief history of BMW to know the genesis of the X5, probably then, you will appreciate the SAV more.
Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG was formed in 1916. This company was renamed to Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW) in 1922. However the name BMW dates back to 1913, when the original company to use the name BMW was born (initially as Rapp Motorenwerke). BMW's first product was a straight-six aircraft engine called the BMW IIIa. Following the end of World War I, BMW remained in business by producing motorcycle engines, farm equipment, household items and railway brakes. The company produced its first motorcycle, the BMW R 32 in 1923.
BMW became an full fledged automobile manufacturer in 1928 when it purchased Fahrzeugfabrik Eisenach, which, at the time, built Austin Sevens under licence under the Dixi marque.The first car sold as a BMW was a rebadged Dixi called the BMW 3/15, following BMW's acquisition of the car manufacturer Automobilwerk Eisenach.
Woah woah woah, hold on, why am I even telling you this. Well you see, from 1929, till 1999, BMW produced number of hatchbacks, coupes, sedans, luxury sedans and performance sedans. And in 1999, something different happened.
BMW’s first new SUV made its debut and that was none other than the BMW X5. It took BMW 70 years to build an SUV, and when they build it, it kind of became a flagship SUV.
Why 70 years though you may ask... Well, 1994 was the time when BMW purchased LandRover and that gave them the opportunity to use the technology from LandRover to build an SUV, Infact, lot of underpinnings of the first X5, were attributed to LandRover, some of them being the hill descent control and off road engine management system, to name a few.
Based on the success of the X5, BMW bought in the X3 in 2003, and then subsequently now, BMW has slew of SUV’s under their arm, with an entry level being the X1 and now the top of the line being the X7.
Two decades later, the X5 is in its fourth generation now, and was launched in globallyin the November of 2018.It made its way to India in the second quarter of 2019, May of 2019 to be precise. The BMW X5 always has been this big SUV that you bought with two primary objectives, onefor been chauffeured around and two, to let the people around you know, that you have have arrived in life, and you are the Boss.
But does this fourth generation X5 carry this legacy forward? This is something you and me are going to find out together. Let’s start by looking at the Design Language of the SAV, shall we.
Design Language - Exteriors
Internally Coded as G05, the fourth generation X5 was the first product to share BMW’s new Cluster Architecture (CLAR) platform, which now has very much become the genesis of all new BMW’s that we see now, point in case the new 3, or the X7 or the Z4.
Walking up in the front of the X5, you realise how gigantic the kidney grille has become. It really has grown in size, but not really out of proportions. In my opinion, it is able to give in a muscular identity to the overall SUV. BMW offers active kidney grille, which means the slats inside the kidney grille open or close basis the engine temperature to let the cool air pass to cool down the engine. The double barrel headlamps on the extreme, now sport Laser Headlights, yes you read it write, the X5, officially is the first car from BMW to get the Laser lights, flanked by LED fog-lamps, which also double up as cornering lamps if need be. Minimalistic use of chrome and satin finish, brings in right amount of bling out in thisX5. The power lines on the bonnet are well accentuated and add up to big SUV look. For lot of people out there, the front looked polarising, at least in the photos it did. But if you ask me, the front really grows on you with time, and it does not look out of proportions at all.
Move to the side and you realise the length of this SUV. There is a precise and sharp-cut character line that runs dynamically over the entire vehicle side, rising in the rear door. This makes the X5 look far more sophisticated. Considering what I drove was the X line variant, the window line came with chrome finish, adding a dash of luxury to the side profile of the X5.
Move to the rear and you feel something’s miss. This is definitely not your regular BMW rear. With BMW’s we are used to seeing the hammer like tail lights,with sharper lines. However here we have a slender 3 dimensional LED tail light design which is, not BMWish, and the lines and cuts are far more toned down, to give this X5 a far more hunkered down look. Having said that, it does bring in freshness to the overall rear of the SUV.
