Saturday, December 1, 2007

2007 BMW X5 Road Test

2007 BMW X5

Deeper sculpting, increased dimensions and compelling power define the 2007 BMW X5 4.8i; a redesigned interior, which now includes a third row seat, is also new this year. The improvements and extended handling capabilities keep the X5 among the top of the heap when it comes to premium SUV capability and performance.

Like a weightlifter showing off bigger biceps and better-defined abs, the new X5 projects a more athletic, aggressive appearance than before. It's a look very much consistent with BMW's latest sedan styling, which is eye-catching to say the least. The daring lines do a good job of concealing the vehicle's extra 188mm of length.

Settling into the driver's arena brings with it the sedan experience as well. Seats are fabulously supportive and materials within reach speak of quality and richness. The beautifully honed, electronic shift knob feels like a precision instrument contoured to perfectly match every palm draped around it.

Although BMW continues to apply its i-Drive technology to its premium rides, the controls most often adjusted, such as HVAC are also found amid the buttons and dials on the instrument panel and centre stack. It's still however necessary to bump your way through multiple i-drive screens to add a little bad-boy-bass to your boogie.

Popping up the third row seat also requires manipulation of the second row. Once this bit of second row tug and pull is complete, the split-bench third row can be sprung into place, but be warned this is not a suitable perch for large adults or extended tours of duty. Pretty much every other seat in the house is.

Last year's meeker 4.4-litre V8 is no longer available in the X5. If you want a V8, it'll displace 4.8-litres while dispatching 350 horsepower @ 6,300-rpm and 350 pound-feet of torque @ 3,400-rpm. That's sufficient power to hustle the X5 very enthusiastically thanks in part to its six-speed automatic soul mate. Thrust off-the-line is seat sucking while passing ability is confidence inspiring.

I was impressed with the compliance of the X5's sophisticated suspension setup. BMW did a lot of on-track tuning, and it's quite evident when the mid-size SUV is pushed hard into turns. Despite this luxo cruiser's ability to effectively absorb roadway bumps and bruises, it retains composure far better than most similarly sized rigs when aggressively cornered; all without subjecting the kidneys to inhumane punishment- and that's a bit of automotive magic.

Steering response is sharp, precise and instantly reactive. Plenty of feedback accompanies a twist of the wheel, and that's commendable for this class of vehicle. Keeping both hands on the thickly padded, leather-wrapped wheel was a challenge. My right hand preferred to wrap itself around the gearshift lever, with my mind preferring to shift the X5's autobox manually.

This is perhaps the best manual-mode to be found in an SUV. An electronic program quickly spins-up revs to match the selected gear when downshifting. Doing so creates some of the heartiest V8 tones in any SUV. Unlike most manufacturers, BMW got it right; upshifts occur when the lever is pulled rearward while downshifts require a forward push. To me, this pattern is far more intuitive for folks accustomed to a manual gearbox than the opposite pattern.

The X5 4.8i is an automotive amalgam of sorts. It adeptly distills the attributes of a premium-level sports sedan with those of a competent off-roader to create an SUV that can inspire drivers on the tarmac and off. Unfortunately, it's an expensive distillation- something like that of fine single malt.

Find BMW X5 Wheels at
Source: auto123

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