BMW Ups Luxury For New X5

The new X5 shares key parts of its structure with the 7 Series saloon

New platform and enhanced ride set to broaden the appeal of fourth-gen SUV

A bigger cabin features a 12.3in high-definition instrument panel

The fourth-generation BMW X5 promises “new-found comfort and refinement”, according to Johann Kistler, the model’s project manager.

He said the improvement is thanks to the X5’s new platform, which shares key elements with the brand’s CLAR architecture used by the 5 Series and 7 Series.

Kistler said it elevates the X5’s capabilities to a new level, with the model’s established reputation for performance and handling now enhanced by an improved ride.

The advancements are enough to give it an edge over rivals, he added, including the Audi Q7, Jaguar F-Pace, Porsche Cayenne and Mercedes-Benz GLE.

Launching in the UK towards the end of the year following a debut at the Paris show in October, the premium SUV has been comprehensively re-engineered for what will be its 20th anniversary next year.

We’ve added an extra layer of comfort that will provide the X5 with more appeal than ever

Along with the new platform, which is shared with the upcoming X7, the X5 is bigger inside and out, has updated powertrains and features BMW’s latest digital cockpit and infotainment functions in a more luxurious cabin.

Kistler said: “We’ve built on the X5’s dynamic qualities with the inclusion of developments such as Integral Active Steering [four-wheel steer] and the latest version of Dynamic Drive Active Roll Stabilisation [electrically operated anti-roll bars], but we’ve also added an extra layer of luxury and comfort that we think will provide the new model with more appeal than ever.”

Chassis developments include optional air suspension featuring air springs both front and rear. Available as part of an off-road package that also brings off-road driving modes and a differential lock, it replaces the suspension set-up of the outgoing model, which only used air springs at the rear, and is combined with front double wishbones and a five-link arrangement at the rear.

A stiffer bodyshell with added aluminium is also said to offer a 33% increase in torsional rigidity, to help better isolate road shock and secondary vibration.

The new platform and chassis will also be used by the third-generation X6 that’s due in the middle of next year.

The new X5’s evolutionary styling includes an angular kidney-shaped grille that is joined in the middle to help give it greater prominence. It also has active air flaps to help the model achieve a drag coefficient of up to 0.31.

Headlights come with a laser light option, which is said to increase high-beam reach by more than 200 metres compared with standard LED headlights.

Inside, there is more space for all occupants. Tech highlights include a 12.3in digital instrument panel and a similar-sized infotainment screen, both featuring BMW’s new ID7 operating system.

At the rear, an optional third row of seats is said to provide added leg and head room compared with the existing X5.

Other options include a head-up display with a larger screen than the outgoing X5’s, a Bowers & Wilkins sound system, conversational speech recognition control, gesture control and a touch-control rear seat entertainment system.

One six-cylinder petrol and two six-cylinder diesel engines will be available at launch. The most popular unit for the UK is expected to be the 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel-powered xDrive30d, which produces 261bhp and 457lb ft.

Additional engines will follow, including a plug-in hybrid that will use a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine in combination with a gearbox-mounted electric motor to deliver a combined 321bhp and 664lb ft as a successor to today’s xDrive40e.

An off-road package will be available
on the new X5

As with the current X5, all models come as standard with an eight-speed torque converter-equipped automatic gearbox and BMW’s xDrive four-wheel drive system.

Two trim lines will be available: xLine and the higher-spec M Sport.

Deliveries in the UK will kick off in December, with pricing expected to start from £56,710 for the xDrive30d xLine — a rise of £2935 over the equivalent outgoing X5.

GREG KABLE