No matter which luxury car you drive, BMW definitely takes the game way ahead simply by looking good. And there’s no doubt about the outgoing X5. Almost 19 years ago, when the first BMW X5 was introduced to the world, it was supposed to be the sportiest SUV around ground-up. What the others followed up later, BMW had used the monocoque construction for this SUV, a design architecture that was mostly used by sedans.

Into the third generation, X5 looks massively stunning and keeps poised. This isn’t a car that would stand out of the league rather would look tall, dark and handsome when posed along others.

There are two variants available for X5 – xDrive 30d Edition X and xDrive 30d Design Pure Experience, which are priced at Rs 68.40 lakh and Rs 77.90 lakh (ex-showroom pan-India), respectively. At that price point, X5 is one of the reasonably priced SUVs, all thanks to the Make in India initiative that has helped the carmaker save on taxes.

Until you get in

If you’re a fan of SUVs, meet the ‘daddy’of this segment. The one that we got to drive was a sparkling brown one. The X5 has a prominent broad-set kidney grille that serves as a signature for BMW cars. The new LED headlamps seem to have been inspired from 3-series styling. The large window line ends in a smart triangle while the rear end gets new tail lamps and bumpers but is the most familiar looking angle on the car. Looking from the side, you can notice the precision that has gone in designing the flank of the X5. There are lines rising up towards the rear end building a wedge shape exuding dynamic intent and break up the taut surfaces around the front side panels, doors and rear wheel arches.

Sitting in the front

If you are shorter than 5’7”, you would need to hop on. Once you are seated on the driver’s seat, you would find yourself seated much higher and get a full view of the road ahead. The dashboard looks stunningly elegant with hint of Oakwood on it. As the night sets in, you will be thrilled to see how a tinge of blue light creates magic inside. There is a crisp 10.2 inch HD infotainment at the centre that’s powered by BMW’s iDrive system, which is still the most intuitive to use. The screen can be split in two, letting you customise the content on display.

Rear seats

The leather upholstery on the seats gives it a plush look. The airy cabin on the rear would make you realize this car is meant to be chauffeured around. The rear ones are 40:20:20 splitting seats, which offer ample cushioning, good under-thigh support, spacious knee room. In most cars of this category, there is a hump in the centre, which makes seating three rather difficult.

Surprisingly, there is ample space to fit in the middle passenger as the floor is flat. The boot space is massive at 650 litres. However, folding the second row will let you load 1,870 litres of luggage. While there is an option to put a third row of seat but that would be restricted to kids only, if used. The tailgate can be opened electrically.

Safety

There are oodles of safety features in this car. Right from front and side airbags, ABS with Brake Assist, Cornering Brake Control (CBC), Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) to Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Hill Descent Control (HDC), Attentiveness Assist, Fading Compensation, Brake Drying, the German carmaker has armoured the car with everything possible.

Performance

Well, the car is big enough and elegant. But does X5 ensure a great experience? While there are options in the global market, in India, the third generation X5 comes with only the 3.0-litre straight six single turbo diesel engine that produces 258 HP of power and 560Nm of torque. 0-100 kmph could be reached in a little above 7 seconds. The engine is mated to the ever delightful and highly responsive ZF 8-speed auto gearbox that can be controlled via steering mounted paddle shifters.

If you are driving on Comfort Mode, you would love the cruising. Once the Sports Mode is enabled, the instrument cluster gets a virtual cockpit look and the drive quality is a bit jerky. Though the weight has been reduced by 90 kgs from earlier versions, the body roll has been cut down by chassis control, an integrated vehicle control technology to improve the overall vehicle performance including handling, stability, and comfort through creating synergies in the use of sensor information, hardware, and control strategies. The car yielded a fuel economy of 10kmpl on the highway.