What is it?
A frugal new diesel version of the third-generation BMW X5, badged the xDrive25d.
It's among a growing number of premium SUVs to be offered with four-cylinder power in a move that not only endows it with impressively low combined cycle consumption and emissions but also lowers its purchase price and running costs – to a level that is sure to make it an attractive proposition for private buyers.
According to BMW’s official figures, the Mercedes-Benz ML250 BlueTEC rival returns 47.9mpg and emits just 156g/km of CO2. Running BMW’s widely used turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder common rail diesel engine, it offers 215bhp and 332lb ft of torque, channelled through the same eight-speed automatic gearbox found on other X5 models.
BMW's new X5 is to be sold in both standard sDrive rear-wheel drive and optional xDrive four-wheel drive guises – the latter of which is driven here. Prices for the sDrive SE models start at £42,940, rising to £45,245 for the xDrive SE variant.
The question is: can the new four-cylinder diesel provide convincing performance and refinement in an SUV as luxurious as the latest X5 while delivering on the promise of almost 50mpg and emissions of less than 160g/km?