Our test car was fitted with the M Sport package, but ditched the 19-inch wheels that came along with this for a set of 20-inch rims and while this meant that the car lost points for the “comfort” chapter, it did motivate us to see what happens when we turn the wheel while taking full advantage of the 600 Nm (442 lb-ft) that the two turbines squeeze out of the three liters of the diesel powerplant.
The only reason for which the BMW X5 doesn’t take the segment’s crown in terms of handling is an SUV wearing a Porsche badge. The Cayenne is superior in terms of tackling bends, but the X5 takes the second place, as it easily outhandles the rest of the players in this segment. However, this is shared with the Mercedes ML, due to the fact that the X5 loses serious points in an area that's supposed to be important for cars in this segment: offroading.
BMW's xDrive was never meant to work well off the road and... it doesn't, it just doesn't. The M Sport pack makes the car even sloppier when the tarmac runs out and the X5 can only defend itself by telling you that most SUV buyers never their their cars to areas that would be a problem for it. Ever tried to impress a girl without having a clue about what you're doing? Now you're starting to understand how the X5 feels on really rough terrain.
Time to get back on the road playground now - The massive tires just grip and grip, with the firm suspension and the xDrive all-wheel drive system making sure that understeer doesn’t make its way into the driver’s vocabulary. And when the grip runs out, the back shows a slight tendency to step out, which could scare inexperienced drivers, but the DSC steps in just like a lioness protecting her cubs.
The X5 also brakes with the same level of confidence and gives you a feeling of safety whether we’re talking about stopping power or fading resistance.
On those parts of the road where the wheel is mostly kept straight, you begin to believe the lie included in the car’s designation (read: a 4-liter engine), as the 306 hp and 600 Nm (442 lb-ft) of torque, together with the eight-speed auto manage to keep the needle climbing fast up to about 210 km/h (130 mph). The X5 does accelerate past that point, up to its top speed of 235 km/h (146 mph), but not in the same vigorous manner.
The car is not set up for thrills, so you won’t quite feel the acceleration, but here is where you’ll get stuck between emotions if you chose a setup similar to that in our test car. We’re referring to the combination between the M suspension and the 20-inch rims, which takes away that comfort that was built into the car. You can keep the stiffer suspension if you’re good friends with the pedal on the right, but go for the 19-inch wheels included in the M Sport pack.
The X5 is a fine companion for long trips, as it mixes all the right ingredients: it packs enough of a punch, it has an interior the size of a small bedroom and it manages to offer a pleasant experience.Continue reading
Hold on, Mary would like to say something...
I didn't know you guys also test second-hand cars, but for a ride of this kind I have to admit that this BMW looks great. C'mon, don't try to fool me, I know it can't be a new model, since I saw it a few years ago, but I really don't care, it looks cool anyway, just needs a white paintjob and it'll be just right.
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