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Review of 2010 BMW X5



The blue and white propeller brand has long been know to make sporty cars with its 3,5,6 and many more sedan brands. However when they ventured into SUVs or in case of the X5, Sports Activity Vehicle{SAV}, many cried foul that the fun to drive factor would be lost. But BMW been BMW went ahead and introduced the X5 and what a reception for the cross-over it was. Enthusiasts were thrilled to note that the X5 gave them more space than the sedans and at the same time retained the fun to drive factor which so distinguished BMWs from the other manufacturers. The X5 was introduced in the year 2000. The purpose for its introduction was not to give more space than the 5 series sedan but to give the same driving experience at an elevated height and which it did in dollops.

Looks

Nothing much has changed here and the 2010 model looks similar to the 2009 model. The X5 is still a midsize SUV oops SAV. Banglesque abound from its erstwhile famous designer Chris Bangles. BMW family looks such as the famous twin-shaped kidney grills and overall quirky look can be noted. Four creases run across the hood giving it a muscled look. The notable distingushing feature is the bolder front end with larger air dams. The fog lamps are placed just below the cluster of the main headlamps and that is quite strange for a SUV. Below the kidney grills, is a big air dam flanked by two smaller ones at the sides. BMW’s famous Corona rings akin to daytime running lamps is also included in the headlamp. The longwheel base, short overhangs and sporty creases all the more enhance its sporty intent. The black trim in the 2010 model has been reduced to the bottom edge of the body as opposed to the 2009 model. Moving to the side profile, two creases and a running board are the new highlights.

It would be prudent enough to say that the new 20 inch wheels try hard to mask the huge gap between the wheel wells and the wheels, but don’t succeed. The alloys design looks very much like the flaming sun portrait we as kids used to draw up. We would say it is very innovative and even the wheels cry sporty from the moment you set your eyes on them. The turn indicators mated onto the outside rear view mirrors are a neat feature. The roof rack looks unnecessary on such a expensive SUV neverthless, it added a convenience touch. The tail lamps extend all the way to the side profile.

The badging at the rear screams X5 and that’s a good thing since most of the time, this behemoth will just scream past you and you would be hardpressed to know which BMW overtook your car. The high mounted tail brake light is housed within a thick spoiler. Like earlier cars, the dual exhaust near both the wheels, aren’t left sticking like a sore thumb. Instead they have been neatly integrated into the lower bumper. A sort of air dam exists at the rear for adding to aerodynamic efficiency. The tailamps while been L-shaped LED lights, are split by the powered tail gate. There is large rear wiper for cleaning a relative small surface of the glass area. A rear antenna for the standard radio sticks atop the rear spoiler. Overall the X5 is an odd ball design where functionality takes precedence before form. It leaves you with that familiar teutonic solidity that so eschews BMW vehicles.

Interiors

Step into the cabin and you are greeted by a beautiful and well appointed interior.    The dash has a gentle curve to it and wood inserts abound in plenty. Everything feels soft to touch and has a built to last feel to it. All the layout feels driver-centric as are all the other BMWs. The 2010 model gets the optional navigation system that has an up-rated 8.8 inch screen. BMW’s 4 th generation I-drive wiggles its way on to the 2010 X5. Plus you have a 80 GB hard drive  for all your music and if you haven’t filled it with all, some navigation data. A high definition Radio also is part of standard equipment now. List of the standard features read as run-flat tires on 18-inch alloy wheels, leather wrapped steering wheel with tilt and adjustable for rake and reach, cruise control, dual zone climate control, 10 way memory power seats{only for the front seats} and a aux input 12 speaker Audio system. This is just to name a few and it would fill approximately a full page worth of BMW standards on the X5. The meters are the same from the previous models and so there is nothing more to describe about them.

Seat yourself into the optional Multi-Contour seats and they would pamper you like the seats in the 7 series albeit a little less. They are ergonomic and long trips in the SUV front seats would be fatigue free. The aforementioned memory function for the seats preserves settings for the outside rear view mirrors, front seats and steering column. The second row of seats is also comfortable but not more than the front ones. Two largely endowed adults can sit in the rear with an anorexic model in the middle. However all three would be seated in comfort. The third row of seats as described by BMW is suitable only for model material people but with the height of dwarfs. Even the floor mats are of the same beige material used for the seats.

The feeling of airiness arises from the superb view from the driver’s seat. Even middle row passengers will feel the feel of space inside this not so largish SUV. Rear passengers are treated to individual AC vents and their controls. Fitting bins to the rear stowage space has helped maximize cabin space.

