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The X5 is a mid-size luxury crossover sport utility vehicle (SUV) which made its debut in 1999, and has been produced in three successive generations by German automaker BMW. The X5 was the first offering from BMW to the SUV market, and was developed at a time when BMW owned Land Rover. As such it has benefitted by sharing parts with the Range Rover HSE model, notably the Off Road Engine Management system. Offering great economical engines and genuine off-road capabilities, the X5 is a versatile and popular contender in its class, and directly rivals the Mercedes M-Class, Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne.
The latest third generation model debuted at the 2013 Frankfurt International Motor Show and incorporates a range of petrol, diesel and hybrid powertrains. The entry-level sDrive25d engine is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel, producing 218bhp and capable of the 0-62mph sprint in 7.7 seconds. BMW expect that the majority of sales will come from diesels, but there is a choice of two petrol units available in 449bhp and 575bhp power outputs as well as the xDrive40e hybrid. All engines are strong performers both in and out of town, and come mated to a smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox.
The standard trim levels available in the X5 include SE, M and range-topping X5 M, as well as the standalone M50d level. Equipment levels are generous across the board, including 19-inch alloy wheels, a 10.2-inch infotainment system incorporating iDrive, DAB radio, Bluetooth, air-conditioning, sat-nav, parking sensors and extensive safety equipment as standard. The latter has helped earlier generation X5 models to achieve the maximum five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating, with the third generation expecting to perform just as well. The cavernous 650-litre boot capacity and excellent towing capacity of the X5, ranging between 2700kg and 3500kg depending on engine choice, further adds to its practical family appeal.
As expected from BMW the X5 features the best in comfort, quality and style. It is a strong performer thanks to its extensive range of powerful sharp engines, and is an excellent choice within the luxury SUV class.
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