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by Tim Beissmann

Increased power, greater efficiency, added features and enhanced luxury have all been promised from the mid-life makeover of the BMW X5 to be launched in Australia in June.

Headlining the mechanical improvements across the X5 range is Brake Energy Regeneration, the new eight-speed automatic transmission from the 760Li, and numerous tweaks falling under the EfficientDynamics banner that have improved power, torque, acceleration and fuel economy.

The volume seller of the range, the entry-level X5 xDrive30d, receives a power increase to 180kW which reduces its 0-100km/h sprint by half a second to 7.6secs. Fuel economy of the 3.0-litre straight-six turbo is also improved, down 1.3 litres/100km to 7.4.

Replacing the xDrive35d is the new xDrive40d, which features an all-aluminium twin-turbo straight-six with common rail direct injection and develops 225kW and 600Nm (up 15kW/20Nm). Despite the gains, it manages just 7.5-litres/100km combined, down from 8.8 by its predecessor.

BMW says petrol variants of xDrive30 and xDrive40 will offer similar gains in terms of power, acceleration and fuel consumption.

The xDrive35i will replace the xDrive30i and will take power up 25kW to 225 and torque from 315Nm to 400. Consumption is down from 11.7 litres/100km to 10.1, while 0-100km/h is also slashed to 6.8 seconds.

The top-of-the-range xDrive50i takes over from the xDrive48i and will be almost unrecognisable in terms of performance.

Power from the twin-turbo direct-injection V8 (which debuted last year in the X6 xDrive50i) is up 39kW to 300, while torque skyrockets from 355Nm to an enormous 600, available from 1750 to 4500rpm. From standstill, 100km/h comes up in just 5.5 seconds.

Manoeuvrability is also improved across the range thanks to an upgrade to the electric power steering system.

Visually the X5 remains a familiar package, most easily distinguished from its predecessor by its redesigned front and rear aprons, the front gaining larger side air intakes and central air dam. The dual round Xenon headlamps are fitted with new LED “corona rings” that act as daytime running lights, while the rear is also illuminated by LED light banks reflecting the brand-typical night-time rear end design.

BMW ConnectedDrive offers a range of features including head-up display, active cornering headlights, high-beam assistant, park distance control and reversing camera with Top View, active cruise control with Stop & Go function, lane departure warning and side view.

Adaptive brake lights, runflat tyres and a tyre defect indictor head a comprehensive list of standard safety equipment fitted to the new X5 range.

The BMW X5 has been Australia’s top-selling luxury SUV for the past seven years, last year selling 3124 units for a 15.6 percent market share. The X5 made a solid start to 2010 last month with 286 finding homes, representing a 62.5 percent increase over January 2009.

The revised BMW X5 will arrive in Australia in June with pricing expected to rise when it is officially announced closer to the car’s launch.




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