The new BMW X5 is quite simply just better in every possible way. This is a very popular model worldwide, and also in India. The India spec car arrived in May this year and we get the X5 in three variants. There's the xDrive30d in Sport and XLine trims and the petrol X5 xDrive40i. The new X5 looks better proportioned overall, despite that large kidney grille. LED lighting elements and subtle use of chrome and plastics do work well too. But I told you this from its global drive, and in terms of capability and technology we have pretty much got everything that test car had to offer. It also pushes the envelope on off-road capability. The new X5 is impeccably finished inside and out, and has tonnes of features. But it's just how well it drives that truly stands out for me.
Also Read: 2019 BMW X5 First Drive Review
In India, the BMW X5 gets the option of 3 litre engines - yes that's both the diesel and petrol. Just one trim on the Petrol, but you've got two on the diesel. So there's the X5 xDrive30d xLine and Sport, and the X5 xDrive40i in M Sport trim. The petrol engine makes 333 bhp and 450 Nm of peak torque. The car with me is the xLine diesel. It makes 261 horses and 620 Nm of torque. The engine is eager to perform and will never slack off. There's virtually no lag and it's how the chassis and engine work together to give you a responsive, controlled and fun drive that truly impresses. The ride quality is excellent and the car just handles beautifully. Any BMW is likely to be the driver's car in its class. The last X5 did that too, but as the then newer rivals came in - they more or less matched it. Everything from the Range Rover Velar, to the Audi Q7. But now with this new generation, boy does the X5 stand out once again. It is just such fun to drive! Yes this is out and out, a driver's car and it will be a shame how many will end up with their owners in the back seat - but that's the Indian market for you.
The new X5 comes loaded with lots of technology and like the sibling the 7 series, now you get a display key with its little LCD screen. This gives you lots of functions and so if you are within range, it will tell you the status of the car. So whether all doors and windows are locked or not, whether the sunroof is closed, fuel and other fluid levels, driving range, AC status, etc. In addition to that, when you are next to the car and you want to maybe load in some cargo, or ease access for elderly passengers, you can simply lower the car by activating the function on the screen. The adaptive air suspension drops the car or raises it from the key fob itself. There's also a button in the boot that lets you do the same thing of course. The cargo cover or parcel tray retracts electrically and it along with its housing can also fold down into the floor to give you ample cargo room. The split tailgate is also electrically folding as standard. Since the car is locally assembled there are very few colours and trims on offer. White, black or the blue with me are your paint choices, and there are 4 leather and plastic combination trims for the cabin.
Also Read: 2019 BMW X5 Launched In India
As I told you from the global drive, it's a completely new experience being inside the cabin of the new generation X5. Most of what we saw then has come to India, so it's got the little crystal finish gear shift lever, start-stop button, and iDrive controller. The technology is very obvious as well because you got these little screens for the individual AC control display. The touchscreen is huge and it houses everything that you can think of in terms of connectivity. Bluetooth, audio streaming, maps, Apple CarPlay etc. BMW's new virtual assistant is also here, so you simply say "Hi BMW" and speak commands to the car in conversational language. You can change the name; you don't have to call it BMW if you don't want to! A virtual cluster as well, that's got a little bit of customization, and looks pretty neat! The head-up display is optional, though is standard on the petrol. The large sunroof is embedded little LED display pattern at night - coordination with the ambient lighting colour setting. There's gesture control too of course - just like in most new BMWs.
The new X5 will certainly lift the experience for buyers - yes even those at the back, where you can get optional touchscreens for rear entertainment and also plug in your phones to charge. The focus on infotainment is quite obvious though. There's also 20 GB of internal storage where you can put your maps and of course your music too. This car is a lot more comfortable than the last one.
Now there's a unique advantage for BMW, and it's happening in many segments. That is the fact that it's got one of youngest and most fresh fleets on the market right now. With the X5 in particular the position is even stronger since the rivals are all older. The Range Rover Velar and Audi Q7 are due for their facelifts, while we wait for the inexplicably delayed next generation Mercedes-Benz GLE. Come next year and all these cars will be back with a bang, but I reckon the X5 will still have enough ammunition to take the attack head-on. Once big brother X7 joins the party, BMW will also have its widest ever SUV portfolio ever in India. Yes the X1, X3, X4, X5, X6 and X7 flagship will really offer many options to buyers. Throw in the M versions of some of these SUVs and it may well be the market's largest SUV offering from one brand.