BMW X5—‘The Boss’ means business

In 1999, the first X5 paved the way for German premium carmaker BMW’s entry into what would prove to be an extremely profitable luxury SUV market. Twenty years later, the fourth all-new iteration of the mid-sizer is out.

Of course, at BMW, they shun the term “SUV” and supplant it with their own notion of the “sport activity vehicle” or SAV. I guess it’s because the bosses thought “SUV” sounds so, well, utilitarian and unexciting. Speaking of which, the X5 occupies a hallowed place in the pantheon of BMW vehicles – earning its own nickname, “The Boss.” I tried to search online why it was given that moniker, and the only explanation I found was that it has proven to be a profitable nameplate for BMW.

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And speaking of bosses – we’re doing full Inception here – at the recent local launch of the fourth-gen X5, no less than San Miguel Corporation big kahuna Ramon Ang was in attendance at The Fifth at Rockwell in Makati City. A lot is riding on the X5’s burly shoulders as the market leader in the all-wheel drive segment, what with BMW anticipating a 20-percent category-wide hike.

The diesel-sipping xDrive30d xLine is the only X5 variant for now, but it promises to be all you will ever want or need. For starters, for its size, it attains a downright sprightly standstill-to-100kph time of 6.5 seconds realized from impressive engine output—620Nm and 265hp on tap. That’s care of an inline six-cylinder bestowed BMW TwinPower Turbo technology and mated to an eight-speed Steptronic automatic.

And because this is an X model, intelligent all-wheel-drive technology is employed for sure-footedness in all situations and terrains. Car and Driver Magazine reports that BMW is “migrating its entire lineup to just two modular platforms, and the X5 is the latest to switch to the Cluster Architecture (CLAR) that also underpins the new 3 Series.”

What’s a BMW without a kidney grille, right? Well, the familiar front fascia has been enlarged and made into one piece. The “aluminum satinated” grille is flanked by distinctive dual LED headlamps. The rear lights are also LEDs. BMW says the X5 now banners a “pared-back” design with clean surfacing and precise lines to emphasize “the car’s robustness, poise, and authority.” Also rendered in aluminum satinated are the X5’s underguard, roof rails, and side window surrounds. Other accents are in pearl-effect chrome.

If the exterior of the X5 still looks essentially the same, climb aboard to see how much things have changed. It’s simultaneously more luxurious and high-tech. The futuristic-looking instrument cluster, complemented by a neat center console (both spanning 12.3 inches) are a welcome, fresh take that also imbues a feeling of additional space.

A raised seating position should also be a welcome change in aid of driver visibility, and the company doesn’t let you forget this is a premium vehicle as it throws in well-cushioned seats and premium materials. Other accoutrements include cooled/heated cupholders, ambient lighting, and a Harman Kardon sound system.

The driver is given a choice of interface: steering wheel buttons, iDrive Controller, the touchscreen display, voice control or BMW gesture control.

In an interview, Spencer Yu, president of SMC Asia Car Distributors Corporation (SMCACDC), official importer and distributor of BMW in the Philippines, emphasized that the X5 “is practically fully loaded… it’s extremely good value for what you pay, and it has the most aggressive pricing in its class.”

With a price tag of P5.99 million, the BMW X5 is being presented with an additional unprecedented perk: a five-year warranty (BMW Repair Inclusive), a first in the premium automotive segment.

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