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Motoring: BMW a great bang for your buck?

Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | August 25th, 2014



It was very early on a Sunday morning. The sun had just come up, and what sat in front of me was a familiar two-lane black top, which is quite smooth and has no interrupting driveways.

While I always adhere to the laws of the road, this empty stretch presented me with the ideal opportunity to bury the throttle in, if only for a few seconds. What followed was eye-opening acceleration, and a growl from the motor that would please any car enthusiast.

The vehicle I was in was not some low-slung sports car; it was a big, heavy SUV, which thanks to its motor, can certainly pick up speed very well. The vehicle I was in was the 2014 BMW X5 xDrive50i.

This model comes equipped with a 4.4 litre, V8 engine that features two twin-scroll turbo chargers. Net result is 445 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. Power is fed to all-wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

According to BMW, the X5 xDrive50i model can accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in just 5.3 seconds, and if you buy one with the M sport package – like my tester was – it has a top speed electronically limited at 250 km/h.

I got nowhere close to that in my run, nor was I planning to test that claim on a public road. However, I did experience some of the performance potential of this vehicle, and trust me, this is one of the few SUVs that a true car lover would be happy to drive every day.

While it has speed, its body composure was not the greatest. Nothing to be alarmed about, at no point did the vehicle feel unsafe – it just reminded me that I was in a five passenger SUV that has the kind of cargo space to carry a months worth of groceries. So while it can do silly speeds, I say, just enjoy its luxuries and practicality, and use its power for quick and safe overtaking maneuvers.

Similar to its straight line performance, it is a familiar story when it comes to its handling. While the X5 handles well – especially when equipped with the M performance package – it will never encourage you to take the twisty route home. It has lots of grip, but the size and weight of the vehicle (4,882 mm long and curb weight is 2,336 kg) is far from ideal for a back road carver. The electronic power steering also lacks feel, which makes it tricky to place the vehicle on curvy roads, but I will say the X5 is better at this than just about any other SUV on the market.

It is also better than its competition in terms of fit and finish, and the luxuries it presents. For instance, BMW offers an optional panoramic sunroof on the 2014 X5 and it is the largest such unit I have ever come across. Couple that with its latest iDrive system and an infotainment system that gives you live weather updates based on your geographical location on its dashboard mounted screen and you can’t help but feel very satisfied with the vehicle you’re driving.

Driving the 2014 X5 is not cheap. First of all, the asking price is a bit steep – base version of the xDrive50i model starts at $76,590. Want the M Sport package? That’ll add $4,000. My tester was so highly equipped, its price tag was well north of $90,000. Filling one up is not cheap either, since it only wants to drink premium fuel, and even with careful driving, I averaged just 13.0 litres/100km.

Those looking to save some money can opt for the xDrive35i and xDrive35d models, which carry a base price of $62,990 and $64,490 respectively.

I haven’t driven the diesel version yet, but have driven the xDrive35i model, which I found to be just as entertaining to drive (albeit with a little less power), drank less fuel, and had all the same luxuries. If I was to buy, this would be the SUV for me.
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