The BMW X5 is the best selling large SUV in Mzansi beating out rivals like the Range Rover Sport, Toyota Land Cruiser and Volvo XC90.
We got one delivered to the office earlier this month and I set out to find out why. The car that we got was the X5 xDrive30d with an inline-six diesel unit churning out 195-kW and a healthy 620-Nm of torque.
Finished in Mineral White Metal M Sport Package and the offroad package it looks the business. I don't know many people who take their R1.5-million SUVs off-roading but if that's your thing, do that. I'd personally have it without it.
But I found driving the car out of the cobble paving in the office that the only time you hear those tires is when you roll the window down to tag out. As soon as you close the windows you don't hear them and you also don't feel them. That's the Acoustic glazing working, a must-have option. The car is supple, the supple air-suspension handles the bumps and imperfections of the road so you don't have to feel them.
This lets you appreciate the interior of this car. And what an interior it is, a big step up from the old car. It looks and feels expensive which is what I appreciated most. Every surface and button you touch reminds you that this car is R1.5-million, money well-spent. You never feel short-changed.
Then there's the tech. The big screens can be a bit intimidating if you are used to riding around in rental Etios'. But because BMW still lets you use physical keys to control crucial stuff like the climate control and media, you get used to it. The infotainment has Apple CarPlay, which I used.
It turns the big infotainment into a big iPhone and thanks to the responsiveness of the screen you simply use it for media and navigation. You only ever need to go into the car system to control things like Ambient lighting.
Then there's the performance. 195-kW on a car weighing 2-tonnes might not sound like much and in comfort mode, it does feel sluggish. There's a bit of turbo lag. But in sports mode, the 620-Nm of torque comes at you quickly and the car pulls nicely. The car is also optioned with the M Sport Exhaust, I'd usually say a foolish option on a diesel but after playing around this car in sports mode. I'd say pick it, it does sound rather lovely.
I only spent a few hours in the X5 xDrive30d but it didn't take me more than 15 minutes to get why people love it. It's got presence, the right badge, it makes you feel special and gets going when you want. What more do you want in a car?