2014 BMW X5 revealed
The new generation of BMW's most luxurious SUV is designed to take the model further upmarket and create some fresh air in the range between the X5 and its smaller brother, the X3.
The car's styling gets a light refresh, with a shorter front overhang and surfacing along the sizeable flanks. The overall profile is similar to that of the X3, in fact - albeit on the larger scale required by a model that can offer three rows of seats.
The latest X5 will be offered with a choice of five engines - four diesels and one petrol - and, for the first time, with the option of a rear-wheel-drive model alongside the usual four-wheel-drive variants. Regardless of how many driven wheels it has, the X5's gearbox will be a standard eight-speed automatic, equipped with stop-start.
UK sales will start on November 16, with three initial models. The xDrive30d uses a 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbodiesel engine with 255bhp and 413lb ft of torque, and it can reach 62mph from rest in 6.9sec. BMW claims this X5 is around 20% more efficient than the model it replaces, with a combined fuel economy figure of 45.6mpg and CO2 emissions from 162g/km.
The performance-focused X5 M50d offers 376bhp and 546lb ft, for a 0-62mph time of 5.3 seconds, with combined fuel economy of 42.2mpg and CO2 emissions starting at 177g/km. There will also be a petrol at launch - the xDrive50i - which brings 443bhp and 479lb ft from its twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 motor. Its poor fuel economy (27.2mpg) and high CO2 emissions (242g/km) mean it will sell in tiny numbers in the UK, though.
Three further diesel-engined models will arrive before the end of this year: the sDrive 25d and xDrive25d, which introduce a four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbodiesel motor into the X5 range for the first time, and the xDrive40d.
The 2.0-litre turbodiesel has 215bhp and 332lb ft in both of its models, but the rear-drive sDrive25d model's greater efficiency brings its CO2 emissions down to 149g/km and lifts economy to 50.4mpg. The four-wheel-drive xDrive25d emits 155g/km and averages 47.9mpg.
The xDrive40d uses a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six turbodiesel with 309bhp and 465lb ft; it should return around 44mpg and emit 169g/km of CO2, although BMW has yet to confirm this.
The X5 has traditionally been one of the more road-focused SUVs, and the new variant looks poised to build upon that reputation with Drive Dynamic Control, which is standard on all models. It allows the driver to select different modes that adjust the power steering response, the gearbox set-up and, depending on which of the four suspension packages has been chosen, the car's ride and handling.
The cabin has been radically altered, with BMW's 10.2-inch wide-screen display dominating the fascia. Comfort or sports seats can be chosen for the front, while heated comfort seats are now available for the second row for the first time. The third-row seats can be lowered into the boot floor individually, potentially maximising boot space when only one of them is required.
BMW says the car offers at least 650 litres of boot space and up to 1870 litres if the second and third rows of seats are folded away completely.
BMW has already confirmed prices. The X5 sDrive25d will cost from £42,590; its four-wheel-drive sister, the xDrive25d, will start at £44,895. The xDrive30d will cost from £47,895, a rise of more than £2000 over the outgoing version, while the xDrive40d gets a similar hike, to £50,665.
The two most expensive models will be split by only a few hundred pounds; the X5 M50d will cost £63,715 and the X5 xDrive50i will start at £63,920.
By John McIlroy