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BMW boasts – “The Boss is back”. I guess it is their way of proclaiming superiority over the X5’s competition? 2018 concluded with the local arrival of said “Boss”, the fourth generation X5. Bigger and very much bolder than any of its forefathers, the new X5 stands wide while looking at you square in the eye with its new massive kidney grilles. It says it means business – like a boss.


Although a picture is meant to say a thousand words, in the flesh, the new X5 gels more harmoniously in 3D reality than 2D photography. More masculine than ever before, the X5 marches to the beat of its own aesthetic drum within its peer group: The Range Rover Sport, Mercedes-Benz GLE, Audi Q7, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Volvo XC90.


More is more with the new X5 – more aggressive-looking, tick! More luxurious on the inside, tick! Every surface of the new cabin is harmoniously crafted all while being wrapped in smooth-to-the-touch leather. Electronics switchgear, screens and ambient lighting gently tantalize your eyes’ focal points; calmly beckoning you into the future. The cabin’s cavernous space allows for a sumptuously sized lifestyle, as well.  


BMWs have been, and thankfully still are, the makers of fantastic 6-cylinder motors. The diesel version fitted to the 30d, a 3.0-l, in the entry-level X5 is no exception. Like a well-aged whiskey, the motor is honed and perfected. There’s 195 kW/620 Nm of power and oomph on tap. These are big numbers. Lots of power. All put down on the tarmac beautifully through BMW’s dynamic xDrive system that deliberately sends more power to the car’s rear wheels for dynamic purposes. Obviously, should any one of these wheels spin, BMW’s advanced system sorts things out within milliseconds. BMW claims a dash to 100km/h in 6.5 seconds with a top speed of 230km/h. Thanks to the pairing of superior 8-speed automatic gearbox, from ZF,  shifts are seamless. The advantage of driving this variant over petrol options that the competition offers is fuel economy. You can expect figures of 8.4-l to 110l per 100 km depending on driving styles as averages. These are great considering its over two-ton weight. That is a tick for engine and gearbox combination.

Being a BMW, there is an expectation that it is automatically linked to driving exhilaration. The new X5 is now fitted with air suspension as standard – bar the X5 M50d that features firmer sports suspension. With that said, the air suspension irons out road irregularities as you’d expect. What you don’t expect is the X5’s softer nature as a result. Steering is light, pedal action sharp and responsive - all while riding on a soft air cloud.


The new X5’s aggressive and masculine exterior is in juxtaposition with its caring, maternal ride. Perhaps that is what makes a great boss? A tough exterior with a caring heart. The X5’s safety systems follow suit – carefully guiding you while protecting you against potential accidents, but when called into action, the active safety features aggressively respond.


Is this the best SUV, or as BMW refers to it: Sport Activity Vehicle? Know that competition is strong. Just look at this list of impressive options: Audi Q7/Q8, Mercedes-Benz GLE, Porsche Cayenne, Land Rover Range Rover Discovery Sport/Velar and Discovery, Lexus RX, Volvo XC90, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Maserati Levante. There is no doubt that the X5 has its unique appeal and excels in certain aspects of being a large family SUV. To be claimed the Boss as the leader of the pack is just smart advertising. It is good – very good but not the best at everything.


Plus +

  • Beautiful engine and gearbox
  • Luxury interior
  • Size and space


Minus –

  • Only two diesel motors
  • Pricey optional extras


The Pricing

xDrive 30d R 1 195 000

M50d          R 1 502 600


The service and warranty

The BMW X5 comes standard with a 5-year / 100 000km maintenance plan.

My Choice  

xDrive 30d R 1 195 000



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