Split tail is the norm in this segment and BMW X5 does not miss on this. While to open the tailgate completely, one has to press the electronic button twice, however to close the tailgate, its just one simple touch to the button. Speaking of the buttons, there are plenty of buttons in the boot of this X5 to control couple of things like the height of the SUV, or flipping down the second row of seats or even to organise the boot organiser.
With a boot space of 650 litres, it may not be the class leading in the segment, but it is sufficient enough to carry a week’s worth of luggage along with you on your road trip.
Overall I would this X5, may not be aggressive looking say like any other X’s from the stable. But the matured stance of the X5, will definitely go well with your profile, that of an high net worth individual, who know to make right choices, atleast as far as his SUV goes.
Let’s step inside the car to see how the X5 is from the inside.
Design Language- Interiors
Considering the X5 is grown in size, moment you step inside the X5, you realise that the SUV has more space on the inside the cabin now. Globally, the X5 is available in the 7 seater configuration, but in India we only get the 5 seater, as the 7 seater duties are taken care by the all new X7.
Inside the a tad lighter mocha brown shade of large leather seats invite you, which have plenty of options to keep to comfortable, right from having electronic thigh extenders. The seats are pretty comfortable and have right amount of back and thigh support to keep you firmly snuggled in a position. Close the door and the door shuts with a typical heavy thud that you are used to in German cars.
While I did review the new architecture ofthe BMW’s when I reviewed the new 3 Series when it had come to me for review, but personally, I think, this design language looks perfect in the new X5.
The highlight of the interior this time definitely has to be the central console. The crystal work on the gear knob looks notch premium and it has prism effect to it. The i-drive selector, the start button or even the gear selector has crystalline effect what BMW loves to call Crafted Clarity. The overall fit and finish around the console is up there with what you expect from the SUV’s in this segment.
The instrument cluster behind the steering wheel is sharper, probably, the sharpest yet we have seen on any other BMW. It throws all the data that you need to be vary of as a driver at your glance at flick of a button. What I would have loved at this price point was BMW’s legendary Heads Up Display. The 12.30 inch centre console is as sharp and crisp as ever and controls pretty much all the commands around the SUV.Shall we move to the second row to check how is it, as most of the owners are going to spend the time in the second row.
The first thing you realise as you move to the rear seat is the amount of legroom the X5 comes with, enough for you to stretch after a long day at work. The seat cushioning though is bit on a stiffer side to my liking, but, owning to the fact that the X5 comes with air suspensions all around, the SUV is able to glide over most of the uneven surface.
The glass area too, is large enough to ensure that the rear occupants don’t feel claustrophobic behind. Relatively flatter central tunnel, also means, that sitting three up-breast here is easy. Now while the X5 gets side blinds, but it does miss out on electronic blinds, and at this price point, I think, it’s a sore miss from BMW. However what it gets is charging points to help you charge your electronic devices while on the move.
Speaking briefly on the features, the X5 comes with host of features from comfort, safety, luxury & convenience perspective.The host of features that X5 comes with includes well bolstered seats, which are electronically adjustable and programmable, a four zone climate control unit, air suspensions, 464 watts16 speakers hi fidelity surround system from Harmon Kardon, all around for crisp audio, 360 degree cameras. Auto parking, with auto reverse, wireless charging, with wireless CarPlay, ambient lighting, Six airbags, hill descent control, cornering brake control, stability control and much more.
In Car Entertainment
The X5 comes with BMW’s latest 7th generation of iDrive. Well, it may not be perfect in every sense, but is not far behind from perfection. The X5 comes with 12.30 inch centre screen which doubles up as the command centre for the SUV. The audio duties as mentioned earlier are taken care by Harmon Kardon. A 464 W digital amplifier, nine channels and 16 speakers setup sounds perfectly well and fills the interior space. Harmon Kardon’s traditionally have been heavily tuned towards bass, and this setup is not different. If you tune the bass to high with subwoofer to set to high, the bass does get jarring on some occasions. However, find that perfect sound output is not that difficult.
