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BMW X5 twin test - upgrading from E70 to F15

Read the article here. For many Australians, selling your car before its warranty period ends – say every three or four years – is pretty standard practice. And if your ownership experience has been good, then the first place you’re likely look for your next car, is the new version of the one you have. So today, I’m upgrading from my own BMW X5 to the new BMW X5. The all-new third-generation F15 X5 was released in 2014, and brought with it the first-ever two-wheel-drive and four-cylinder models of the large SUV. In all, there are eight variants in the revised X5 line up, including the ballistic new X5 M – and in typical BMW fashion, there is a staggering array of options to allow buyers to spec the just how they want. The third-generation is longer and wider than the second-generation E70 – it’s also a bit lighter, thanks to increased use of lightweight materials. The E70 – with its flared wheel arches and subtle curves – is arguably the better looking of the pair. But this particular F15 – with this mostly pointless but very cool optional M-Performance body kit – looks pretty impressive. And I’m a fan. Both cars here are top-selling xDrive 30D models, combining a 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo-diesel and an eight-speed transmission with all-wheel drive. The new car squeezes 10kW and 20Nm more from the powerplant, taking things 190kW and 560Nm. It also improves upon the E70’s already impressive 7.4L/100km fuel consumption claim, with a combined cycle figure of 6.2L/100km. Inside, the new car will feel very familiar to X5 owners. The quality has improved and it feels more modern – helped by the enormous 10.25-inch iDrive screen in the centre of the dash. It’s not as clean as the integrated screen in the E70, but the clarity is excellent. And the surround-view camera now shows the front of the car, plus engages automatically when driving through tight spaces. Otherwise, the cabin is more of an evolution of the previous generation. Some buttons have moved around a bit, but it doesn’t take long to feel at home. It’s still roomy and comfy in the back here too – in fact, I’d wager rear-seat passengers may not even notice they’re in a different car. A power boot is now standard across the X5 range and the split tailgate is carried over – but again, it’s basically the same. Cargo volume has increased by 30 litres to 650 litres, but – just like mine – if you’re on the move and need to remove the cargo blind, there’s still nowhere to store it (a concept more affordable SUVs have already addressed). Annoying too… The cargo blind still rattles if you don’t have it extended out. Now my car is three-years-old and has about 35,000km on the clock. The steering feedback and overall feel of the car is still very sporting. Because I’m me, it’s fitted with an optional 20-inch wheel package with run-flat tyres which I think looks great, but does makes the ride pretty firm and crashy over bigger bumps. Now this car is fitted with the optional M-Sport package, which includes adaptive suspension. That means you can change modes, but while in the standard COMFORT setting things might not be plush, it certainly feels much better than my E70 – even though it’s actually riding on bigger 21-inch wheels. The steering isn’t as direct as the E70, but it is much lighter – particularly at urban speeds. And considering most X5’s spend more time at the shops then at the racetrack, it makes most tasks, like parking, much easier. The BMW X5 is still Australia’s top selling premium large SUV. The new F15 is a terrific package and a most worthy successor to the hugely popular E70. There is still plenty of optional equipment that should be standard on a car of this caliber, but for E70 owners looking for their next new car, moving from X5 to X5 is an upgrade every way you look at it.
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