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|23rd February 2010, 23:31||#1|
Join Date: Aug 2008
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BMW X5 V8: Resident Evil
Some are born monsters. The most terrifying are created.
The picture above barely encapsulates the terrifying nature of the beast that we harboured in our garage for a period of a week. It gazed angrily at the wall it was parked against, seemingly aghast that a puny concrete wall could stand in itís way. It scared the watchmanís kids. It just stood there. The BMW X5. 4.8. V8.
Do not ask me how, but an EXTREMELY generous friend of our family decided that we had to experience the car to believe what he was on about. Below lies a detailed description of my experiences with thisÖanimal, at the end of that week.
Just look at it. Or rather, let it look at you.
When viewed from the front, the X5 is a terrifying vehicle to behold. Itís the same sense of terror that you face when youíre standing in front of a stationary Railway Engine.
The most noticeable of all its visual characteristics is its phenomenal width. Itís a very wide car, almost 2 meters wide. The muscular lines along the length of its bonnet are ominous signs of things to come. The grills snort almost unapologetically. Note the really cool cut that extends from the bonnet line into the front headlamp. The lower portion of the front bumper is clad in a boring shade of gray plastic. Iím assuming this is for those rare occasions you take the car off-roading.
Onto the side profile. I think the car looks very balanced. It follows a very traditional SUV-ish shape, unlike the gargantuan Q7 that looks like a spaceship with wheel arches from a palace. I measured the wheelbase as roughly 3 meters, and thatís pretty big! The alloys are stunning. Intricately detailed 7 Y spokes look great. The tyres are positively MASSIVE. 225/50- 19 inchers fill up the wheel arches quite comfortably. The imprint this thing leaves is huge to say the least. Just look at that hapless leaf in the picture above!
I have attached a picture of a small plastic bottle standing next to the wheel to give you some idea of the size.
They arenít runflats thankfully and therefore a full size spare is provided.
The roof rails are merely a cosmetic touch, pretty useless otherwise. I doubt too many owners would strap their canoe onto the roof of this car and damage the high gloss metallic paint.
The rear of the car really disappoints me. I understand itís for the sake of functionality (split tailgate etc etc etc) but still. After such aggressive design so far, itís a bit of a let down. The steep drop from the nicely sloped rear windshield is abrupt. Almost like a model with all the right curves, but with the most essential ones missing!
Classy touches still run free though. Just look at these exquisitely crafted exhaust pipes!
Last edited by Nitronium : 23rd February 2010 at 23:35.
|23rd February 2010, 23:53||#2|
Join Date: Aug 2008
Thanked: 7 Times
Interiors & Features
When youíre paying close to a crore for an SUV it should unquestionably be awesome to sit in. And oh boy, the X5 takes things to another level.
Letís begin with the console and layout.
The design philosophy of most other Beamers has been well followed here (boring but still classy). Key to the right of the wheel, light controls to the left, lovely beige leather all around. When you open the doors, the entire cabin is bathed in a sea of warm, ambient, inviting and tasteful light.
The CD changer was boyishly awesome fun to operate, with a barely noticeable button opening up the seemingly solid wood into the 6 CD/DVD changer. There no getting tired of that.
The gearlever by itself is a work of art, and is pretty much standard throughout the range, save the 3 series. Ironically, the manual handbrake is engaged with a button that has to be pulled upwards. Automation of a manual task. Sigh BMW. Whatís wrong with a good Ďol fashioned handbrake lever?
The orange dials are ringed with red, and are very striking, at night particularly.
The iDrive seats neatly in the middle. It wasnít hard to figure out, very much unlike the horror stories of itís complexity that I kept hearing about. Anyone with half a brain will figure out navigation through the menus in five minutes of operation. The system by itself was overrated and I never really got the sense I was doing anything important. The screen is very useful for the visual parking sensor thingamajig.
The seats. Aah. Theres no getting tired of the infinite adjustments you can make on the two front seats. First up there the 12 way (or more?) seat adjustment.
Once youíve spent half a day finding the perfect driving position and have saved it into one of the two slots, youíre so snug, you wouldnít want to drive, instead, draw up a blanket and sleep.
The seats are even ventilated, meaning you can control the amout of air blowing past your neck, how hot you want your seat, and best of all, wait for itÖ.massaging seats. Yes. The car insists on caressing you as you drive along. It focuses on your bottom and follows the following pattern.
(Left cheek, right cheek, both cheeks, no cheek)
How much thought went into that bit of engineering, I wonder!
The driving position is commanding and amidst traffic, youíre positively towering over the likes of urban commuters and the sea of pedestrians callously crossing in front of you. You get a clear view of the surrounding environment, and the armrest is oh so perfectly positioned for your left elbow. I get a feeling that if you were given a road long and straight enough, you can circumnavigate the earth in one very comfortable sitting.
