What Car? Car of the Year Awards

Last night, the BMW X5 was announced winner of the 4x4 category in the prestigious What Car? Car of The Year 2001 Awards. BMW also scooped the Performance Car award for the new M3 and the Executive Car prize for the 5 Series - the latter for a record-breaking sixth time.

Judged on desirability, practicality, safety and overall performance, the X5 came top of its class beating all other contenders including the Lexus RX 300 and the Land Rover Freelander TD4. Currently available with a 4.4 litre engine in the UK, the 3.0 litre petrol version of the X5 is on sale now priced from £33,000. A 3.0 litre diesel version joins the line-up mid year.

With its new 2.2 litre straight six cylinder engine, the 520i Saloon secured an unprecedented sixth successive victory for the 5 Series, which holds an unassailable position as the benchmark for the executive sector. The 5 Series has won this award every year since its launch in 1996 and remains the best-selling executive car in Britain.

The M3 has set new standards too, winning plaudits across the media and more than living up to the promise of its iconic name. It comes to the UK in spring 2001.

Steve Fowler, Editor of What Car? said, "BMW can be exceptionally proud of its achievements as it picks up three awards at this year's What Car? Awards. The 5 Series success story continues with a record sixth victory, this time for the 520i. And the two newcomers look set to follow in the 5-series' footsteps - the X5 and the new M3 are two cars which stand head and shoulders above their rivals."

US Crash Test Report - X5 is safest car on the road

In the USA the BMW X5 has achieved the best ever score in the 30 year history of the IIHS (Insurance Institute of Highway Safety) crash test - the US equivalent of the Euro NCAP tests. It showed the least damage to a passenger cell ever, after a 64km/40mph offset crash.

Tested against 13 other vehicles in the same class including the Mercedes M Class, Lexus RX 300 and the Land Rover Discovery, the BMW X5 scored top marks in all categories.

Unlike most off-road vehicles the BMW X5 does not have a ladder chassis, but is based on unitary construction, which helps absorb energy in the event of an impact. Together with passive safety systems such as pre-tensioning seat belts and airbags (up to ten) the X5 offers unprecedented protection.

Both the 3 and 5 Series have already been awarded the IIHS quality seal of "Best Pick" for optimum occupant protection three times in succession. Brian O'Neill, Head of the IIHS said, " BMW has set the standard for all other manufacturers to aspire to".

Published : 31/01/01 Author : Melanie Carter

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