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Phuket Wise Wheels: BMW's X-5 is the king of the road

PHUKET: The 2014 BMW X5 has landed in Phuket. The X5 is a midsize luxury SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle), though BMW brand the X5 as a Sport Activity Vehicle (SAV) to emphasize its on-road ability despite its large size.

By The Phuket News

Tuesday 2 September 2014, 09:00AM

With three models (all diesel) available through Barcelona Motor in Phuket, we had the pleasure to test-drive the xDrive30d, which boasts a 3.0-litre, six-cylinder common-rail diesel engine churning-out 254 hp; enough to go from 0 to 100 km/h in just 6.9 seconds, 0.7 seconds faster than the previous X5.

First introduced in 1999, the X5 was BMW’s first 4x4 and proved to be a game changer, paving the way for other luxury car makers to release crossover vehicles onto the market.

Now in its third generation, the X5 is lighter, quicker, more powerful, economical and spacious than its predecessors. Much of this has been achieved by the greater use of high-strength steel and aluminium in the chassis and body and even magnesium behind the dashboard.

The X5 is designed for comfortable family travel and upon entering the vehicle you find the standard leather upholstery is immaculate. Both the front seats are power adjustable and offer dual-zone climate control. There is ample headroom all-round and, for those of you with larger families, a third row of seats is among an extensive list of optional extras.

Standard on all X5 models is the iDrive infotainment system, which is an absolute joy to use and is arguably the best all-round in-car system on the market today. The interface is intuitive, the controls simple and well-positioned giving you finger-tip access to a remarkable suite of features and functions.

Switching to the satellite navigation system, the huge 10.25-inch screen mounted on the dashboard displays with impressive clarity the familiar map of Phuket Island and accurately follows every twist and turn of our journey.

Heading up the highway off of Phuket, a painless bluetooth sync with my phone and I was browsing my contacts with the multifunction touch-sensitive stylus and making a handsfree call back to office.

Laguna Golf Phuket

Back to concentrating on the road and just in time as the skies darkened and the heavens opened. There was no need for concern though, as the sunlight faded, the headlights turned-on and as the rain started to fall, the oscillation of the wipers adjusted to the strength of the downpour, without any input from the driver.

The three different driving modes help morph the X5 from a comfy highway cruiser (Comfort) to an impressive performance sedan (Sport) to a fairly economical large town car (Economy), all at the flick of a switch. This can be mostly attributed to BMW’s highly acclaimed 8-speed automatic gearbox which quickly shifts and seamlessly extracts the best performance from the engine.

Off-road, the hill-descent control does exactly what it’s meant to do and the LCD screen displays the real time roll, pitch and yaw of the vehicle. For those who venture too far down that sandy road to the beach, the X5’s ability to transfer up to 100 per cent of available torque to an individual wheel should help you get out of sticky situations.

The new 2014 BMW X5 outperforms and is more fuel efficient than its rivals, namely the Porsche Cayenne and Range Rover Sport, and in Thailand you will find it is cheaper as well. Though using the word “cheap” may be somewhat contentious due to the heavy import duties and taxes applied to foreign cars.

The xDrive30d we test drove is priced at B5,999,999 CBU (Completely Built-Up) – meaning it’s imported as a complete vehicle – and is available now. The other models available here are the sDrive25d and the xDrive30d M Sport. Reservations for these can be made now with delivery later this year and prices from B4,599,000 to B6,599,000.

Contact Barcelona Motor in Phuket Town on 076 236 688 for more details.

Richard Jones is the Managing Director of BuyCar24 and can be contacted through www.buycar24.com

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