Diesel power and big SUVs go together like Thelma and Louise, politicians and finger pointing, fries and gravy. And like the latter, it is a pairing more appreciated by Canadians than our neighbours to the south.
X5 xDrive35i. Be that as it may, $67,000 ain’t small peanuts.BMW certainly isn’t discouraging the choice, as the premium for the 2015 X5 xDrive35d is only $1,500 over the gas-powered
For this we’re getting the third-gen X5 that bowed as a 2014 model. Sticking to the Ten Commandments of nameplate evolution, Bimmer’s latest lux SUV is slightly longer, wider, has a bigger grille, nicer interior, more gears in the transmission, more tech, gets better fuel economy… is that ten yet? Whatever. It also has one less turbo strapped to the 3.0L inline-six diesel than the previous X5d.
All this translates to a much nicer driving experience. While slightly down on torque and power from the old model, the engine is considerably smoother and quieter, as is the ride. The second-gen X5 diesel rode like an ox cart, and while this 2015 certainly has some starch in its underpinnings, it can be described as pleasantly firm as opposed to unpleasantly crashy.
The diesel-six makes 255 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque, and is hooked to the ubiquitous ZF-sourced eight-speed auto that seems to make everybody and every vehicle imminently happy. The latter has been tweaked for 2015 in the interest of more fuel savings. Average fuel consumption is pegged at 8.7 L/100 km, which, for a 2,346 kg luxo-barge that has little problem getting out of its own way is bordering on the miraculous. My week of predominantly highway and secondary road driving ended at 7.6 L/100 km – exactly what I posted in a Volkswagen Beetle Classic 1.8T the previous week.
Of course, folks will be buying the charming little V-Dub with actual fuel savings in mind. Those purchasing this $77,100 as-tested X5 xDrive35d will be doing so to say they are saving money on fuel.
The X5 is a proven winner: Luxury SUV Comparison
Nonetheless, diesel fuel is currently 12 cents per litre less dear than regular gas, so as I blast around in this fine handling box of luxury, I can look down on the masses from my elevated perch (both literally and figuratively) and feel somewhat smug in the knowledge that this puppy is cheaper to run than buddy’s Accord over in the next lane.