Friday, 20 September 2013

BMW X5 xDrive30d: Bamo Bull Power

- by GB Bajaj, CEO & Strategist at GB LUXE LIFE for Stylefluid Trendz

BMW X5, was the world’s first premium SAV (sport activity vehicle) launched in 1999. All were shell shocked at its design and power, having sold more than 1 million units since launch. The X5 does exude an aura of style, power, and luxurious comfort.

The design and looks are very eye catching - soft mean look with attention to details and design with the distinctive narrowed dual round Xenon headlights, incorporating the signature corona rings, between them the traditional and wider front kidney design grille chrome-finished, for more engine cooling - four air intakes in honey comb style with fog lamps, giving it the sex appeal and sporty aggressiveness.

I just love the front of the X5, it really exhilarates me. The flowing four lines at the bonnet, just seduces you to be behind the wheel.  

Few of the standard exterior options include power outside mirrors, rear window wiper/washer, intermittent rain-sensing windshield wipers, adaptive headlights and roof rails.  The X5 3.0d rests on 18-inch light alloy wheels with star spokes 204, tyre specs: 255/55 R 18 and the wheelbase is 2933mm and the comfort of accessing with keyless entry is a boon. For aesthetics, the rear view mirrors and the door handles are in body color and electrically adjustable with automatic anti-dazzle function. The roof railing in matt black and aluminum running board in chrome are optional.

The rear of the BMW X5 is stunning and oozes masculinity. The rear tail lights are redesigned in L shape and placed over tail gate and side walls for better viewing. A rear spoiler with high stop lamp is integrated above the wide rear windshield with the deadly look accentuated by twin chrome tipped exhaust pipes, adding a style quotient to it for the diesel and trapezoidal ones for the V8 petrol version.
The side view looks sleek with body color door handles and rear view mirrors and an aluminum running board gleaming in the sunlight gives it a classy appeal with sleek roof rails.
The interiors are very contemporary with a blend of classic feel. The dashboard has wood finish panels and the centre console too with the instrumentation clearly readable and sharp having two dials and an integrated compact display monitor. The keyless entry is certainly a gift of technology, as I sit behind the 245 bamo bull hp and torque measuring to 540Nm@1750-3000rpm, very spacious and luxurious and the high driving position offering good all-round visibility. The powered steering wheel is wrapped in leather with multi-functions mounted controls over the spokes and equipped with an adjustable servotronic steering assistance system. The steering is light on heavy traffic and gets less sensitive on highways for safety reasons. Slip in the Best of Madonna cd into the 6 CD changer system paired with 12 loud speakers, USB/audio interface, a DVD changer system is optional only with HiFi professional.

Love the instrument panels and the powerful AC with 2 zone climate control AC vents, which include Automatic Air Recirculation (AAR) and condensation sensors, which keeps the cabin pollution free. The interiors are very spacious for the rear passengers too and the luggage capacity is a massive 1,750 liters, enough to fit in a golf bag and tons of groceries. Well let’s not forget, cup holders, magazine storage slots and other options.

There has been a new design to the interior layout with layers. The 8.8inch tablet size idrive color screen is very prominent and is definitely required for the front passengers for ease of reading navigation and for info on A/V, weather, etc.

The interior layout is designed with multiple horizontal layers, with the large iDrive screen sticking out of the centre of the dash like a big tablet. The new iDrive hi res 8.8 inch screen has the latest operating system installed with a new color scheme and a fast processor, whereby the menu screens are fast and smooth to scroll with interesting animations. Built-in internet access for iDrive is provided as an option or if the driver has a smart phone, he/she can easily access the internet through tethering via smart phone.

The iDrive interfaced with the 8.8inch widescreen LCD keeps you updated of the dynamics of the vehicle and the required settings with a great infotainment system to choose your music preference, climate control, etc and has made it simpler to figure out the personalization settings the driver requires.
As an option, multi view parking cameras and side view cameras are provided, which are essential on the streets of Bombay with chaotic traffic, a boon and to protect the X5 from being scraped during peak traffic time and even assists during tight parking, which is amazingly convenient.

After being seated on the Nevada leathered seats, the adjustable lumbar support - very relaxed - my excitement was boosted to test the X5, with functions of upper backrest and seat depth adjustment. The rear seats are standard and could use more cushioning. If you have a large family, as an option, a third row seat can be added, but accessing is inconvenient. For long drives, X5 is provided with trip computer and cruise control with brake function, optional.

