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BMW X5 review: Leader of the pack

BMW's X5 is now in its fourth iteration, but evolution has been more than kind to it.

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The latest X5 is a true-blue luxury car in all but shape.

Singapore

BMW's first Sport Utility Vehicle, the X5, came out all of 20 years ago, but it is clear that evolution has been kind to the model.

The decision for the original X5 to eschew off-road ability and emphasise on-road luxury was an unconventional one, but that laid the foundations for what we have today: the latest X5 is a true-blue luxury car in all but shape.

That is chiefly thanks to the bits you cannot see. Luxury is all about effortlessness and being insulated from the outside world. The engine certainly takes care of the former. The 3.0-litre six-cylinder is both punchy and refined, offering sports car-baiting acceleration without breaking a sweat.

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Standard-fit air suspension takes care of the latter. The X5 rides like it is floating on air, which is astounding given the humongous optional 21-inch rims on our test car (20-inch wheels are standard).

Meanwhile, a bigger body means that there is both more space for people as well as space for more people - the X5's default configuration is a seven-seater, something not all of its rivals feature. Five-seater cars, like our test unit, are by special request only.

Finally, there are plenty of "Ooh!"-inducing features, such as a glass roof that lights up at night, an app that turns your smartphone into a virtual key, and a high-definition twin-screen dashboard. The X5 can even reverse itself out of a tight spot and trace the exact path which you drove in, which sounds like a neat party trick but is really a useful feature in a car this big.

Exact pricing for the seven-seater X5 is not confirmed yet, but BMW reps said that it should cost S$353,000 with Certificate of Entitlement. This means that the X5 will not be the cheapest in its class, but rivals are either older, less powerful or less practical.

It is arguable whether BMW really did pioneer this car segment in 1999 (Lexus says it got there first with 1998's RX 300), but there is a strong case to be made that the X5 leads the pack today.


BMW X5 xDrive40i xLine

Engine 2,998cc,inline6, twin-turbo
Power 340 hp at 5500 rpm
Torque 450 Nm at 1500 rpm
Gearbox 8-speed automatic
0-100 kmh 5.5 seconds
Top Speed 243 kmh
Fuel Efficiency 8.5 L/100km (estimate)
Agent Performance Motors Limited
Price S$353,000, including Certificate of Entitlement (indicative)
Available Second quarter, 2019