Inside Line sources who have driven early prototypes said the new X5 steers and handles with all the precision of the critically acclaimed first-generation X5 and despite now being fitted with run-flat tires as standard manages to improve on ride quality, too. "It's not the most comfortable in the class, but we're confident the handling is as good as, or better than, the outgoing model," says one BMW executive. The front suspension is BMW's first use of a double wishbone suspension combined with a multi-link rear suspension, with upmarket models getting rear air springs to smooth out the ride.
The advantage to switching to the double wishbone front suspension allows for a stiffer suspension with the use of run-flat tires (RFT, RSC, or EMT), without adversely affecting ride comfort as well as dampening road-feel. However, BMW hasn't held back on equipping its new SUV with the kind of chassis technology used on its 5 and 7 Series cars. Among the options are the company's Adaptive Drive and Active Steering systems, the former using hydraulic stabilizer bars to suppress body roll and the latter employing an electric motor to alter the steering ratio depending upon speed, getting progressively direct at low speeds.
The majority of the X5's electronics are based on E65, with a few new innovations. Additionally, a new electronics network-system has been developed, named "Flex-Ray," which is currently only used for the Electronic Dampening Control (EDC) system. Among the engine choices at launch is a pair of 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder units developing in gasoline guise and in common-rail diesel form. Topping the range is a 355-hp 4.8-liter V8 that is claimed to propel the new BMW to from standstill in an impressive 6.5 seconds and up to a top speed of 150 mph .
Other power plants will be added to the new X5 lineup in time. Also under consideration as a rival to the newly launched Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG and Porsche Cayenne Turbo is a high-performance version of the new X5 running a secret new turbocharged V8 set to make its debut on the new 7 Series due out in 2008. Power is channeled permanently to all four wheels via a six-speed automatic gearbox, which is claimed to reduce shift speed by up to 50 percent through the incorporation of a new torque converter and revised software. It is operated via a new joystick-like shift lever that, like the new electronic parking brake mechanism, has been designed to take up less room on the center console than the current setup. Also significant is the addition of the iDrive controller interface.
Hoping to build on the 580,000 first-generation X5 sales to date, BMW has made only conservative changes to the SAV's appearance. The exterior styling, in particular, draws heavily on the first-generation model, retaining the same basic proportions with subtly altered detailing more in keeping with modern BMW styling. The rear continues with a split tailgate and separately opening rear window. Its appearance may be familiar but the new X5 has grown considerably, putting on in length and in width. BMW sources contend that the use of lightweight materials, including a greater percentage of aluminum within the suspension, has helped keep weight down. The new base model weighs no more than the outgoing model when its increased equipment count is taken into consideration. The added length liberates space for an optional third row of seats, extending the X5's seat count to seven in a move that will see it more closely challenge the Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90 for outright versatility. Luggage capacity is reduced from to just when the third seat row is in use.
Outrage over Pounds 1.1m Bill for Top Cops to Get 'Flash Cars' as a Perk; EXPENDITURE CRITICISED AT A TIME OF CUTBACKS IN POLICE
Aug 02, 2011; Byline: SAM MALONE TWO of Wales' police forces spent more than pounds 1.1m on top-of -the-range cars in the past four years for...