The people sitting at the back, certainly deserve comfort and entertainment too, there has been small revisions made to the rear sets/bench, that it splits 40:20:40 instead of 60:40 and there is the option for shapely comfort seats similar to rear seats of the X6, which can slide front and back by 80mm and recline by up to 10 degrees.

Friends or family relaxed at the back seats can enjoy movies on the DVD system with rotatable display mounted between the front seats and enjoy great entertainment paired with a vibration-resistant DVD player, fitted in the central console and headphones ensure that the driver is not distracted. 

After a long day at office, the drive back home, sitting behind, it’s pretty quiet with more soundproofing provided and refinement, bliss.

Other comfort features include, Lumber support for driver and front passenger, On-board monitor with TV function, Panorama glass roof, Aluminum running boards, Armrest, front and rear, Car phone preparation, Cup holder front and rear, Exterior parts in body color, Floor mats in velour, Automatic air conditioning with 2-zone control,  HiFi system Professional LOGIC7, Interior and exterior mirrors with automatic anti-dazzle function, Lights package, Luggage-compartment separating net, Park Distance Control (PDC), Seat adjustment, electrical with pneumatic rear suspension, Windscreen with grey shade band, xDrive (all-wheel drive system with variable torque distribution), etc.

When it comes to safety and security features, it’s a long list, Airbags for driver and front passenger, Head airbags for front and 2nd-row passengers, Side airbags for front passengers, seat occupant detector, Warning triangle with first-aid kit, Rollover Sensor, Automatic fuel pump cut-off, Bumper system with interchangeable crumple zones front and rear absorbing impact at speeds up to 15 km/h, Runflat tyres, Seat belts, including automatic inertia reels, Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), Dynamic Brake Control (DBC), Anti-lock brake system (ABC), Automatic Differential Brake (ADB-X), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) with extended features, front with pyrotechnic belt tensioners and belt force limiters, rear with 3-point belts for all seats, Hill Descent Control (HDC), Integrated side-impact protection, etc.

The X5 comes loaded with plenty of safety features to take care of its occupants' safety. It has a dual front-impact airbag Supplemental Restraint System with dual-threshold and dual-stage deployment, 3-point safety belts and head restraints at all seating positions, a roll-over sensor that triggers airbags and safety belt pre-tensioners in the event of a roll-over, a steering column crash system, a central locking system and Coded Driveaway Protection, and an alarm system with key-head remote operation interior motion detector.

My X5 xDrive30d test SAV was equipped with a 3.0 liter, 6 cylinder, in-line diesel engine with turbocharger which generated 245 hp at 4000 rpm and a peak torque of 540 Nm at 1750-3000 rpm, mated to a Steptronic 8 speed automatic gearbox. This resulted in an exciting performance and the result from 0-100 kmph sprint in 7.6 seconds. This 3.0litre diesel engine ensured a mileage of about 6-7 kmpl in city and 10 - 12 kmpl on highways. 

Love the throttle response and step down is responsive enough, pulls of stronger and with very less lag perfectly matching the 8 speed gearbox, short and strong torque curve accurately.
The 8-speed automatic gearbox is efficient, smooth, quick shifting and calculates changes for gears perfectly. The auto start/stop function works smoothly with both engines.
BMW’s xDrive system comes with a default torque split scheme of 40:60 (front: rear) and the xDrive variants are featured with all wheel drive system with variable torque distribution.

The xDrive 4x4 system delivers phenomenal traction and one is reassured of hugging grip levels by transferring engine power flexibly and variably to each axle, ensuring the axle with the greatest traction receiving the most power and delivering optimum road-holding, perfect performance on bends and great forward thrust.

In BMW’s optional Adaptive Drive package, the chassis can be enhanced for further precision handling and road holding with the help of variable damper control and active anti roll bars which tightens body control even further and improves the handling and road holding.

The other engine variant available is the X5 50i, a petrol variant powered by a 4395cc, aggressive BMW TwinPower Turbo V8 petrol engine producing a max power of 407 hp at 5500-6400 rpm and churning a peak torque of 600 Nm at 1750-4500 rpm mated with a Steptronic 8 speed automatic transmission for efficient power delivery.

The overall length of the SUV is 4854mm, width 1933mm and height is 1776mm, with a higher ground clearance of 212mm with a wheelbase of 2933mm. 0-100 kmph mark in only 5.5 seconds giving mileage of 5 – 7 kmpl in the city and 9 - 11 kmpl on highways.

