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First off the xDrive 35i presents the cheapest entry point into the 6 cylinder engined BMW league. The 335i and 535i have now been discontinued by BMW Malaysia officially, making the X5 the only way you can get a non M series inline 6 engine. Driving this after living with a 4 cylinder BMW for the last few years, its a realisation how super smooth the engine is. Even despite turbocharging, it doesn't feel like it. Just like the other BMWs, they somehow make the turbos kick in as soon as you step on the go pedal. Super refined and superbly quiet at highway speeds. xDrive gives that added confidence, so does the added water wading depth too.
Speaking of refinement, the ride is simply sublime, the X5 has front adaptive suspension, with rear air suspension, its a fairly intelligent setup so it maintains the ride height even if the rear is filled with passengers or luggage. In Comfort, it is nearly magic carpet smooth. As a highway cruiser it is fantastic. Paired with the good power, you should have no issue crunching miles in this.
Transmission, well being another new BMW, it gets blessed by the good ZF 8 speed transmission. Once again, imperceptible shifts, and super refined. I did notice the auto start stop has been significantly improved over the last couple of years, with this one being almost perfect. Its nearly like a hybrid, but still may need slight improvement to beat the Volkswagen Audi Group setup.
In terms of packaging and space, I find the new F15 significantly better than the outgoing model. One of the biggest improvements is the cabin design, it looks properly modern unlike the last one which already looked dated when it launched. Also, the seat space is better, with the middle row now having a flat floor. The last I remember of the old X5 was it had a transmission tunnel at the middle seat on the middle row, blocking legspace. The boot is large, but as expected once the rear seats are up it is hopeless. Last row is fine, about the space as the Hyundai Santa Fe, but less than the Volvo XC90. Speaking of which, the XC90's seats felt more comfortable than the BMW's.
Personally the exterior too looks better than the old one. The old one had a very droopy face in the front, and very bulky and bulbous. This one looks much better, with a more chiseled and muscular stance. In terms of road presence too it is significantly better. The rear deserves a thumbs up imo. Absolutely fantasticly done rear LED light works, with the light bars really increasing the presence of the car in the dusk.
The best has to be the amount of intelligent safety on board, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and even a full surround view camera that can be said to be the best in the business. Though I'd have appreciated the adaptive cruise control, lane change assist and traffic jam assist too.
Quality is not up to standard imo on the BMW. Sit in a Porsche Cayenne or heck even a Volvo XC90 and you won't find loose stuff. This one has a loose plastic cover that covers the anchor point of the middle row seat to the car, since the middle row can tumble forward to allow access to the back. The loose plastic is annoying as it creaks! On a car more than half a million!
Speaking of which, the price. My goodness it is pricey for a CKD SUV. Yes it has a 3.0 litre engine. But still. I'd think twice if you can live with say a Q7, cause at 579k it is not cheap. I am actually surprised by the choice of BMW Malaysia not to bring in the 28i variant of the car in, the 28i for what it is, is absolutely fantastic. Sure it has 50hp and 50Nm less, but I would gladly get the 28i over the 35i, even if I reach 0-100 in 7.5 seconds instead. The road tax too would have been so much better.
Another peculiar thing for a BMW is the new X5 is too soft. At no point did I feel that it was poised enough to attack corners like a 5 series, while I am not expecting fighter jet (inspired by the F series F-15 fighter jet place) like poise and reflexes, I did feel a sense of a floaty ride at high speed. It is pin drop quiet though but the floating ride doesn't inspire confidence. Steering feel is pretty decent at least.
Aftersales, well BMW's biggest elephant in the room. Let's just say for the price, a 2 year warranty and only a 3 year no cost maintenance is a bit pathetic. Even Audi, Mercedes, Jaguar Land Rover - a much higher end brand, and Porsche too offer at least a 4 year warranty, and on the latter two, at least 4 years of no cost maintenance. Seriously BMW, you guys have great cars but aftersales that is pathetic is not going to help retain first time buyers.
Another worry would be the use of air suspension in this car, air suspension in general is known for it's issues, be it a Merc or a BMW or Porsche. I'm a bit worried too if the thing fails, and causing the whole rear to sag, it has happened before on a couple of friends cars so...
Blind spot are a bit more pronounced in this car, probably because of the sheer size of the car. Somehow you feel like you are driving a tank, and unlike other large BMWs like the F10 5 series or the 7 series too, it doesn't enclose you very well. Others may not find this too much of an issue if they are of a taller height and larger sized.
Warranty, for goodness sake BMW, wake up.
Bring us the 28i variant. I feel that will really shake up the market. And while you are at it, bring us the M Sport kit, a BMW is not complete with some M bits!
Otherwise for a large SUV with a local warranty the X5 isn't too bad.
Looks very mean and imposing. Diesel engine relatively fuel saving compared to the petrol model and sounds great, like a V8! I generally use about 9 litres per 100km with some heavy footed driving. xDrive system is very capable. Ground clearance allows lots of 'creative' parking.
Build quality is rubbish. For example - sliding second row seat had trouble locking into place properly, so it rattled a lot. DVD player slot also rattled, can only make it go away by putting my finger into the slot. Luggage area also had random rattles. Suspension way too hard for Malaysian roads.
Note - my car is the 2010 E70 model but i could not find it on this site.
Better build quality needs to be improved significantly, and some kind of electronic damper control to improve the ride quality. Equipment level needs to be improved as well - such an expensive car without keyless entry and start.
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