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Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0
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PROS

  • Lighter and more fuel efficient than before
  • Quality interior
  • More technology

CONS

  • More expensive
  • Lacks road presence of previous model
  • Doesn't feel as special as some rivals

Verdict

This is the third generation of the popular BMW X5 off-roader, a car that once represented 10 percent of all BMWs sold in the UK. Hoping to re-create that sort of sales success it promises major advances in design, luxury, comfort, safety, efficiency and driving enjoyment.

There will be two main trim levels: SE and M Sport. Like-for-like, prices have risen by around £2,500 but there’s more equipment included as standard – so it actually represents something of a financial saving.

Five engine options

Five TwinPower Turbo engines are on offer – four diesels and one petrol, all allied to an eight-speed automatic gearbox – and, for the first time, it will be available as a rear-wheel drive model, badged sDrive25d. BMW is claiming average fuel economy as high as 50.4mpg and CO2 emissions from 149g/km.

From launch in November buyers will have the choice of three models – xDrive30d, M50d and xDrive50i - while the sDrive and xDrive25d will appear with the xDrive40d by the start of 2014. Most of the engines are familiar to the current range, though they’re now more powerful and more fuel efficient, with the exception being the four-cylinder 215bhp 2.0-litre unit in the 25d.

From the end of 2015 the range was expanded further with the plug-in hybrid xDrive40e version. Combining a 2-litre turbo petrol and an electric motor, this version produced 309bhp yet claimed 85.6mpg and 77g/km of CO2. It could also travel for up to 19 miles on electric power alone.

Increased technology

Under the skin BMW has added a raft of clever gizmos, including suspension which can be personalised to the driver’s taste at the touch of a button and Parking Assistant which will seek out a suitable parking spot and then park the car for you by controlling not only the steering but the accelerator and brake too.

There’s also an expanded version of the Head-up Display and Concierge Services which allows you to make hotel reservations on the move.

New design direction

While the X5 retains the chunky silhouette of before, the new model adds design cues such as the headlight style from the new BMW 3 Series and the air breather system in the front bumper to improve airflow. On first appearance it lacks some of the visual clout which marked out its predecessor.

Inside, the focus is on luxury with a choice of ambience packages and the option of comfort or sports seats, as well as comfort and entertainment options for rear seat passengers. Access to the third row of seats is easier too.

To find out all you need to know about the next generation of this popular car, check out the rest of our BMW X5 review.

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