BMW X5 50d 2019 UK review
What’s it like?
The very first examples of the ‘G05’-generation X5 have just arrived on British roads – and, but for the blindingly obvious and now apparently obligatory enlarged kidneys plonked on the grille (is it time to send in Adrian van Hooydonk’s urologist yet?) I’d say it’s a pretty smart-looking SUV.
It’s a wide SUV, mind you, having put on just over 60mm of width. Wondering what might explain that expansion, I checked BMW’s dimensions on the brand-new X7 for any ‘entirely coincidental correlation’. And wouldn’t you know it – the X5’s even wider than its new big brother.
On the inside the car feels wide, too. Its driving position is a bit more SUV-conventional, and less recumbent, than I remember of the last-gen car, but you still feel as if you might be in a big saloon that has had only as much loftiness, utility and convenience thrust upon it as was absolutely necessary. The new X5 retains that half-SUV, half-crossover vibe that many, who recognize that they need a car of its capabilities more than they really want one, have responded to time and again since 1999. Only this one has a more convincing air of onboard richness, luxury and sophistication about it than the last X5. An Audi Q7 is probably roomier for passengers; perhaps still marginally better distinguished on across-the-board material quality, too. Even so, there’s now little in it.
So what of that engine? Well, on the spec sheet, the M50d engine only makes about 100lb ft of extra torque than that of an X5 xDrive 30d; but on the road it feels like it’s been blessed with a much bigger relative advantage on mid-range pulling power. The M50d’s real-world performance level is comfortably beyond ‘brisk’, though it doesn’t quite squeeze ribcage against seat squab hard enough to qualify as ‘very fast’ either. That’s as much to do with the diesel engine’s style of delivery as anything; it’s got pretty brutish thrust between 2000- and 3500rpm but doesn’t take off with the abandon of other performance engines thereafter. By diesel engine standards, of course, it’s remarkably free-revving. But even so, when you leave the car’s eight-speed transmission in ‘sport’ mode, there are times when you wonder if it’s only letting the motor spin all the way up beyond 4500- because you’ve selected sport mode. Use paddleshift manual mode instead and you quickly learn to upshift before 4000.
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