The rear benches are not as snug as the ones in the front. Sure, they do seem very comfortable, but I did find the underthigh support to be rather weak. You never really sink into the plushness of leather as you rather sit on well contoured seats. Still, no complaints. Over long distances, Iím sure not many people would complain, unless they were exceptionally tall. The rear bench can accommodate 5 easily and shown below are the three configurations possible.
In the middle is a very expensive Ďoptionalí feature. The screen with a DVD drive to put your movies into and watch are a frivolous and welcome luxury in the world of the bored uber rich. There are two headphone outlets for them to listen in privacy. Really? Privacy in a carís cabin?? No comments on the experience, as I never really got down to watching movies in this car. Can you blame me?
There is also independent climate control for the rear passengers. It does a fairly good job, though to be honest, the temperature at the back is merely an average of the two differently set values. There is an AC vent on the passenger pillar as well.
Climate control up front is brilliant. The iDrive lets you choose different environment settings so as to regulate temperature and air flow.
The buttons on the centre console are shown below.
(L-R) Passenger seat massage, Park Distance Control, Traction control, Hill descent Control, Boot Release, Driver set massage.
There are very well positioned reading lamps near the head of the rear occupants.
The lights controls are shown below.
The left most scroller adjusts the intensity of the beam thrown. The top two buttons activate the left and right fog lamps. The main switch by itself has two settings.
One click to the right, the parking light blips on (corona rings et al).
One more click, the low beam lights up the broken tarmac up ahead.
The light does a weird trick of self adjusting for some reason that I canít fathom (X5 owners help please?). The bottom rightmost button activates the heads up display. Oh yes. The heads up display
It is VERY cool to see numbers dance around as you play with the accelerator. Sadly you donít get the rev counter projected as well.
The sunroof opens a rather large hole in the roof. Good for long drives and for when you get your hair blown dry. Ladies?
There are three levers behind the steering wheel.
The topmost is the direction indicator with a button tand flip switch to navigate through the display indicator.
The middle lever is for steering wheel adjust, telescopic tilt and rake.
The last lever is for cruise control. Pull towards yourself to set speed (only above 40 kmph) and push up or down for subsequent speed adjustment.
The boot is fairly large and can accommodate a medium sized dog comfortably. Not very relevant to the review, but she likes it.
Under the boot floor lies the full size spare. In the pocket to the right lies the owners manual and other colourful booklets.
Note the split tailgate in the dog picture.
Last edited by Nitronium : 23rd February 2010 at 23:56.
|23rd February 2010, 23:56||#3|
Join Date: Nov 2008
Thanked: 12 Times
i have seen lots X5s sorry boss it does not scare me. plus i have more affinity for the vw toureg. it can do stuff what any other suv is incapable of.! but over all X5 is a very capable monster and you have to own it and drive it yourself. to beleive it. what i am saying is that maybe the toureg or the q7 can't perfom like this on the road. and X5 can't perform like toureg offroad. i hope people understand what i am saying.
just another day an X5 came beside me. it was white and its was nice but i didn't see any wow factor with this SUV. its not as big as the Q7 it has the presence but neverthless i felt that something is missing. or maybe i have got used to watching these babies on road too much.
and on the top of the dashboard is that black leather or something else it kinda looks rough! :P is it just me or i am crazy?
Last edited by Caramelo : 24th February 2010 at 00:03.
|23rd February 2010, 23:58||#4|
Join Date: Aug 2008
Thanked: 7 Times
Engine, Steering, Transmission & Driving Experience
Most of you would have skipped to this part directly. I wouldnít blame you.
Under the bonnet lies a monster. A 4.8L 355bhp V8 MONSTER.
Words barely describe how brutal this engine can be.
Lets start the driving experience shall we?
You slot the key in and the iDrive welcomes you with a visual announcement of which car youíre in. Foot on the brake and press the Start button. The engine grunts to life albeit, gracefully, before settling into a composed idle. Simultaneously, the steering lowers itself into position and the sides of your seat close in on you around your torso. Neat.
Foot on the pedal again and slot it into D mode. The car inches forward without hesitation. Past itís idle rpm, the engine loves to make itís presence known. The engine is audible even at sub 2k levels. It purrs along as you gather speed. Itís hard not to get distracted by the numbers dancing around on you heads up display. The gearshifts are imperceptible and butter smooth. You wouldnít realize how quickly this car gathers speed until you find that slow cyclist approaching you at a much faster rate than expected.
In start-stop city traffic, the X5 remains calm and composed.
The road falls empty. 200 meters or so of empty road, you feel like a bit of a laugh. Hands grip the steering wheel tight and you mash the pedal into the carpeting. The car goes into kickdown mode. A brief moment of indecision, two gears down the car snorts, raises its front off the ground and suddenly three hundered and fifty brake horsepower are roaring in your ear with an orchestral theme that makes the hairs on your neck stand up. The engine note is biblical and the engine continues to combust petrol by the liter. You realize youíre crying, laughing and screaming all at once while buried as deep as possible into the leather seat. The speedo is showing you impossible speeds. Damnit! No more road, SLAM the brakes, the car comes to a graceful yet neck snapping halt. Silence of the engineís idle.
