Ever wondered how it is to drive off-road across the countryside of Georgia?

BMW X5 30d 40i 079Me neither, but guess what, driving the all the BMW X5 across mud fields and stone hedges is something you shouldn’t be missing out on – so let me take you with me!

_BL73606_01

The new X5 is taller, wider and much longer than it’s predecessors, not to mention faster and cleverer, it fits our modern requirements and clearly the X philosophy AND it performs freaking awesome off-road! But, I am sure these aren’t news to you as you have read and heard that everywhere by now…

So you want to hear something new? How about we talk about the overall experience of the car, its performance and personal feel… Well and that coming from a classic car aficionado – that is new!

“The BMW X5 embodies the origins of the BMW X family and, in its fourth generation, sends out its most powerful message yet in terms of presence and modernity,” says Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design. “It defines a new X design language – robust, clear and precise.” – Adrian van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Group Design   

So let me be honest with you, when BMW contacted me regarding the press launch of the all new BMW X5 model I wasn’t necessarily excited, after all it’s a SUV made for city life, a contradiction in itself? Well, as I looked more into it, it was all about the driving experience and off-road challenges and of course that got me interested and pretty excited, as the car was going to be put into its “natural habitat” again. I was keen on flying out to Atlanta for a driving-experience day and sitting in the plane back to Europe right now, recapturing the trip, I am beyond happy I did end up going.

BMW X5 M50d 001

Is it much bigger? Yes. Does it have big kidney’s? Yes. But it suits the overall looks of the car!

A little bit of background information on the car is probably what you guys need as much as I did, as I must admit, the X-Series isn’t exactly my knowledge field after all.

So “why Atlanta” was one of the first questions popping into my mind. Turns out, the first generation X5 had its debut in Atlanta too, back in 1999 and ever since sold  more than 2.2 million examples.  Not only will the 4th-Generation be looking into building up on this success but its going to be build in one if its biggest markets, at BMW Plant Spartanburg in the US state of South Carolina.

Photo 18.09.18, 13 26 00

A friendly state trooper cleared the ways and helped us get around Georgia!

Who has been awaiting this moment doesn’t need to wait much longer, in November this year the new generation X5 will enter the SUV markets and surely will cause some chaos. 

Many how you have been wondering about the size of the car since I posted the first pictures on my IG channel and YES it is big, bigger and larger than ever before:

P90305986-highRes

A wheelbase 42 mm longer than its predecessor’s (now 2,975 millimetres), a 36 mm increase in vehicle length (to 4,922 millimetres), an extra 66 mm of width (now 2,004 millimetres) and a 19 mm increase in height (to 1,745 millimetres) give the new BMW X5 both an imposing appearance and generous levels of space for passengers and their luggage.

And the grill is debatable, but BMW aimed for a big statement in the front and they got it:

P90305985-highRes

“The most striking feature of the front end is the large BMW kidney grille with single-piece surround.”, describes BMW their new front feature.

The new BMW X5 comes as standard with LED headlights, while BMW Laserlight with Adaptive LED Headlights can be specified as an option. This system employs a BMW Laserlight spotlight with Selective Beam to optimise the high beam function, and as a result the range of the non-dazzling high beam has been increased to around 500 metres, instead of 300m – quite a difference!

P90305989-highRes
Talking lights, the Panorama glass roof Sky Lounge, meanwhile, generates a very special and exclusive aura when darkness falls, with LED light spreading evenly across the glass surface to illuminate more than 15,000 graphic patterns and generate a display reminiscent of a starlit sky.

And let me tell you something, spending a whole day on road in 35 degrees Celsius, over 85% humidity you are thankful for an invention like the “thermo-cupholders” and that out of a true classic car girl who isn’t all about the “luxurious add-ons” and usually prefers almost “naked” cars!

BMW X5 M50d 071

The new BMW X5 can now also be specified with thermo-cupholders foremost in the centre console; the containers here can be kept cool or warm, as required.

So let’s get started on  my favourit and more interesting part of the journey, the driving part!

Tech won’t be in short supply, either. Traffic Jam assist keeps the car in a lane with semi-autonomous steering input, and will merge into a clear lane when the indicator stalk is held in the desired direction. Another system, Emergency Stop Assistant, is able to step in if the driver becomes suddenly incapacitated, bringing the X5 safely to a standstill. It will even perform lane changes to pull the BMW to a stop on a hard shoulder.

P90305990-highRes

Under the hood of the all-new fourth-generation 2019 BMW X5 is the usual and familiar TwinPower turbocharged 3.0-liter gasoline inline-six, good for 335 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque. For those not wanting to give up any serious performance can opt for the significantly more powerful TwinPower turbocharged 4.4-liter V8.

The result is 456 horsepower, up from 444 for the outgoing V8-powered X5, while torque remains the same at around 480 pound-feet.

