Returning X5 customers might notice a slightly more perched driving position in this new version than there was in the outgoing one, a move likely made to create space in the car. It’s only a very marginal change, however – so you still feel as if you’re in something roughly midway between an executive saloon and an old-school SUV here.
But alongside the sense of familiarity you get in this car come new, tangible parallel senses of richness, of high-design style and of real material class. With its electroplated chrome garnishes, its neatly corralled button consoles, its visually appealing trim and its imaginatively shaped features, this is a luxury cabin of greater ambition than we’re used to from a big BMW. A less understated one in some respects too – but one clearly intended to retain people who might otherwise have their heads turned by the ambient splendour of a high-end Range Rover Velar or Audi Q7.
And, without going over the top, the X5 cabin ought to achieve that with ease. There’s a striking air of expensiveness about BMW’s combination of chrome and ‘aluminium tetragon’ trim in our M Sport test car; an agreeably tidy look to the dashboard and centre console; a really upmarket feel to the cabin after dark, courtesy of BMW’s ambient lighting features; a sumptuous and special quality about its optional ‘BMW Individual’ Merino leather seats; and plenty of technological razzmatazz created by the widescreen infotainment and instrument screens.