X5 4.8i Review
The vast majority of today’s SUVs and CUVs share the same modus operandi. They’re good for a bus, bad for a car. They’re thirsty, overpriced, overweight and over here. Most now come complete with a market-mandatory third row that’s as about useful as a werewolf at Trader Vic’s. So when I read BMW’s characteristically modest tagline for their new X5
SUV CUV SAV on their official website– “Room for everything except improvement”– I considered myself an honorary Missourian. Ultimate driving machine on stilts? Show me.
The X5 is the very model of a major modern BMW that quotes the stance historical. It’s a tremendously busy design, festooned with strange shapes and littered with unexpected creases and lines. Despite die Bangle Boyz’ attempt to transform the Bimmer’s two-box SUV shape into something more exotic, the marginally longer, taller and wider X5 still looks like a two-box SUV tweaked to look like something exotic. The rear remains especially boxy, tilting its posterior upwards in a distinctly French sort of way. In sum, from twenty feet away, the X5 looks handsome enough.
Stepping inside the X5 is like stepping into a VIP suite at the Bellagio. BMW’s draped and slathered the cabin in thoroughly decadent materials. My tester’s buttery dark brown Tobacco leather (the X5 is built in the Carolinas, after all) is the business. The switches, buttons and mellifluous stereo are sybaritic enough to satiate Audi-ophiles. Trillion-direction adjustable seats flatter the high roller's heiny. There’s a backup camera, heads-up display, a nifty electronic gear-shift lever and enough mouse driven gadgets and alphabet soup safety systems to shame an Airbus. Who could ask for anything more?
Of course my tester weighed-in at $70k. So yeah, you’d better feel like freakin’ royalty inside. In the back, serfs up! Or is that Smurfs? BMW recommends restricting the third row to passengers shorter than 5’7”. Lop another couple inches off that estimation (not literally) and it’s so true it hurts. Still.
The X5 is a full-figured kinda gal, tipping the scales at 5300lbs. Faced with motivating one so heavy, BMW didn’t dick around. The BMW X5 4.8i packs some serious heat. Its state-of-the-art V8 engine blasts-out 350hp @ 6300 rpm and 350 ft.-lbs. of torque @3400 rpm. The powerplant’s Valvetronic system works in conjunction with continuously variable valve lift control to eliminate the traditional throttle and help the engine breathe more easily. Double-VANOS then allows it to steplessly…
Snap the X5’s funky shift lever into manumatic, hold the six-speed autobox in first gear and mash the go-pedal. Two things happen. First, your backside notices how comfortable the seat is. Not for sitting. As a backstop. Second, the big bore V8 rips, snorts, and then rip-snorts down the road. At some point, the engine bellows and screams, filling the cabin with aural menace. The X5 4.8i sprints from rest to 60mph in the low six second range.
You know when they say, doh! I could ‘a had a V8? THIS is the V8 they’re talking about. Just like the old M5, BMW’s burbling bastard just begs to be beaten. To keep the universe in order, to fund the oil companies’ stockholders, you must oblige.
It gets better. On sinewy woodland B-roads, I could easily keep pace with two BMW cabrios, a 650i and 335i. Cough. Yes, my X5 4.8i came equipped with the $3600 Sport Package, blessing it with 19” alloys, Active Roll Stabilization and Electronic Dampening Control. Anyone with an ounce of petrol in their veins will order their X5 this way. The package kept the beast in line as though it was a vehicle half its size, while BMW’s e-nannies let you moon Sir Isaac Newton and flip off gravity.
Again, I don’t like SUVs. Unless I’m heading off-road or towing something heavy, I’d rather put my bike on a train and collect some carbon credits at the other end. As a jobbing auto journo, I have a hard time recommending any vehicle that gets 15/21 [yeah right] mpg. And now that BMW is rolling out an AWD 5-Series station wagon with the automaker’s magnificent turbo I6, it’s hard to make a case for BMW’s politically incorrect gas-guzzling locomotive-on-stilts.
But not impossible. Its own twisted way, the BMW X5 4.8i makes perfect sense. It’s got all the utility of the station wagon PLUS seating for you, four friends, and two employees from Willy Wonka’s factory. Inside, it’s Kubla Khan’s pleasure dome elevated for extra visibility, and that feeling of superiority no pavement scraper can deliver. The X5’s also got all-wheel drive for the snow. And then, then there’s that monster under the hood.
Yeah, that’s it: the engine. The V8’s the thing wherein BMW will capture the heart of a king. I guess they showed me.
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- Analoggrotto I refuse to comment until Tassos comments.
- Kendahl Fifteen years ago, the GTO was on my short list of automotive retirement presents to myself. It was just a bit too big and gas mileage sucked compared to the 6-speed Infiniti G37S coupe I bought after test driving several brands. It's a pity owners of cars that are collectible the day they are bought screw them up with aftermarket modifications they don't need. I'd offer they seller top price less what it would cost to put the car back to stock. (I just traded in the Infiniti, in mechanically excellent and cosmetically very good condition with 78k miles, for a 2023 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing.)
- EBFlex This should help Fords quality
- Analoggrotto By the time any of Hyundai's Japanese competitors were this size and age, they produced iconic vehicles which are now highly desirable and going for good money used. But Hyundai/Kia have nothing to this point that anyone will care about in the future. Those 20k over MSRP Tellurides? Worn out junk sitting at the used car lot, worn beyond their actual age. Hyundai/Kia has not had anything comparable to the significance of CVCC, 240Z, Supra, Celica, AE86, RX-(7), 2000GT, Skyline, GT-R, WRX, Evo, Preludio, CRX, Si, Land Cruiser, NSX etc. All of this in those years where Detroiters and Teutonic prejudiced elitists were openly bashing the Japanese with racist derogatory language. Tiger Woods running off the road in a Genesis didn't open up a moment, and the Genesis Sedan featuring in Inception didn't matter any more than the Lincoln MKS showing up for a moment in Dark Knight. Hyundai/Kia are too busy attempting to re-invent others' history for themselves. But hey, they have to start somewhere and the N74 is very cool looking today in semi rendered pictures. Hyundai/Kia's biggest fans are auto Journalists who for almost 2 decades have been hyping them up to deafening volumes contributing further distrust in any media.
- Bd2 Other way around.Giorgetto Giugiaro penned the Pony Coupe during the early 1970s and later used its wedge shape as the basis for the M1 and then the DMC-12.The 3G Supra was just one of many Japanese coupes to adopt the wedge shape (actually was one of the later ones).The Mitsubishi Starion, Nissan 300ZX, etc.