We took the opportunity to get reacquainted with the X5 over a long weekend. This X5 has been in the BMW stable for sometime and this particular E70 model was launched here in Malaysia back in 2010. Presently BMW Malaysia’s line up of the X5 is now limited to 2 variants, the X5 xDrive35i and the X5 xDrive30d.
Design wise, the E70 X5 just about makes the cut without looking obsolete and this is not because of any design flaws but simply because the other models in the BMW stable have steadily moved into the next platform, taking on a fresh outlook and bearing the new “F” codes. It is just a matter of time before the X5 will join them as well.
Most of the features here are similar to the test model that we drove earlier in 2010 and reference can be made to that past article if you wish to look into this area. For this particular test review I will delve more into the drive experience, the user experience and the performance of this diesel powered SAV.
This is quite a large car by Malaysian standards, with an overall length of 4,857mm, width of 2,197mm and height of 1,766mm. Its wheelbase is a generous 2,993mm, promising spaciousness in its interior. The standard X5 would usually seat 5, but for this test car there is an option to raise a further 2 seats at the rear.
With a ground clearance of 222mm, you will need to ‘step-up’ to get into this car. Fortunately there are running boards on both sides with rubber inserts for added grip. Once inside, you are greeted to an array of fine workmanship, materials and fittings. The only gripe for this test model is that everything looked a bit dark. Nevertheless, based on the catalogue, it appears that options are available for potential owners to brighten things a bit by choosing a lighter shade for the leather seats.
For the most part, getting in and out of the car should not be a problem for passengers in the first two rows. The challenge is more for 3rd row passengers. Realistically, given the limited legroom, the 2 seats at the 3rd row are only suitable for children. Adults can still get in but would have to endure cramp conditions. To gain access to the 3rd row you have to pull down the 2nd row seats. Herein lies another challenge as the seats are quite heavy and we had to spend a bit of time fiddling with different levers until we found the right one.
But credit to BMW as the 2 rear passengers on the 3rd row are not completely neglected. Apart from the obligatory seat belts, there is a blower in between the 2 seats to improve comfort. The 2nd row passengers enjoy 2 independent zone air-condition with centre and side blowers.
The driver gets an elevated view of the proceedings in front with a firm but comfortable seat. The driver’s seating position can be electronically adjusted and there are memory functions. This test model came with the three spoke sports leather steering wheel minus the paddle shifters. We were mindful that the equipment levels were not the latest but should be sufficient to meet most drivers’ needs
Probably the high point of the X5 xDrive30d is the diesel powerplant which is a gem of an engine. This 6 cylinder in-line diesel engine delivers a max power of 180kW (245hp) @ 4,000 rpm and a max torque of 400Nm @ 1,200-5,000 rpm. At these levels you will be experiencing sports car performance on this SAV. Floor the throttle and there is a massive shove from the rear as the car lunges forward. In a matter of seconds you are in danger of passing the speed limit. Whether it is driven hard or just casually during town drives, the engine delivers with plenty of reserves to spare.
The engine note is acceptable given that this is a diesel powerplant. The designers appeared to have taken steps to ensure that it is unobtrusive and remained relatively refined. In the cabin even with the windows wound down, the external noise from the bonnet was well insulated. My fellow passengers were unaware that they were inside a diesel powered car until I told them so.
The test car has logged about 2,700 km. During our main test drive which covered a distance about 200km mostly on trunk road drives, the average fuel consumption we had was around 9.9 litres per 100 km. This was quite impressive given that our extended test with X1 xDrive20d logged around 7 litres per 100 km. A major portion of the test drive was done with almost a full load of passengers.
Our test route was the old trunk road from Gombak to Bentong, through Genting Sempah. Here you are driving on a narrow single lane facing on-coming traffic on the right and ascending through hilly terrain. The X5 xDrive30d remained untroubled as its massive amounts of torque enabled it to pull away easily and perform overtaking maneuvers with ease.
Ride quality is on the firm side but is still quite comfortable. The car was able to soak up imperfections on the road without transmitting too much harshness into the cabin. Nevertheless, the bar has been raised by BMW themselves with the Driving Experience Control in the F25 X3. The improved damping in the latter offers the best ride quality I have experienced so far in a BMW SAV. No doubt I would expect the next generation of X5 to offer the same.
There is no active steering for this model, but the light steering feel makes it easy to maneuver this relatively large SAV. Nevertheless, I noted that this is not the most accurate steering I have experienced in a BMW. There were hints of understeer during our twisty road drive on the Genting Sempah road. Reversing into a parking space is assisted by the multiple camera system with top views on the LCD display. This is a great asset since there is not much room for error in tight Malaysian car parks.
There are four 19 inch Continenal Contact SSR runflat tyres (255/50 R19) on this SAV, and they performed adequately giving good levels of grip with acceptable levels of road noise. The xDrive system remained relatively untested throughout the entire test drive as road conditions were not demanding. When there was the occasional shower, there were more than sufficient levels of traction on all the wheels to ensure a smooth and safe ride.
Overall the test dive provided a very satisfying drive experience mainly due to the outstanding performance of the diesel engine. It is noted that its CO² emissions levels are 195 g/km. Build quality and finishing of this X5 are at the high levels expected from BMW. The car is well equipped with various features not withstanding some of these feature have been further improved in the next generation BMW models.
We still await with bated breath on the delayed launch of better diesel fuels in Malaysia. Hopefully that day will not be too long as modern diesel powerplants such as this 6 cylinder in-line diesel engine has shown that it is possible to have high performance with low emissions and good fuel economy.
|Full Tank:||85 litres @ RM153 (Diesel Euro 2M)|
|Road Tax:||RM1,628.80 per annum|
|Standard Service:||Free service for first 3 years|
|Warranty:||3 Years or 60,000km whichever is earlier|
These are estimated costs applicable to Malaysia only which are subject to change without notice. Road Tax is for private registration in Peninsular Malaysia. Standard/scheduled service excludes additional or specific service/repairs requested. Please reconfirm these terms and costs with an authorized BMW dealer.
|Engine:||6-cylinder in-line diesel engine with 4 valve technology|
|Max Output:||180 kW (245hp) @ 4,000 rpm|
|Max Torque:||400 Nm @ 1,200-5,000 rpm|
|Top Speed:||210 km/h|
|Acceleration 0-100km:||7.6 sec|
|Fuel Consumption:||7.4 litres per 100 km (combined)|
Source: BMW Brochure
Note: Please reconfirm the above specifications with an authorized BMW dealer
Click on these to sample sounds from the car!