Last Chance To Buy: BMW X5


When is it going?

In April, there will be a new-look and larger X5 - 20cm longer, 5cm higher and 6cm wider - but do you really need a bigger and uglier X5, when the older and prettier one is still out there?

What's good about it?

It's a high-rise 5 series, which is a very good thing, as it means it is great to drive and versatile. It's a high-image cruiser, bought for its looks rather than its off-road ability. Despite its size, it is easy and, immensely satisfying to drive, and remarkably, has all the poise and comfort of a 5 series. Most have automatic gearboxes that change smoothly and suit the car well. The dashboard is lifted from a 5-series, with a few subtle modifications, so everything is easy to find.

While there's space at the back for three adults, the boot isn't the biggest but it is a good shape and the tailgate splits so that just the glass can be lifted. The lower part drops to give a flat loading platform.

If money is no object, then a pair of V8s offering 4.4 litres and 4.8 litres respectively have lavish specs that include auto transmission and leather seats as standard. The options list is huge, and many are loaded with extras. Otherwise, go for the 3.0 diesel. It's smooth and has just the right low-revs punch a car like this needs.

It tips 30mpg across a mix of trips, which is 10mpg better than the petrols. What's more, it is the slowest depreciator of the lot. Choose between SE or Sport trim. Both offer all you're likely to want, including alloy wheels, climate-controlled air-con and a CD player. If diesel isn't for you, there's a 3.0 petrol that makes a good enough fist of hauling the X5's bulk around,

What's bad about it?

No multiple seating options, but if that's what you want you should buy an MPV. High petrol running costs - they guzzle fuel - and it's a tame off-roader. The 4.8iS gulps fuel, costs lots to run and isn't even the best to drive. It manages just 13mpg on urban trips.

How much?

Recently, it has been possible to get discounts, especially on petrol-powered X5s. Even so, car supermarkets such as Motorhouse 2000 (08702 248440) can get deals on diesels, and a 3.0D Sport Automatic with high spec is £38,999, saving at least £1,000 on the usual price. Newregcars.co.uk (0870 922 0983) can get a 4.8i Exclusive Edition at £56,488, saving £6,152; or a 3.0d SE Exclusive at £38,844, saving £3,900.

Any snags?

Hard-driven X5s eat through tyres, brakes and steering bushes. Older diesels experience problems with fuel injection and cracks in inlet manifolds. Also suffer faults with air-mass sensors, which means poor running and flat spots when accelerating. Electrical problems are most common, followed by brakes and fuel-system troubles.

Specifications

Launched: 1999

Engine: 3.0i, 4.4i, 4.6i, 4.8i, 3.0d

Performance: 3.0d max speed 130mph, 0-60mph 9.6 secs

Economy: 32.8 mpg

Safety: NCAP five stars

News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
filmReview: Sometimes the immersive experience was so good it blurred the line between fiction and reality
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices