Next to the 40i and the quad-turbo 50d, the X5 30d’s entry-level positioning suggests a modesty about the quantity and quality of this car’s performance that’s a bit misleading.
The inclusion of a launch control function seems frivolous on a car like this, but nevertheless it enabled this 2279kg entry-level diesel SUV to sprint from a standstill to 60mph in a fairly fleet-footed 6.6sec two-way average. Not only is that on a par with the likes of the Volkswagen Golf GTI, it’s also 0.3sec quicker than the Audi Q8 50 TDI we road tested in 2018. Proof that BMW still doesn’t do ‘ordinary’ when it comes to its six-cylinder diesel engines.
The manner in which that acceleration is delivered is smooth and contained yet strong and seamless, that initial surge of torque as you come off the brake pedal possessing something of a tidal feel, and propelling the X5 forward with no shortage of conviction. That conviction begins to wane a little as you approach the upper rev-range, but only enough to remind you that it’s a diesel you’re driving; while the bassy rumble that initially permeates the cabin morphs into a more overtly diesel-derived engine note.
By the smallest of margins, the BMW pips the Audi from 30-70mph – the metric we use to gauge a car’s real-world performance – taking 6.6sec versus the Q8’s 6.7sec. Ingolstadt has the upper hand over Munich in terms of outright in-gear flexibility, though: the Audi will complete the same run in fourth gear in 6.8sec – 0.5sec faster than the BMW.