Although the exterior has submitted itself to notable reinterpretation, the X5 is closely related to the previous model underneath. With a 2993mm wheelbase, the platform is much as it was before.
Instead, BMW claims to have focused on cutting some excess weight from its unibody by making extensive use of ultra-high-tensile steels in the structure and introducing an aluminium bonnet along with thermoplastic side panels.
The near-2.4-tonne kerb weight of the xDrive M50d that we tested suggests there is still some way to go on that account, but the five per cent gain in rigidity is a useful attribute, given that improving the X5’s ride quality was also high on the fix list.
Entry-level cars will get a fettled steel set-up as standard, but many buyers will benefit from the adjustable dampers and self-levelling air springs that appear higher up the trim list. Adaptive Comfort – with two damping modes accessed via the (new-to-X5) Dynamic Damper Control – will appear in all SE models.
In the UK, where a penchant for M Sport is predicted, most will have the Adaptive M Suspension that adds Sport and Sport+ to the setting list. Beyond these, there are two more optional packages: Adaptive Dynamic, which significantly beefs up the active roll bars’ resistance to lean, and Adaptive Professional, which includes all modes in one integrated bundle.
The engine choice, mercifully, is a little more straightforward. The X5 benefits from the evolution of BMW’s TwinPower Turbo line-up, which has already been upgraded to forthcoming Euro 6 emissions standards across the board.
BMW will offer six X5 powertrains, starting with a new two-wheel-drive 215bhp sDrive 25d, a four-wheel-drive xDrive version of the same, and xDrive 30d (255bhp), 40d (309bhp) and M50d (376bhp) diesels. The sole petrol option is a twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8, producing 443bhp, badged the xDrive 50i, and 567bhp for the X5 M. There is also an hybrid option in the form of xDrive40e iPerformance driven by a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine and an 110bhp electric motor.
BMW’s efficient dynamics mission and the use of the latest eight-speed automatic gearbox means the xDrive 30d's motor gains 13bhp and 15lb ft of torque, and sprints to 62mph 0.7sec quicker, despite emitting 33 fewer grams of CO2 at 162g/km. BMW can also claim substantial economy gains for the 4.4-litre petrol V8, which has an official combined figure of 27.2mpg.