Handling and ride quality

We are referring to BMW forte now and the 2010 X5 doesn’t disappoint either. The Active steering wheel is markedly heavier at parking speeds but this translates into great high speed control. In relation to the driving force, the steering wheel adjusts steering force. The delightful to hold, three-spoke steering wheel has music controls and dynamic cruise controls on it. These can also be controlled by the much easier{than the previous generation} I-drive. The new I-drive system simplifies operation by putting in some buttons near the joystick. These can be used as short cuts.

The fabled xDrive system now comes across as standard equipment. It has been programmed to improve the already remarkable handling on not so perfect surfaces such as wet, snowy or the slush. Trotting pace is achieved by the now standard hill descent control program. During emergency lane change maneuvers, the stability control keeps the BMW on track. You can drive enthusiastically even on wet surface with the advanced traction control. The rear vision camera makes mincemeat of reversing and it projects clear images onto the glass ahead. The moment you slot the reverse gear, the camera turns on. This coupled with the wide mirrors enhance the driving experience

The suspension set up is quite sophisticated. It uses double pivot for the front and multi-link for the rear. This translates for a firm ride but gives a metre wide grin while around corners. The 20 inch run flats providing for a superb grip but little to protect from the surface irregularities. The Dynamic Drive Control (DDC) eliminates torque understeer to give for an unmatched agility, sort of good comfort and unmatched for driving pleasure. Remove the run flats and put in normal tubeless tires and the X5 will give you a good ride as well.

Few people in this segment would take the X5 out in the wild. But while they do it, they wouldn’t be mightily diasppointed. X5 has the best all performance run flats and that with the all wheel drive system, it enchances traction and grip levels.

Complementing the handling of the SUV are the Xenon cornering lamps. These follow the curve of the steering and thus amply light up the road ahead.

Engine,Performance and fuel efficiency

Two engines are on option for the regular gasoline duties. A V8 and a straight 6. The new X5 xDrive50i has been plonked with a 4.4L TwinPower Turbo V-8 engine. It does enough to produce 400-hp and 450 lb-ft of torque. This is an increase of 50 horsepower more and 100 lb-ft of torque than the previous generation 4.8L V-8. This corresponds to better acceleration times of 0-60 mph time of 5.3 seconds which is 1.1 seconds quicker than the previous motor. The other 300 Hp motor produces 300 lb-ft of torque and this means a significant increase of 40 hp power and 75 pound feet of torque. Acceleration times for this from 0-60 mph is now at 6.4 seconds. A more competent 3.0 liter straight six does xDrive35d is accompanied by 265 ponies and an overwhelming 435 Nm of torque. There is also the potent X5 M version with the same 4.4L TwinPower Turbo V-8 engine but now producing 555 Hp and humongous 500 Nm of lugging power. Expect super car like performance from this engine.

BMW literally would have made Newton rethink his Laws of Motion. According to Newton, such a big and heavy vehicle cannot corner like it would on rails and that is what the X5 repeatedly does.

The gearbox is twin clutch rivalling and offers fast shifts. It also makes sure you are always in the powerband no matter in which speed or gear you are in. Put the car into Sports mode and shifts would be lightning quick. The features helping the BMW engines in achieving high performance combined with efficiency to boot for are the Double VANOS variable valve timing, BMW’s High Precision Direct Injection as also the Valvetronic electronic valve actuation mode. These are all on demand and hence minimize waste.

Speaking of  effciency, the X5 xDrive35d turbo diesel slated as one of the “cleanest diesels” has EPA ratings of 19/26 city and highway respectively. The 4.8-liter V8 gives 14/19 mpg in the city/highway cycle. The M version of it returning 12/17 mpg in city/highway conditions. And finally, BMW X5 xDrive30i is pegged at 15/21 mpg (city/highway).

All the versions of  BMW X5 get BMW Ultimate Service package as standard, which is basically roadside assistance coupled with regular maintenance for four years/50,000 miles whichever is earlier.

Verdict

BMW’s core values like fun to drive, high quality material and reliability are all infused into the X5 SUV neee SAV. Agreed it has a more starting price than its rivals{read the GL class, Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne} but it is all the more efficient and also provides thrills be it for straight flat out riding or going around corners. Agreed that the seating comfort isn’t much in the 2nd and 3rd row and the ride isn’t that good but the riding experience more than compensates for this small niggles. You get a very safe SUV as well with 5 star ratings been accorded to it by the US federation for roads. A must buy if driving pleasure tops your list of priorities. The new 2011 X5 is slated to have a new look albeit not entirely and a revision to its engines. A new eight speed automatic transmission is to make its debut in the 2011 X5.

Price for the X5 start from $45,800 3.0 liter turbo and going upto $85,500 for the fully blown M version.

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