COLLAGE firstThe feeling of awe always comes back whenever I step into a BMW. Its been a while since I last drove one, so when the opportunity to drive the X5 came last weekend, this was just the excuse needed to get out of Mumbai.

The BMW X5 is majestic looking and stylish, stands tall and dynamic, and screams premium luxury all the way. BMW is known to make cars that speak a very distinctive design language. The X5 is no different. The X5Mdrive30d is the high-performance variant of BMW’s premium midsize SUV. The M version is fast, extremely well-tuned that apart from long road trips, its equally at home on a racetrack. A salute to the engineering prowess of BMW.

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THE OUTSIDE:

There are Xenon headlights with four LED illuminated rings for side lights, day time driving lights, and front ornamental grilles with kidney grille bars in matt black on offer.COLLAGE outWalk to the side and you are greeted by side view mirrors which come equipped with electric fold, memory function and integrated LED turn indicators. Chrome line exteriors, aluminium running board, M branded 19-inch alloys and a chrome covered tail pipe, LED tail lights and 2 part tail gates complete the package on offer from the outside .

THE INSIDE:

Step into the cabin and you are greeted with further M division treatment. One gets a leather wrapped steering wheel with M division colours for the stitching. Heads Up Display which is very airplane inspired and a great feature to have while driving. The interiors feature fine wood trims with popler grains, floor mats in velour, light packages with nine ambient lighting designs in three colour LEDs.COLLAGE int 1.jpgThe front seats come equipped with electric adjustment and memory function while the seats in second row come with optimized upholstery. The front armrest comes with a storage compartment. The rear backrest is foldable in 40.20.40 ratio.

The automatic air conditioning comes with four zone climate control. For the second-row passengers efficient cooling/heating is delivered courtesy the extended air vents.COLLAGE int 2.jpgThe infotainment system is a largish 16.5cm colour display. The system offers Bluetooth, audio streaming, hands free, USB connectivity, and HiFi loudspeaker with 16 speakers for a terrific surround sound experience while listening to your favourite music.

There’s a panoramic sunroof available. The only time I see that being used is in parts of the country where the climate is cool and pleasant during winter.

SAFETY FEATURES:

Safety in the X5 is of the highest industry standards. It comes with surround protection airbags that is airbags for driver and front passenger, side airbags for front passenger, head airbags for front and rear, and three-point seat belt for pyrotechnic belt tensioner keeping the passengers safe from frontal and side impact collisions.

Stopping power on the X5 comes courtesy the ventilated disc brakes on all wheels with ABS with brake assist, cornering brake control system.

Auto hold, hill descent control system assist along with electric parking brake is available as part of the driving assist package. The SUV also has crash sensors and park distance control system, with rear view camera to make parking a smooth and easy exercise.

To round it off, the X5 comes with Dynamic stability control system and traction control. Traction control can be turned off for days, when one is throwing the X5 on the race track under proper guidance and supervision. Not something you try in daily driving and on public roads.

UNDER THE HOOD:

The BMW X5MDrive30d has a 2993cc six-cylinder diesel engine delivering power output of 258PS at 4000RPM; and torque of 560Nm at 1500 to 3000 RPM. The transmission on offer is an eight-speed step tronic automatic transmission with gear shift paddles on steering wheel and drive connected to all wheel.  It gets adaptive air suspension which includes Dynamic Damper Control and air suspension on the rear axle.

The driving modes available are Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ modes. The mileage range as per ARAI claims is 15.97 kmpl which will vary in real world driving conditions. But it is still a very efficient SUV in terms of fuel consumption.outside4.jpgDRIVING EXPERIENCE

I spent a weekend with the X5mDrive30d. Smooth, fast and supremely efficient was the experience. This is a SUV that is equally easy to drive at low speeds in dense traffic conditions, as it is on empty highways. This is a car that needs to be driven over distances on large wide roads. That lets you experience the enormous torque and power on offer. In Eco pro mode the SUV is a docile creature that returns maximum efficiency in every aspect. Switch to comfort and the character shifts up a notch. While still relaxed in his demeanour, the power output goes up and getting to 3-digit speeds happens rapidly. Another interesting feature is how the driving display changes, according to the mode one is driving in. That is very car game-play inspired and very funky.COLLAGE modeSwitch to sport and the driver display changes to shades of red. Press on the gas and whoa! this large SUV moves like a race car. The power, suspension setup and driving dynamics are sharp, precise. You must pinch yourself to be reminded that this is a SUV one is driving. If that still doesn’t satisfy your racing passion, switch to Sports+. Now traction control is turned off and this SUV becomes a race track beast. Making this the perfect companion for track days.

Road conditions in our country while good are still not to notch. Makes no difference to this X5. It handled every kind of road with ease. Not once did any of my fellow passengers complain of discomfort during the road trip.

THE VERDICT:

Luxurious, premium in fit and finish, superlative performance and the BMW label makes this one attractive SUV to own.outside5.jpgIf one is the market for a SUV that gives you both the comfort along with race performance dynamics, then look no further. The BMWX5Mdrive30 is that SUV for you.

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sanjeev joshi

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