We were expecting the ride to be firm but we were pleasantly surprised that it was firm enough to hold the road even during extreme cornering yet compliant enough for passengers not to be jolted around..
Ride and Handling
We were expecting the ride to be firm but we were pleasantly surprised that it was firm enough to hold the road even during extreme cornering yet compliant enough for passengers not to be jolted around. However, if you require a firmer ride then Sports Suspension can be specified as an £245 option. You can also specify Adaptive Drive which combines the two active chassis control systems Dynamic drive and Dynamic Damping Control which includes electronically controlled dampers and anti-roll bars which significantly reduces body roll whilst the optional Active Steering feature of the BMW X5 adapts the amount of steering angle to suit the driving situation. The lower the vehicle speed, the more precise the steering. For a more intense connection with the road and heightened pleasure behind the wheel.
Overall levels of grip are superb even when pressing on in the wet, in fact surprisingly so, bordering on the sublime.
Thanks to xDrive, the BMW X5 maintains perfect traction even on difficult road conditions. This intelligent system uses its Dynamic Stability Control sensors to detect the early signs of instability and reacts instantly as needed.
Engine power is distributed flexibly and variably to each axle, the axles with the greatest traction receives most power delivering optimum road-holding, perfect performance on bends and excellent forward thrust.
For a smooth and easily controlled decent when negotiating steep downhill gradients of up to 15 per cent. Hill Descent Control (HDC) allows drivers to concentrate fully on steering without having to brake.
In our opinion the BMW X5 is unrivalled on-road but when off-road it is a different story and whilst the X5 is equipped with an electronic hill descent system, which brakes individual wheels to control speed, this is no substitute for a low-ratio transfer box and locking differentials.
Ease of Use
The BMW X5 can comfortably accommodate 5 adults and the X5 has the option of 7 seats. An optional (£1410) third row of seats is quickly available whenever you need it. The two additional seats face forward, can be adjusted individually and separately folded down. And so that your extra guests feel completely comfortable there is also an additional heating unit for the foot well of the third row of seats.
Getting in and out of the X5 is an easy affair, for the front and second row occupants, on the 7 seat models the third row occupants might find it a bit more awkward.
Our test car was equipped with winter tyres which certainly improved our experience of the BMW X5 during an icy week in December. Winter tyres have been designed to work better in temperatures of less the 7 degrees, they are made from a different mix of rubber / silica compound which enables them to operate more efficiently at much lower temperatures generating heat and reaching their optimum operating temperature much more easily. They also feature bigger tread blocks with larger open channels which mean they dissipate standing water more effectively helping to reduce the risk of skidding on wet surfaces. Also when temperatures drop below 7 degrees drivers will also improve their barking distances by up to 20% in icy conditions and up to 10% in the wet.
Our test car was equipped with running boards which being on the shorter side we found difficult to get over without getting covered in mud.
Front, side and rear vision is excellent but you are also supported with front and rear parking sensors and the optional reversing assist parking camera with top view which is particularly helpful in a vehicle of this size, especially around town.
The BMW X5's boot offers an accommodating 620-1750 litres of space depending on the five seat vehicles seating configuration. We found the split tailgate useful - the top section operates with remote electric release and soft-close function, and the bottom section with a manual release.
BMW X5 Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||BMW X5 4.0d SE|
|Colour||Platinum Grey Metallic|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||6.6 Seconds|
|Top Speed||147 mph|
|Transmission||8 Speed Steptronic Transmission|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||41.5 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||TBC|
|Warranty||3 years / Unlimited miles|
|Price (when tested on the 05/01/11)||£47,440|