This is the fourth-gen BMW X5. Fast and big

This is the new 2018 BMW X5, and it is big. Really big. Longer, wider and taller than it’s predecessor, and much longer, wider and taller than the very first generation of the ground-breaking ‘Sports Activity Vehicle’ BMW launched back at the turn of the century.

We’re now on the fourth generation of BMW X5, and it’s just shy of 5m long. The first one was 4.6m. Think about that, because there’s still another SUV that’ll be bigger than this BMW X5, called the X7. We suspect there’ll be no mistaking this one for any other X5 that has come before it, though: it looks tauter, squarer-jawed, angrier. And that kidney grille is just getting out of hand now.

Underneath the sharper creases sit four engines, three of which we’ll only get two in South Africa, and one that you can’t.

The range-topper for us is the M50d, with its 3.0-litre quad-turbo straight-six. That’s right, four turbos: two for low pressure, two for high pressure. It produces 294kW and a simply ludicrous 760Nm. Basically, turn it on, point at the horizon, squirt. This new M50d will see off 0-100kph in 5.2secs.

The other engine is a single-turbo 3.0-litre diesel (xDrive30d) with 195kW.

So it’s fast. And big. And promises to be quite clever. As ever, there’s a raft of technology that’ll keep the car busy, and you less so. The all-wheel-drive torque-split is now more rear-biased, there’s an electronic diff lock on the back, adaptive dampers as standard, the option of active steering and adaptive ‘M’ suspension.

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.

You’ll notice it’s cleaner and plusher inside, too. There’s a pair of 12.3in screens for the driver and a central display that forms a new design. There’s lots of leather. There are cooled and heated cupholders, a glass roof, and the option of a third row of seats for two little people.

New BMW X5 is due to go on sale in South Africa in November of this year.


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