Steering feel changes noticeably, too, for being electrically rather than hydraulically assisted to save fuel, as does the drag coefficient which drops from 0.34 to 0.31.
More obvious, though, is the classier cabin. Its subtly curving decor, superior materials and adjustable mood lighting enhance an architecture that’s still familiar; and improved rear space, a bigger boot and the third-row option, now split 40:20:40, complete the upgrade.
BMW’s efficient dynamics mission sees the xDrive30d motor gaining 13bhp and 15lb ft of torque while sprinting to 62mph 0.7sec faster despite streaming 33 fewer grams of CO2.
You’ll also enjoy this oil-burner’s much-improved manners, its clatter and growl now buried in background hum. Lots of low-rev urge and the eight-speed auto’s excellent anticipatory skills make for authoritatively brisk and effortless performance that, at lower speeds, shades the petrol xDrive50i.
So the essence of the 1999 X5’s mini-revolution is preserved intact, and this latest edition is pleasingly nimble and precise when the going gets twisty. The keen will enjoy such roads in sport setting, which enlivens the drivetrain, girds the dampers and weights the occasionally uncertain steering to produce a well-resolved driving experience.
And the ride? It swallows most small bumps whole, as promised, although the odd clatter across ridges and potholes in sport suggests that it’s the comfort damping mode you’ll mostly want on Britain’s roads. Given how well the rest of the system performs, it’s unfortunate that in Sport mode setting the steering turns over-light - and you can’t mix and match the steering, drivetrain and suspension settings.