STOP! Before you think, haven't I read this already. I have almost completely revised the article so please do read on, you won't regret it!
For years I have been a naysayer of BMW, always considering their cars inferior in every way to Mercedes. Even a few months ago if you had asked me about BMW, I would have replied with a list of several cars that are better than the BMW equivalent in that category. As hard as it is to admit defeat. I have to say I'm sorry BMW, I was indeed wrong about you.
So how were these feeling brought up you may ask. Well, I recently started working for the summer as many people of my age do. I applied to one of the worlds largest rental car companies and to my delight I got the job! I began work last week and to date I have driven some nice cars in their fleet, the Holden Commodore V6, Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, Ford Mondeo and the surprisingly good 2017 Toyota Corolla. However, there was one car that I have had my eye on ever since I started and that is the company's flagship car- the 2017 BMW X5. Now this particular company has two variants of the car- the hybrid 30d model and the diesel xdrive 25d model which is the one I had the pleasure of driving.
I was absolutely gutted yesterday when a customer brought in one of these and I hopped in ready to take it for a little spin when one of my colleagues grabbed the keys of me to take it to the wash area. I walked around with regret for a little while and then forgot about the incident. This morning when I turned up to work, there was one clean car ready for me to drive and that was the 2017 BMW X5 xdrive 25d. The thought of knowing that I had this masterpiece to myself for a little while made me so nervous my hands were trembling (which they never do). It was understandable because it would be my first time driving a BMW or frankly any luxury car of this calibre. So I happily placed my bag on the passenger seat and then hit the start button which made the engine come to life and caused the car to bombard me with a few noises. Hold on, there was still something missing! Ah yes, I had forgotten to breathe. It all felt like a dream and so breathing a little bit reminded me that this was reality and also I had a job to do.
As I said I was a BMW naysayer and the same applied for the X5. I was never a big fan of the car for some reason and one thing that supported my claim was the exterior styling. This is because the design really hasn't changed much through the years. Sure it has got a bit more aerodynamic and some rugged bits have been removed. Overall, it is nothing major. It is sort of like botox, freezing what is already there but not really changing anything.
The target market for the car is no more the wealthy adventurous family. The target market is now any person who has $130k NZD to spend on a luxury SUV or as I call it, an 'LUV'. Essentially it is meant to be another alternative to the Range Rover Sport.
Sitting in the car you realize that everything you touch and press feels well put together and of a high standard. It almost feels like you are caressing a leather wrapped Great Wall of China, that is how well made it feels! The leather is soft, the buttons are solid and the finishes are top notch. Quite frankly, it is everything one would want from a luxury SUV.
My only real complaint about the interior is that it lacks imagination. Other than that, it is functional, well made and most importantly it is luxurious. The iDrive system is easy to use though I've heard that the satnav does take you round in circles on some New Zealand roads as one customer put it.
The rear is spacious but the seats are quite upright which tends to be a bit of a pain on long journeys but then this car is not meant for that, it is meant for ferrying the wealthy owners around town. In the event that your back does ache then you can simply divert your attention to the massive windows. They are very large but hey at least that means the cabin is never short of light and it always feels airy. It also makes visibility very good. But if you do feel your privacy is violated by the large windows then don't fear because the boffins at BMW have you in mind. All the windows are tinted and there are sunshades for the rear passengers.
BMW's marketing department claims their cars are the 'ultimate driving machine' and while that may apply to the M division cars, it couldn't possibly apply to a large luxury SUV. Well aha, you'd be proven wrong, the new X5 drives magnificently for a car of this size. The handling is great frankly and there is barely any body roll. The engine is quite rev happy as in most beemers and when you do 'give it the beans', the 2.0 litre twin turbo diesel is happy to indulge.
A while back my uncle was planning on buying a car, he eventually settled on an Audi but he really wanted a BMW 3 series diesel because of the way it drove and at that point I really wasn't sure why he'd want a BMW diesel but today after driving this X5, I completely get where he was coming from. The engine is quiet and refined yet powerful. I have driven other diesel cars and believe me, this doesn't even make the tractor like sound we have come to expect of traditional diesels and neither does it vibrate like them. This really is in a league of its own, it doesn't feel like diesel at all!
in keeping with my kiwi slang theme of rating cars, the 2017 bmw x5 gets a 'sweet as' from me. (sweet as= awesome)
While a few flaws like bland interior, upright seats and dated styling do affect what could have been a near perfect car but these aren't really major issues. BMW certainly do have a possible bestseller on their hands. In todays market where luxury SUVs are the 'in' thing, the new X5 fits into that category like a glove. So one can expect to see many many more of these on the road as the months pass by.
Thanks for reading! All pictures belong to their rightful owners and I mean no malice by using them here.
Words by Matthew D'souza