WHO’S THE BOSS?
BMW says that among “Sports Activity Vehicles,” it’s unequivocally the X5. That the term Sports Activity Vehicles, or SAV, was coined by BMW itself to set the first-gen X5 apart from a sea of sport-utility vehicles, or SUV, should not dent the model’s status as top SAV.
Last week Asian Carmakers Corp. (ACC), which distributes BMW cars and motorcycles in the Philippines, introduced the all-new, third generation version of the X5. The distributor noted that with the new model, BMW is “once again setting the benchmark for powerful design, interior spaciousness and luxury, versatility, driving pleasure, efficiency and innovative equipment features.”
“The boss of all SAVs is back to assert BMW’s superiority when it comes to executing unmatched joy, whether on or off the road,” said ACC President Maricar Parco at the new model’s launch, held at a polo field in Makati City. “First introduced to the global market in 1999 and in the Philippine market in 2002, the BMW X5 is the pioneering vehicle that forever changed the face of the luxury SAV segment.”
The latest X5 lands in local BMW showrooms as an xDrive30d, which BMW promises lives up to its SAV tag. Key to this is the Roundel’s upgraded TwinPower Turbo technology. Where the system used to count only a twin-scroll turbocharger and direct injection, it now also includes BMW’s variable valve timing gizmo called Valvetronic. This means improved response and efficiency, according to BMW.
There are three trim levels available for the xDrive30d variant; standard and the Pure Experience and Pure Excellence, the latter two belonging to what BMW bills as “design worlds.” Basically, these two “design” packages are exterior and cabin enhancements to the standard specs.
Pure Experience is marked by brushed stainless steel trim on the body’s bottom part, air intake bars (those within the kidney grille) and rear trim strip finished in matte silver, and B-pillars and C-pillars painted gloss black. The car also has satin aluminum decor on its windows and its tailpipe gets the matte chrome treatment. BMW said this line has a “dark yet warm color scheme” to bring a “classically stylish and luxurious ambience” to the new X5’s cabin.
Pure Excellence means all exterior trim comes in body color, the kidney grille bars are black but with chrome accents, and more chrome on many other pieces.
Another BMW staple that finds its way on the new X5 is ConnectedDrive, the brand’s catch-all term for driver assistance systems and mobility services. In the latest X5, BMW said ConnectedDrive improves safety, convenience and the infotainment experience, boasting best-in-class standards in terms of interaction between driver, vehicle and the things around them.
“The all-new BMW X5 showcases the most premium comfort for both driver and passenger, with an interior finish made of the highest quality materials, an exclusive and relaxing ambiance and other innovative comfort-enhancing functions,” said Glen Dasig, ACC executive director for sales and marketing. “The vehicle also exudes an even more commanding road presence with sharper body lines, a wider rear and an overall more muscular design, turning heads and catching eyes wherever it goes.”
The xDrive30d is rushed along by an inline-six diesel engine that, BMW said, “incorporates a range of detail improvements” that strike a balance between performance and fuel consumption. It bolts to an eight-speed automatic transmission. BMW said the gearbox’s “high internal efficiency, precision and short shift times help to improve efficiency and driving enjoyment.” The thing has a new “launch control” function that works with the X5’s traction control system, meaning engine oomph gets down to the road as efficiently as possible. Great for nought-to-100kph times.
The transmission actually forms part of BMW’s EfficientDynamics suite of fuel-saving, emission-cleaning features. In the new X5, thrown in with the package are brake energy regeneration, automatic start/stop, on-demand operation of ancillary parts, electric power assist for the steering, low roll-resistance tires and a variety of weight- and drag-reducing features. A strict diet—cutting weight wherever possible—also means the new X5 did not gain poundage despite its slightly larger dimensions and more features.
Just as efficient is the new car’s aerodynamics—the best in its class, BMW asserts—which makes use of active upper and lower front air flaps, air curtains, the brand’s Air Breather system, vertical blades at the rear window, air deflectors on the front wheel arches, and a range of other upgrades.
Aerodynamics pushes the X5 to the ground, of course, and so what the car does with traction is just important. Like its predecessors then, as well as the rest of the BMW range whose four wheels can send power to the ground, the new X5 gets the corporate xDrive. BMW calls it a full-time, intelligent all-wheel drive system as it continuously determines the grip available between the two axles, then allocates power to whichever of the two has the most (a host of other systems further looks out for which among the wheels are slipping). As part of the new X5’s diet, its xDrive loses 1.4 kilograms in weight.
What also remains within the same range from the previous top-spec variant are the latest X5’s price tags. ACC sells the new X5 xDrive30d Standard for P6.490 million and the Pure Experience and Pure Excellence for P6.990 million.
Big bucks? Surely nothing big bosses can’t handle.