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The BMW X5 - grand-daddy of premium SUVs - gets another makeover, just in time for Christmas

By Paul Connolly

BMW has revealed details, price and spec of the fourth-generation X5, the car many consider the first premium modern-day SUV.

Orders are now open for the longer, taller and wider model, which gets new front end designs and a raft of new technology.

The fourth generation car will cost from £57,495 on the road, BMW confirmed this week, and comes with a new, more modern design, better suspension, more refined engines, and the highest level of autonomous capability yet seen on a BMW X model.

The X5 was BMW’s first SUV and has been around since 1999, selling more than 2.2 million models in 19 years.

Although Mercedes-Benz launched its (not particularly well-received) first generation M Class a year earlier, the Merc was based on a light truck chassis whilst the X5 had a unibody chassis and, being more car-like to drive, was much more innovative.

The new model is bigger than before; the wheelbase is 42mm giving an increase in vehicle length of 36mm, with an extra 66mm of width and a 19mm increase in height.

The manufacturer says this adds to both the car’s appearance and gives “generous” levels of space for passengers and their luggage.

You’ll recognise the fourth-generation model by sleeker new front and rear design features - including bigger kidney grilles - which are particularly noticeable on xLine and M Sport model variants.

The xLine model comes with its kidney grille bars in aluminium matt, roof rails and side window surrounds in satin Aluminium, plus other accents in Pearl-effect Chrome.

M Sport spec, meanwhile, sees the wheel arch trim, bumper trim, rear under-guard and side skirts painted in body colour, plus extra-large air intakes at the front end, aluminium matt kidney grille bars.

The new model sees a choice of TwinPower and M Performance petrol and diesel engines matched to a new eight-speed Steptronic gearbox and the latest version of the xDrive all-wheel-drive system.

There will be one petrol and two diesel units available from the latest generation of engines. The BMW X5 M50d is powered by a six-cylinder in-line diesel engine with four turbochargers, while a six-cylinder inline unit powers the BMW X5 xDrive40i and BMW X5 xDrive30d.

All engines channel their power through an eight-speed Steptronic transmission, while BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive is on hand to ensure that even power and off-road ability.

The BMW TwinPower Turbo technology package for the petrol engines comprises turbochargers, High Precision Injection, ValveTronic fully variable valve timing and Double-Vanos variable camshaft timing.

On the diesel side, the raft of technological measures at work includes turbochargers and common-rail direct injection with piezo injectors.

BMW says the design principle underpinning the chassis – based on a double-wishbone front axle and a five-link rear axle – is complemented by the standard Dynamic Damper Control system, whose electronically controlled dampers sharpen the car’s handling dynamics at the same time as increasing ride and suspension comfort.

The driver can select from two performance maps for a more comfort-oriented or sportier driving style, using the Driving Experience Control switch.

Inside the cabin, a fully-digital instrument cluster and the Control Display share the same graphics and design, with the centre console hosting the Controller, the newly designed transmission selector lever and all other driving-related controls.

New, better quality materials include a new Vernasca leather variant for the standard leather upholstery.

M Sport models also includes an M sports steering wheel, BMW Individual headliner in Anthracite, M-specific pedals, driver’s footrest and piping on the seats, plus exclusive interior trim in Aluminium Tetragon.

BMW says the new X5 represents “another significant step towards automated driving”,  with an optional new Driving Assistant Professional package featuring Active Cruise Control (ACC) with Stop & Go function, which is capable of braking the vehicle to a standstill and sending it on its way again automatically.

For greater convenience in stop-start traffic, the period between stopping and automatically moving off has been extended up to 30 seconds.

Speed restrictions identified by the Speed Limit Info system with No Passing Info display can be incorporated into the automatic cruise control system with variations of up to 9mph. 

Another component is evasion aid, which can help avoid collisions with vehicles or pedestrians suddenly appearing in the driver’s path - essentially the system will assist the driver to steer into a clear adjacent lane.

The BMW Live Cockpit has the compnay’s latest-generation display and control concept with a high-resolution instrument cluster behind the steering wheel with a 12.3-inch screen and a Control Display also measuring 12.3-inches across.

The system runs the latest BMW Operating System 7.0, and has a cutting-edge, fully digital design and offers a range of connected packages including access to your business email, concierge services and access to Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.

A Remote Software Upgrade feature keeps the vehicle up to date with the latest software.

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