My brand new BMW arrived home with a few hiccups on its way from the USA to Australia. First of all when my car arrived at the dealer after what felt like years, they decided that the car needed to have a $3000 service and check up. Since the car had just come off the boat 2 days from when I had my car delivered, this so called "mandatory service" also included various fluid changes. I knew that this is all a big plot to get me to fork out more and make up for a serious pricing mistake, so I got on the phone with my contact in Germany (he remains nameless for this review) and had this "mandatory service" removed from my final bill.
Now moving on from the terrible delivery experience, there is a lot that BMW still needs to work on. My vehicle has many options: M Sports package, Innovations package, interior Design Pure Excellence package, 20-inch M Sport wheels, automatic soft-close function doors, panoramic sunroof, third row seating, Azurite Black metallic individual paintwork, ceramic controls, and Adaptive Suspension Professional, all for $103,999. I really think the Azurite Black is really only for people who look after their cars (i.e washing them every week) because once this paint and car gets dirty, it looks horrid. Give it a good wash and polish and it'll blow everything else in it's class away. As I was saying, the Azurite Black is a real stunner, and countless other owners have asked me why my X5 looks better than theirs. My answer is, of course, "I paid $2000 for this paintwork so it's obviously better".
Moving onto ride, handling and performance, the X5 has always been a headline in its segment for its handling. It feels sporty in most situations and has never failed to impress with its cornering, however it obviously is not the top-of-the-line M, so its handling is not quite as good as a Cayenne, but it matches the likes of the Range Rover Sport. The ride is decent, though gets quite bumpy on my gravel driveway that is yet to be sealed. Freeway driving (especially on the older parts) can upset the suspension easily, though a major part of the problem are the stylish M Sport 20-inch wheels. Performance of the 3.0L V6 Turbo Diesel is absolutely incredible (I am aware that other 3.0L V6 T/D's are just as powerful than this one, but I must acknowledge that most 3.0L V6 T/D's today are very good), but since I don't tow much these days I haven't gotten around to putting the torque to good use.
The cabin is another highlight of the car; it's classy, premium, functional and - for the most part - well built. I know the interior hasn't changed much over the years (and same for the exterior) and nor do I expect it to change much more, but it shows its advantages over newer cars because BMW have taken a perfectionist approach to this car (which will hopefully continue). However the interior and infotainment is not all sunshine and rainbows. I have had countless amounts of rattles and noises coming from the door panels (which have been fixed for now) and iDrive at delivery had some issues with its language format, which required a full computer change just 2 weeks after delivery. Above all, the most major problem I have encountered so far in my ownership of the X5 is the engine warning coming on after approximately 20 minutes of 100km/h driving. This problem took 3 visits to the service department to get the issue resolved (the problem turned out to be a exhaust blockage which required the entire air system and Turbo system to be replaced - thankfully under warranty or else I would have had to sell some organs).
Overall I would say if it wasn't for a few let downs here and there the car would have been a 10. The vehicle, apart from the issues popping up lately, has been excellent and reliable. Servicing for me is $1000 a year, or in my case 75,000KM. Since bringing the car home in May, I have clocked 31,000km from mostly driving to work and back (I reserve my GT-R for the weekends).
Note: I am aware that the photo shown is not my car, it is there as a representation of a similar car.