A higher aluminium content – all the body’s hinged panels, the front wings and some core structure – allows the new X5 to maintain much the same weight on an equivalent equipment basis, says Kisstler, adding that the X5’s high production volumes preclude the use of carbonfibre, as employed on the 7 Series.
Understanding the new X5 line-up
Even the carry-over engines have been substantially reworked to meet the demands both of the new Worldwide harmonised Light vehicle Test Procedure, and the Real Driving Emissions. At launch BMW will offer three engines, starting with the 261bhp 3.0 litre 30d. It’s a straight six rather than the previous four because that’s how they like ‘em in America, and it’s expected to take 65 percent of UK sales.
For slightly more money comes the 335bhp 3.0 40i, also a six, while the current top-of-the-range powertrain is a 395bhp diesel, the M50d’s sextet of cylinders boosted by no less than four turbochargers. A V8 50i, and a plug-in hybrid, follow within a year. Although these engines are broadly carry-over, powertrain boss Reinhardt Brandstatter says that ensuring they perform well in the WLTP and RDE tests, deliver improved real-world fuel consumption and good driveability was ‘challenging’.
The 40i’s cylinder head has been redesigned for 350 bar injection pressures and now features a particulate filter, intelligent cooling and a friction-reducing single row timing chain. It’s now almost six kg lighter, too. The 30d has also been reworked, if less extensively, its exhaustings processed by a suite of catalysts and AdBlue treatment.
All feed power to a wider ratio’d, eight-speed Steptronic gearbox of improved shift refinement. It drives all four wheels, the rear axle usually receiving most torque, while hill descent control is standard. The xDrive system includes an electronic rear differential lock with the M Sport package that’s expected to take 80 percent of sales, a new optional off-road package adding a sump guard, centre diff lock and programming for sand, gravel, rock and snow conditions.
Also standard, unusually for BMW, is height adjustable air suspension, making for a decently complete package even in standard xLine form.
What's the X5 like inside the cabin?
You won’t immediately notice too much that’s radical when you climb inside, until little details impinge. The instruments are now digital, the scales of the speedometer and rev counter corralled into slightly odd shapes at the display’s extremities and if it’s a heavily optioned X5, as these were, you’ll soon spy the glitzy, Volvo-channelling crystal gearlever knob.
If you’ve recently sampled the frustratingly unhelpful twin control screens of the latest Audi and Range Rover products, you may well rejoice at the deployment of a far more intelligible single 12.3in screen and a physical I-Drive controller.
There’s a slightly busier head-up display, heated and cooled cupholders, a thump-tastic 1500 watt Harmon Kardon stereo, laser headlights (they double the beam-length of conventional headlamps, for a lighthouse-like range) and a suite of connectivity options that includes Microsoft Office 365 and perhaps riskily, the possibility of using your smartphone as the car’s keys.
There are many more neat details. When off-roading, you can see video images of each individual X5 wheel on the infotainment screen, as if you were viewing them from outside. So if you’re about to drive off the edge of a ledge, into a modest boulder or over a tree root, you can see it.