Turn the car around and do it again.
The steering is a tad disappointing. Itís too free-wheeling at parking speeds, not a bad thing though. It certainly helps maneuverability, but I was expecting a more involving driving experience. It certainly does firm up as speed increases. Itís a BMW, so stability around corners is impeccable. Chassis balance is unbelievable for such a big car. The car cocoons around you and the monocoque cockpit construction lets you focus on driving the SUV like a regular saloon. Meandering through traffic after a point becomes an intuitive experience and you lose that initial apprehension of taking such a big car out. The feedback is a bit damp, with only average levels of communication. But I guess that is to be expected in a car this big where the servo motors need to be hugely powerful to make low speed driving bearable.
Suspension. Big surprise. You would expect an íSUVí like this to iron out any imperfections in the road, but the stiffly sprung suspension is just as fidgety and uncomposed over bad roads as our 3 series. Most small bumps filter through to the cabin and the big ones leave you air borne if youíre going fast enough. This is clearly not something that enjoys being taken off road then. With itís low profile tires, it fails to create any sort of impression of Ďgo anywhere abilityí. It does feature hill descent control though. Yes. Right.
The permanent 4 wheel drive didnít let me have any tail out fun. But I donít really want to be at the end of a failed experiment do I now?
Overall ImpressionsOverall, the X5 is an overwhelming vehicle. Especially in itís V8 avatar. It is very big yet very practical. Very comfortable with hints of ostentatiousness. It pampers you with creature comforts that you didnít even know existed. It takes your beating soul and gives it a sound thrashing when youíre careless with the throttle. And by god, it does have a big, overwhelming presence.
But I do feel that it, like all other cars in itís category it is very confused. Itís styled like an SUV but canít do what an SUV does. For the same price you can get an M3, which is loads better to drive because well, it IS a sedan. So the X5 is a a wanna-be sedan. Hugely big and impressive, but not quite like the real thing. Itís too galactically large to qualify as the Ultimate Driving Experience.
That aside however it is one hell of a Driving Experience. One that will leave me craving for another go at the wheel. Take a bow X5. Take a bow.
(for the mileage conscious we managed 2.7 kmpl. Sorry Gaia.)
Feel free to ask any questions. I shall answer to the best of my ability.
|24th February 2010, 00:05||#5|
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Join Date: Dec 2006
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i just hate the fact that bmw gives black bumpers on the x5, even the 4.8i. it looks just horrible and pretty cheap. if painted it will look so much better.
nice review btw. interesting stuff. waiting for the drive of the 4.8i. EDIT - seems youve posted.
Last edited by akshay1234 : 24th February 2010 at 00:08.
|24th February 2010, 00:43||#6|
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Read in the ACI that BMW has stopped selling the 3L diesel X5 in India and only the 35i is available as the lowest model now.
Seems like a foolish move as almost all of it's sales were of the diesel.
|24th February 2010, 02:40||#7|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Apr 2004
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Looking at the interior pics, the X5 shares so much with the 5 series, that given the extra features and bigger engine, I would not pay more than Rs70L for this car. At nearly Rs 1Cr., the car could really be a lot better!
I for one would prefer buying a 530D for the fun-to-drive situations, and spend the rest of the money on a CR-V/Fortuner (for when the boot or extra GC is required). I would still have change left over to do chip the 530D, and the SUV, as well as buy another premium hatch for the city! And btw, by premium I mean a Fiat 500/VW Beetle (not that I would be caught dead driving one, but still).
|24th February 2010, 08:53||#10|
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Haven't heard or seen a V8 here and for 1cr people will expect more luxury and comfort ; looks too?
X5 has become a sleeper IMHO and the pix of face lift doesn't help much.
|24th February 2010, 09:01||#11|
Join Date: Sep 2007
Thanked: 93 Times
Congrats on your ride. 225 tyres are positively skinny for a vehicle this size.And i would really like a much better looking centre console for the kind of money this car demands.BMW has to seriously start developing better looking interiors.The looks are very subjective and i am glad you liek them.I frankly for the same kind of money would look at the range rover. Nevertheless, enjoy your ride.
|24th February 2010, 09:22||#12|
Join Date: Nov 2007
Thanked: 127 Times
@Nitronium: Excellent pics and review! Your vicarious pleasure of momentarily owning an X5 was well passed on
I liked the massage bit - never heard of it before.
|24th February 2010, 10:06||#14|
Join Date: Jul 2009
Thanked: 0 Times
One of the reviews which I have read every word of.
Beautifully written. Kudos to you , Nitronium.
Car or SUV , seems to be that most of the so-called SUV's coming out nowadays are more of really huge Cars and can never beat the humble Jeep when it comes to offroading.
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