BMW X5 40i XLine 004

Both engines still get the same eight-speed ZF-sourced automatic that we have come accustomed to over the past few years. BMW says the V8 can sprint to 60 in just 4.6 seconds while the six-cylinder version isn’t much of a slouch either, taking only 5.3 seconds.

You want something more comfy? Go for the two-axle air suspension, that also raises the car by 80mm. Want something more all-terrain? Go for the Off-Road pack, that alters the ride height, throttle, gearbox and stability control according to your chosen surface. There’s the usual gamut of driver assists too, like lane keeping, departure warning, cruise control, and a ‘reversing assistant’ that basically takes control of the steering over a path you’ve literally just done.

P90305991-highRes

One last thing concerning the looks of the car before we finally are heading to the performance – the boot! I know, you must think now, what is wrong with her?! But I tell you what, being simply ALWAYS on the road covering way over 60.000 km a year, I do use my boot ALL THE TIME. Not only luggage needs to fit in but all my machines and technical equipment to inspect classic cars, so rather fragile luggage. BMW has developed an incredible system to basically lock the luggage without any further inconveniences or hustle and not making the loading process any harder.

These aluminium strips across the boot with the center piece being a very robust rubber mechanism which raises 1-2mm when driving above 5-8 km/h, helps securing the luggage all in place – it actually works too!

P90305987-highRes

Enough facts, let’s get to the fun part and talk about the driving and overall experience of the car… Where do I start?

Generally speaking the car has left me in awe, seriously! A perfect combination of comfort and off-road capabilities, while leaving room for luggage and luxury…

BMW X5 30d 40i 061

Starting the day off in Atlantas rush hour we are heading towards Georgia’s country side, one is always with the X5’s quiet cabin. The aim was to arrive at the Painted Rock Farms a couple of hours before lunch time, in order to be part of some vehicle dynamics workshops to get to know the X5 a little more theoretical prior to an epic off-road drive across the Chattahoochee National Forest. A Drive which is much more adventures and challenging than either of us expected.

BMW X5 M50d 017

My first turn is in the diesel-top model, the M50d. An in line six-cylinder provides 400 HP and 760 newton metres of maximum torque. All X5 feature the 8 gear automatic by series. As you hit the next traffic light the whole power of the M50d seems to be coming alive. Besides, one must listen carefully, as the diesel sound is extremely well dammed.

The off-road package is quite new. By air suspension the ground clearance can be raised up to 40 millimetres. Now, in addition, there are several driving modes for different surface conditions. Activate snow, mud, rock – simply by switch and the car changes its vehicle dynamics entirely.

BMW X5 30d 40i 064

Besides the excellent travel comfort to which the comfortable seats as well as the effective noise isolation contribute the new BMW X5 wins additionally in its dynamical performance. With the optional rolling stabilization the heavy, 2.1 tonnes, all-wheel drive vehicle rushes through bends without big side inclination fast and certainly, no second guessing. Besides, the not too smooth steering operates typical for BMW very accurate and delivers a clear feedback about the condition of the street. Thanks to steering on the rear axle the voluminous vehicle maneuvers easily through narrow bends and tree sections. A praise earns further the traction. The full-variable four-wheel drive provides even on slushy subsoil the grip needed, while the optional rear-axle locking differential distributes the propulsions for an acceleration and turning points.

BMW X5 40i XLine 049

Of course the drive modes are also reworked and the xDrive all-wheel was optimized. Among the rest, it encloses four driving modes for different terrain, an under driving protection and specific displays as well as a mechanical barrier in the rear-axle differential. The new X5 easily manages any upcoming difficulty even when equipped with street tyre’s. Smoothly the big BMW appears, with the well responding air suspension (2,100 euros of surcharge) even coarser rock and root work is no issue and one is being transported in a comforting way.

_BL73849_01

So, being a classic car girl, not necessarily in love with big SUVs (other than the Land Rover Series 1 of course) I have had an awesome time driving the BMW X5 and exploring Atlanta & the country side of Georgia.

BMW states:

5 good reasons for the BMW X5

  1. Characteristic X laser light with blue elements
  2. The most advanced driving dynamic thanks to the xOffroad Package with double-axle air suspension
  3. Typical X design, interpreted in an impressively forceful way
  4. Impressive interconnection due to innovative Connectivity Technology and driver assistance
  5. Smart luggage space management for maximum comfort (scheduled availability as from Q4/2018)

Equipped with the latest technology for more safety and the most advanced driving dynamics on any surface, the new BMW X5 knows how to get you where you need to be. And how to be first to arrive.

At launch in November of this year, the new X5 will be available in xDrive 40i with the usual TwinPower turbocharged gasoline inline-six starting at $60,700, and xDrive 50i form with BMW’s familiar TwinPower turbocharged gasoline V8 for $15,000 more, at $75,750, both not including the $995 “Destination and Handling” Fee.

Yours, 

Laura Kukuk

The Gallery:

The following photos have been shot by the very talented Bernhard Limberger.

The following shots are my own creation:

The following shots are kindly provided by BMW:

Leave a Reply