From £43,830
Highly desirable, but you'd have to be spectacularly uncaring about running costs to buy one

Our Verdict

BMW X5
BMW X5 is unashamedly road biased, though it will be acceptable off-road

The big BMW X5 SUV may be getting a little long in the tooth, but it’s still one of the best all-rounders in its class

  • First Drive

    BMW X5 xDrive50i SE

    Highly desirable, but you'd have to be spectacularly uncaring about running costs to buy one
  • First Drive

    BMW X5 xDrive40d

    Do subtle changes to the X5 improve the overall package?
11 July 2010

What is it?

The xDrive50i is now the fastest and most powerful of the mainstream (non-M division) BMW X5s, powered by the new 402bhp, twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 also seen in the 5-series and 7-series.

Replacing the previous 350bhp naturally aspirated 4.8-litre V8, the twin-turbo unit is fitted as part of the latestround of upgrades for the X5 range, which also includes refreshed front and rear styling and more kit.

Linked to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, the new V8 not only brings a hefty increase in power and torque compared with its predecessor but also improved fuel economy and compliance with Euro5 emissions standards.

What’s it like?

It almost goes without saying that buying a thirsty twin-turbo petrol V8 SUV in the UK is foolhardy when the diesel versions are so outstanding in their own right and so much cheaper to run, but let’s just assume that nothing else will suffice. When viewed on its own merits, this new xDrive50i is quite magnificent.

As well as being supremely refined, the twin-turbo V8 gives the X5 startling performance; 5.5sec to 62mph makes it one of the very quickest SUVs on sale, bettered only by the much more expensive Porsche Cayenne Turbo, Mercedes ML63 and BMW’s own X5/X6M. With a fat 443lb ft of torque from 1750rpm, the xDrive50i is as flexible as the best diesels but also wonderfully smooth and crisp. It sounds nice, too.

Although more efficient than its 4.8-litre predecessor, the new V8’s combined 22.6mpg and CO2 output of 292g/km don’t make great reading when the superb, equally torquey xDrive40d achieves 37.7mpg and 198g/km of CO2, but there’s some consolation in the fact that the V8 BMW is less profligate than other big petrol SUVs such as the Range Rover Sport Supercharged and Infiniti FX50S.

In SE spec the X5 has a relaxed and comfortable ride for a BMW, but its chassis struggles to match the xDrive50i’s searing performance, with a little too much roll and a lack of composure when pressed. If recent experience of the xDrive40d M Sport is any indication, the tighter body control that comes with the sports suspension is just about essential on a car as fast as the xDrive50i.

As with all X5s, the cabin is wonderfully cosseting and comfortable, with plenty of space front and rear and one of the best driving positions you’ll find anywhere.

Only next to the warmth and charisma of Land Rover’s more upmarket models does the X5 pale slightly, but for me this cabin is close to faultless.

Should I buy one?

For its performance and refinement, the xDrive50i is highly desirable, but you’d have to be rabidly anti-diesel or spectacularly uncaring about running costs to choose it over one of the two new oil-burning X5s.

An xDrive40d M Sport is the one we’d recommend – but that doesn’t stop us from secretly liking the hot-rod xDrive50i a lot.

BMW X5 xDrive50i SE

Price: £55,080; Top speed: 149mph; 0-62mph: 5.5sec; Economy: 22.6mpg; CO2: 292g/km; Kerb weight: 2190kg; Engine: V8, 4395cc, twin-turbo, petrol; Power: 402bhp at 5500rpm; Torque: 443lb ft at 1750-4500rpm; Gearbox: 8-spd automatic

Join the debate

Comments
15

15 July 2010

The BMW X5 remains the cream of the crop then. This 402bhp version is second in line to the X5M yet still out-paces any woolly Range Rover Supercharged.

Porsche with the Cayenne, Audi with the Q7 and Mercedes-Benz with the ML ensure that the Germans dominate the market.

Great article by the way; objective, informative and helpfully supplying a summary of the main figures at the end too. You should be promoted to Evo.

15 July 2010

The X5 is by far the best looking model in their range.

Just find the interior a little boring and lacking in interest. Thats waht would steer me to a range rover. The x5 interior is virtually the same as in the 1 series. Who wants that?

15 July 2010

This range-topping X5 needs all the help those twin turbos can give, the 350bhp of the old car had never felt so limp...


15 July 2010

CHAVS???????

CALLING ALL MONIED CHAVS.....

PLEASE MOVE AWAY FROM YOUR AUDIS AND FORM AN ORDERLY LINE HERE.

CALLING ALL CHAVS....

Competance executes, character inspires

16 July 2010

Blah blah blah!!!! Enjoy these cars while you can,it is only a matter of time before they simply become too expensive to run and live with.

If i had my way EVERY suv on the road would be crushed and put to death!!!!

16 July 2010

[quote fhp11]

The X5 is by far the best looking model in their range.

Just find the interior a little boring and lacking in interest. Thats waht would steer me to a range rover. The x5 interior is virtually the same as in the 1 series. Who wants that?

[/quote] Yes, I reckon this ain't so bad & good value too. I don't want one, but it has more appeal than the new X3.

16 July 2010

the 4.8i sounded fantastic, i hope the turbo'd v8 hasn't lost any of its 'burble'. petrol over diesel anyday. with diesel being more expensive by about 5p per litre, the saving isnt that great,considering in real world the petrol v8 x5 does 15mpg average and the diesel 24mpg, the diesel engine still has a long way to go in terms of refinement compared to a petrol.

16 July 2010

X5 is still one of the best bmw's out there cant find anything wrong with it, the only problem is the price

17 July 2010

I think what this illustrates is that, with the 4.2 litre diesel GLs and Q7s and Toerags selling (along with the Rangey and RRS TDV8) as premium diesels with aural appeal, BMW badly need to revive and update their sadly-discontinued diesel V8. I once got a ride in a German-registered 745d and the engine had enormous grunt and great refinement, and sounded glorious when it was given the beans. That engine remains the only all-aluminium diesel V8 ever to go into a production car, and now it's dead. Pity. Still, the 40d is a great engine, if a bit lacking in aural appeal. It's the one I'd have.

Also, BMW - manual gearbox. Please. Not a compulsory auto.

Mind you, I wouldn't be seen dead in any X5. It's just so Colleen Rooney.

17 July 2010

As Autocar say view this car on its own merits, assume you can afford the fuel, or justify the fuel, then its a seriously competent bit of kit. It will tick all the motoring boxes of a lot of people, who don't mnd the image. But, back in the real world where you have other engine options to compare it too and unless you are clinically insane or just a bit of an idiot, you'd take the diesel.

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