There’s a new boy in the BMW stable to take the fight to the Mercedes GLE, Audi Q7 and Jaguar F-Pace. It’s the latest version of the X5, and to address the two very large elephants in the room, yes - those kidney grilles are flippin’ huge.
It’s a styling direction we’ve seen BMW heading towards for a while with its SUVs - previewed by cars like the X7 concept - and the result is a front end that’s as subtle as a Zack Snyder DC universe film. We look forward to seeing those huge gnashers ‘downsized’ via Photoshop.
So, with that dealt with, what else is new? For one thing, the platform - it uses parts of BMW’s CLAR (cluster architecture) system, which means it has quite a bit in common with the 5-series and 7-series. And that’s a very good thing.
It’s slightly wider and longer than the old one (although the overhangs are shorter), and under the skin, you’ll find a double wishbone front/five-link rear suspension setup. If you’re the rare sort of SUV buyer who actually wants to tackle the rough stuff, there’s an Off-Road Package which comes with a tweaked xDrive all-wheel drive system and gearbox, air suspension, underbody protection and an “off-road specific differential lock.”
Air suspension is available as an option on its own, allowing the ride height to be varied by up to 80mm. Also on the menu is an all-wheel steer system called Integral Active Steering, plus clever electronically-controlled anti-roll bars.
On the engine front, you’ll initially have a choice of three inline-sixes: two diesels, and one petrol. The xDrive30d oil burner produces a useful 261bhp and 457lb ft of torque, or if you’d prefer, there’s the M50d with 395bhp and a thumping 531lb ft. The sole petrol option at launch will be the xDrive 40i, making 335bhp and 369lb ft of twist.
On the inside, you’ll find BMW’s new ‘Live Cockpit Professional’ display, which integrates the class-leading iDrive system into a digital instrument cluster that replaces the dials. It’s fitted as standard, along with a 12.3-inch central display. It can be operated either by touch, gesture control, voice control or the usual rotary controller that sits by the gear selector.
Does this look like the big, imposing SUV for you? It’ll arrive in the UK later this year, with prices starting at £56,710. Expect a shouty M5-engined X5M to follow.