It’s hard to believe we’re here today, looking at this fourth-generation X5. It was less than 20 years ago in 1999 when BMW first split from Munich tradition and launched the company’s first SUV.

Fast forward to 2018 and the Bavarians are about to release the seventh SUV in the company’s massive portfolio stretching from front-wheel drive (gasp!) minivans to the upcoming X7. In fact there are plans for an eighth, the X8, and considering where the market is going it would make sense for BMW to go after the new Audi Q8.

This fourth-gen X5 however is the matter of the moment, launched with a gigantic kidney grille up front that is another sign of the times — an attempt at carving out an identity amidst a sea of almost indistinguishable SUVs. Wherever you look you see the same thing, turbocharged 2.0-litre fours; turbocharged 3.0-litre sixes; turbocharged 4.0-litre V8s…

It’s no different at BMW, where the new X5 rolls out with a 3.0-litre engine rated at 335 horsepower in the X5 xDrive 40i which will kick off the new range. Naturally most buyers in our region will want to gravitate towards the xDrive 50i, powered by a 4.0-litre turbocharged V8 and developing 456 horsepower. This flagship model, at least until BMW’s M department gets going, will do zero to 100kph in less than five seconds and top out at an electronically limited top speed of 250kph.

Inside the new X5, owners will get to enjoy a suite of the latest driving assistance features, a properly fancy interior trimmed out in optionally available Merino leather, and two touchscreen displays plus a panoramic roof featuring that starry sky option made famous by Rolls-Royce. 

 

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