As I was driving the X5 xDrive 30d around town to have a feel of its power and handling, I am impressed, power is instantaneous and strong, just no turbo lag at all and switch to Sports mode, god damn, sharp and quick throttle response and road handling and road holding is precise and amazing, very similar to the MINI COOPER S, same DNA and while negotiating a sharp U turn at 45kmph, absolutely no skidding or screeching, those 225 size tyres seriously hugging the road and off we go. The cornering response and its amazingly known excellent body control providing perfect steering and braking, does encourage confidence for experimenting at higher speeds, but do buckle up hence must be a very experienced driver.

An efficient energy recovery system, brake energy regeneration available on all X5's is so useful; the battery can be charged “free of charge”. As the driver stops accelerating, the kinetic energy is transformed into brake energy regeneration into electrical energy that is stored and the battery requires less power input vehicle starts again, reducing energy consumption and frees up the engine.

BMW has always stood for not only being innovative to its customers but additionally to provide the convenience and sheer driving pleasure, apart from being seated inside comfortably and not feeling any bumps and enjoying the scenic mountain drive with serpentine curves or a rough stretch through a river bank. BMW did a suspension overhaul, beginning with the front suspension which was entirely redesigned - the springs are softer and matching the appropriate damper setting as well with the lower spring pans now positioned closer to the axle and for better bump absorbing, the bump stops have been improved.
The Adaptive Drive system has made body roll short with its electronically controlled variable anti roll bars using electric motors to pull the car’s axles straight. In a straight line, the anti roll bar would disconnect, allowing high levels of comfort. Supported by Dynamic Damping Control, Dynamic Drive ensures that active stabilizers on the front and rear axles deliver an outstandingly smooth ride and enhanced agility.
The rear suspension springs, dampers and bump stops are tweaked, by introducing new designed suspension top mount called a ‘three way damper joint’ which has contributed significantly to the new X5's superb drive. After testing them on Bombay roads, the best roads to test auto suspension, the new X5 is a lot smoother over small bumps or very irregular surfaces.
Complementing the engine performance and suspension system, the eight-speed automatic delivers smooth shifts with quick responses as needed and to get to everybody’s attention, the additional ratios is the main reason for the impressive fuel-economy. The in-gear response is excellent with smooth shifting of the eight-speed automatic transmission now standard on all X5’s; it does compliment the X5 engines refined performance.

These Bamo Bulls with best of luxury features comes with both side ventilated disc brakes and the advanced suspensions, like Double-joint spring strut axle, rear Multilink axle and for the Sports suspension settings, the Self-leveling with pneumatic type suspension which provides the superb road handling and road holding.

Time for a romantic drive and look up in the sky, nearly full moon, optional panorama glass-roof with two-piece glass panels, for stunning view of the stars. The roof has power slide and lift control, wind deflector, and during the day, use the electric interior sunshade. As I change the music to Natalie Imbruglia, switch to dynamic cruise control, which is standard and just checking the X5's electronic analog instrumentation with LED illumination displaying the outside temperature @ 22deg C besides other readings. The audio system has a standard anti-theft AM/FM stereo CD radio with Radio Data System, MP3 capability, and a 3-channel FM diversity antenna system with a high-fidelity 12-speaker sound system, including two subwoofers under the front seats and a digital 7-channel amplifier with 205 watts of power, very tempting to change to techno music, but it’s a romantic drive, so will raise the volume a bit, to hear Natalie's sweet and angelic voice and all the musical instruments can be heard crystal clear. BMW has kept standard in the X5, the rear-window defroster and tire pressure monitor.

If you want the Premium Sound Package, it’s got ample entertainment options which include premium high-fidelity 16-speaker sound system with Digital Sound Processing, two subwoofers under the front seats and digital 9-channel amplifier with 600 watts of power, and a 6-disc CD-changer with MP3 capability.

The variants of colors available with all BMW X5 are, Sparkling Bronze, Platinum Grey, Black Sapphire, Space Gray Metallic, Titanium Silver, Vermilion Red, Platinum Bronze and Deep Sea Blue.

As the trend for owning a SUV/SAV, be it X6 or Q7 or ML 350 or Range Rover continues, its more about intimidating, prestige and luxury space than its perceived value for its 4X4 off road capabilities, which is of course very important as the 4x4 system does assist in controlling the X5 on a slippery road or a rough terrain with a high seating view.

X5's sporty aura and its firm ride may feel too stiff for some but its promising new benchmarks for design, efficiency and driving pleasure that has won the hearts of many BMW enthusiasts and the competition has switched to BMW X5 too.



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