'Fight to the death' between the 1st and 2nd generation BMW X5 and the mighty Range Rover. The Bimmer can put up a good fight but will it ultimately loose. By no means is the Bimmer a bad car - its just wasn't good enough to better the do-it-all Range Rover. Bearing in mind that didn't stop the X5 from becoming the UK's most stolen vehicle.
So shortly after came the new BMW X5, a prettier, lighter, more powerful, also defiantly more efficient monster of a car. It's a car that, during our test drive, quickly made the Recombu cars reviews team think it was more than a bit special. However the BMW X5 is special enough to knock Range Rover off it's perch, so people wondered? only a good battle to the death would give people the right answer.
The design - By its very nature, the SUV is a glorified box wheels. with that said, some boxes can look better than others. The old BMW X5 shape, for instance had presence. Initially people has come concerns over the new look, However over time the revised headlights and emphasised features have defiantly grown on people. Its new look seems fresher and so much more modern, but still not what people would call stylish.
So many more different changes have been put in place to improve aerodynamics, which in turn help with efficiency and performance, so any upset caused by BMW's designers is soon forgotten about. A drag co-efficient of just 0.31cd makes it glide through the air better than many cars far smaller in size.
On the other hand the Range Rover, manages a minimum of 0.34cd, meaning the Range Rover isn't that far behind the BMW X5. Arguably, that slight difference is compensated by better looks. More boxy, granted, but there's still something special about the Range Rover, a weird cocktail of regal and rugged.
Inside both cars it feels like a premium car should. The BMW X5 look more modern and sporty, but it seem to favor plastic, whereas the Rang Rover is less cluttered, boxier and fixated on luxury. Just with a simple touch of optional wood on the center console helps give the impression of occasion.
(Ok so people would most properly say that the Range Rover was won this point, just for being easier on the eye.)
performance and handling - It's a straight up drag race the only difference between the Range Rover V8 model and the xDrive50i is minimal, as the former can hit 0-62mph in 5.1seconds and the latter in 5seconds. Thanks to some serious weight saving going on in both cases. Both cars go well above the national speed limit, too, and will get there quicker than the laws of physics should allow.
It gets less clear cut when someone looks at the diesel engines. The X5 X50d M Sport is fairly magical, offering the efficiency of the Range Rover TDV6, but 0-62mph performance not too far removed from the much thirstier V8 - which is frankly absurd.
So if someone compares the diesel models, the BMW X5 makes the Range Rover TDV6's 0-62mph time of 7.4seconds, 254bhp, 600Nm of torque top speed of 130mph look a bit limp. This is only when you more down the range to the xDrive25d does gap once again close between the SDV6 turbo diesel Range.
In terms of handling both cars remain composed at speed and will always soak up all but the worst potholes the UK roads have to offer. However both cars are fun to drive too, thanks to the effortlessly smooth gear changes and power on tap.
People just have to admit, the BMW X5 is lighter on its feet to the point where you someone forget it weighs 2,100kg. As said in the review, this is a car that can handle remarkably well and will make people forget it's an SUV, partly thank to the adaptive M suspension.
The Range Rover is just as smooth and arguable more composed, however it feels a lot less nimble, even with the weight saving, people feel more afraid to chuck it into a corner compared with the X5.
Off-road, however, and the X5 is to the Range Rover what Alan Titchmarsh is to Ray Mears. The BMW X5's lower clearance means it's already at a disadvantage when the terrain gets tough and there's not as many sophisticated systems to get people home alive. In all fairness, the BMW X5's xDrive 4x4 system handled the damp forest test ground without breaking a sweat, however it'd probably wince at the sight of some of the terrain the Rangie could tackle.
Once again it's a close call. But the Bimmer offers an impressive diesel that can nearly outmuscle the Range Rover V8, but it will have a bit more trouble when the roads give way to rocks. people say call it a draw because the winner depends on peoples requirements.
Economy and environment - As we alluded to earlier, the X5 M5od is an efficient motor given its sheer size and weight. Also it can manage 42.2mpg with delicate footwork, meanwhile the CO2 emissions are 117g/Km. This compares very favorably with the Range Rover TDV6, which returns 37.7mpg at its best and 196g/Km.
The X50d M Sport looks saintly compared to the V8. The V8 will manage 22.2mpg, but that's only if you want to hold up traffic everywhere people go. Early to late teens is more likely, with 298g/Km of CO2 emissions pumped into the atmosphere.
People pit the xDrive50i against the brutish the V8, which is fairer in terms of performance, the X5 emerges victorious again, with fuel economy of 27.2mpg and 242g/Km. All diesel engines in the X5 range offer better efficiency, as well. Bit of a whitewash for the German manufacturer, here.
Price - A BMW X5 sDrive25d, the lowest model in the range, can be yours from £42,590, with the especially impressive X5 M50d costing from £63,715. Step up to the most expensive model, the xDrive50i petrol, and you can say goodbye to at least £63,920.
The Range Rover 3.0-litre TDV6 starts at £71,295, rising to £98,395 for 5.0-litre supercharged V8, which makes the BMW X5 seem cheap given the minimal difference in on-road performance and economy advantage.
Granted, the equipment list on the Range Rover is more generous, but you could have a lot of juicy extras on peoples X5 before people start to hit the same asking price. If money is no object, however, the Range Rover offers ludicrous luxury, including seats that message people, in the case of the Autobiograohy Black Edition long wheelbase, more legroom than people know what to with. However that costs upwards of £130,000. YIKES.
Verdict - Tally up the points and the BMW X5 is the winner. Few cars give people more cake and let them eat it, but somehow the X5 offers comfort, performance and plenty of space, yet drinks less fuel than some hatchbacks. It's relatively affordable and drives incredibly well.