BMW X5 3.0d Sport - BMW X5 Car Review
Added: 11 Dec 2005
FANS strolling pre-match through any Premiership football club's car park can generally be treated to a myriad of automotive exotica.
They're all parked neatly in line, everything from the latest Bentley Continental GT and Ferrari supercars to pumped up American brutes like the Escalade and Hummer.
Comfortably outnumbering them all though is a far more understated offering, albeit usually specced up to the gills and sporting heavily tinted windows.
The BMW X5 is the discerning soccer star's carriage of choice - at least on match days - and is in itself some indication as to the level of esteem these models generate.
While its principal rivals include specialist off-roaders like the Land Rover Discovery and Mitsubishi Shogun, the big Bavarian is an all-rounder par exellance - though the X5's trump card remains its ability on the open road.
This finely finished and engineered sports utility vehicle comes with a choice of three muscular petrol engines plus a three-litre common rail diesel that offers so much pulling power that it matches the previous M5 model.
At the same time it is both economical and "green" while capable of averaging 30 miles per gallon even with the less frugal six-speed automatic transmission.
On the road the X5 lives up to that "ultimate driving machine" image so carefully cultured by BMW, thanks to a solid yet balanced appeal and light, nimble dynamics for such a heavy vehicle.
And for those who do fancy tackling the rough stuff there's the reassurance of BMW's own draught of the X-Factor.
The car's xDrive system - also used in the smaller X3 model - enables power to be instantly delivered to the axle that needs it most, thanks to in-built intelligence that monitors driving conditions and prevents traction loss both on and off-road.
There's a hill descent control system and, for those who tow caravans, a function which prevents a trailer attachment from becoming unstable.
Inside, the big Beemer is typically German - straightforward and functional, tough yet comfortable, and solidly put together in a calculated rather than warm manner.
Space is more than sufficient for five and while the boot is hardly cavernous it's nonetheless adequate.
BMW lists no less than 65 items of standard equipment which gives the impression this car is packed with goodies, and to a point it is.
However it is still possible to hitch even the price of the popular Sport model up substantially. For instance the test model added likes of Dakota leather (£1,350), Steptronic auto transmission (£1,450), communications pack including satellite navigation (£2,670), detachable towbar (£750) and the more trouble than they're worth aluminium running boards (£215).
The model is due for replacement in 2007 and while rivals like the latest Discovery and Volvo's cleverly designed XC90 have taken the game up a notch, the X5 remains the benchmark among 4x4s for performance and road manners.
BMW X5 3.0d Sport auto
Mechanical: 218bhp, 2,993cc, ccyl diesel engine driving all four wheels via 6spd automatic gearbox
Max speed: 130mph
0-62mph: 8.8 secs
Combined mpg: 30.1
Insurance group: 17
CO2 emissions: 250g/km
BiK rating: 35%
Warranty: 3yrs/ unlimited mileage; 3yrs paint; 12yrs anti-rust
Keywords: BMW, X5