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In-depth reviews

BMW X5 review - Engines, performance and drive

There are five engine options available; all offer punchy performance

The BMW X5 has always been noted for its road-focused performance, and that remains the case with the latest generation. But BMW has for the first time added an optional Off Road package. This brings four specific loose-surface driving modes, and also some underbody armour to deflect rocks and bumps – although it doesn’t mean the X5 is as good off road as a Range Rover Sport. Still, it should be more than capable enough for most owners.

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On the road, the xDrive30d and xDrive40i benefit from standard air suspension to keep things serene and comfortable – especially on the motorway. It’s incredibly quiet and relaxing to drive, and both offer enough punch for fast overtakes should the need arise.

The new xDrive45e plug-in hybrid, while still delivering impressive levels of performance, also has a pure electric range of up to 54 miles - providing improved levels of efficiency and lower emissions.

The sportier M50d has a steel-sprung set-up, and although it’s noticeably firmer and more resistant to roll than the standard models, the M50d remains impressively compliant and jolt free. It’s lightning fast in a straight line, and even sounds pretty sweet, with a gruff, bassy tone under hard acceleration. Its petrol sibling, the M50i, provides even more performance, aggressive styling and is the flagship model within the range.

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All variants feature the same super-smooth eight-speed auto gearbox, and a 4x4 drivetrain that sends more torque to the rear wheels in order to emphasise the sporty driving feel. The resulting experience is not as engaging as in a Porsche 4x4, but offers more reward to the driver than most SUV rivals. There’s a Professional option pack that adds four-wheel steering, although we found this a little inconsistent in its responses, which reduced the driving pleasure.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

The xDrive30d and the M50d both use a 3.0-litre straight-six diesel engine, but the former makes do with a single turbocharger while the latter has a mind-boggling four. The xDrive30d delivers 261bhp compared with the M50d’s 394bhp, and differing performance levels as a result. The xDrive30d is no slouch, however, covering 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds. But the M50d trumps it with a 5.2-second 0-62mph sprint time. The two models top out at 143mph and 155mph respectively.

The petrol xDrive40i, which also gets a 3.0-litre straight-six, is turbocharged to 335bhp and claims a 0-62mph time of 5.5 seconds and a 151mph top speed, splitting the performance of the two diesel options down the middle. The top-of-the-range M50i is a complete powerhouse, offering 523bhp and managing 0-62mph in a supercar-rivalling 4.3 seconds.

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