Should we now get driving the X5 to see how it drives, but before that, lets have a quick look at the engine & gearbox
Performance- Engine & Gearbox
BMW in India offers the X5 with 2 engine options, there’s a 3 litre Diesel engine pumping out 265 HP/620 NM of torque and 3 litre petrol to complement the diesel churning out 340HP/450NM of torque.
What I reviewed was the X5 in 30D guise, which means it produced 265HP of power and 620NM of torque. This 3 litre engine is not new to India, as it is the same engine doing duties in the 530D and the X4 prominently apart from the much expensive line up in the BMW.
Fire up the engine, using the start stop button and the engine settles to an extremely mild rumble, barely audible inside the car. A gentle dab on the accelerator pedal and this mammoth SUV inches forward without any drama. And if the road is free, reaches triple digit speeds in no-time.
A large part of this is attributed to the8 speed ZF designed gearbox which is butter smooth in its operation.It precisely knows what you are up to as a driver and selects the right gear, at the right time, its kind of telepathic.
Performance- Ride, Handling and Drivability
While, this car is for the boss in you and at all times you may choose to sit at the rear seat, and enjoy being tottered around the city. But trust me when I say this, the BMW X5 in this X30D guise, is fun to drive too. For this size of SUV, it darts from 0-100 in just under 6.5 seconds. In terms of ride quality, the ride quality is exceptionally good, its not as stiff as some other BMW’s on offer, owing to its air suspensions. I drove the X5 on city roads, as well as on the express way, and shuffled right between the Eco Pro Mode to the Sport Mode. Now, if you are pottering around the city, Eco Pro is the mode to select, it hunkers down the accelerator inputs, lightens up the steering and overall the car feels lethargic. On the other end, the Sport Mode, stiffens the setup, firms the steering wheel and sharpens the throttle response.
If you don’t want to keep shuffling between different modes, then the Adaptive Mode is the one to go for. Simply put this X5 into Adaptive Mode, and it does the job of shuffling between modes as the need be. What I particular liked about the X5 is the fact that, even while going through the corners at high speeds, the body control was well in control and it didn’t throw its occupants side ways.
I want to specially talk about the Laser Lights here, having experienced them extensively over my 200 kms drive with the X5. For starters, BMW packs this technology with their patented Auto Headlamps which adjust the throw and beam intensity basis the traffic outside. If most of you thought, that the LED headlights are the brightest on the road, well, you need to go back to the books, coz the Laser Lights, take the game to the next level. Yes they are brightest of them all, but they are not intrusive to the car in the front. BMW tech’s ability to smartly switch between lower and higher beam at flick of a nano second, makes it less intrusive. What more, the ability of the lights to focus exactly in the direction you are going and the light throw in direct proportion of the speed that you are at, makes covering humongous distances in the night, a breeze.
Overall, I would say, owning to the tightly put together SAV, this X5, does not break your bones on those long sojourns and you can definitely go on a cross country run, with all your luggage in this SAV.
I started off this review by saying are you the Boss. Well, even BMW promotes this SAV as the BOSS, and rightfully though, this SAV is the BOSS in lot of things.
First look at it, the X5 looks intimidating. It has the proportions going for this. But once inside, and as you start driving, the X5 beautifully wraps itself around you as a driver. Yes, at back of your mind, you always have the size and bulk that you are driving around in. so much so, that, if you are driving in the night, you have to be mindful of the bikers and auto fellas, who may get missed out from your field of vision due to the height of window sills.
Earlier I felt, BMW’s incredible ability to build the Ultimate Driving Machines, shined strongly only in their Sedans and Coupes. Yes the X3 and X4, did ride well, but they had a size advantage to them. But, this X5, which is huge in all dimensions, and after having spend 300 odd kms behind the wheel of this X5, I can confidently say, this X5 is the Ultimate Driving SUV, which is pure fun behind the wheel and absolute fun behind the seat behind the wheel, and hence, it qualifies to be the BOSS.