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2023 BMW X5 xDrive40i M-Sport Review Singapore

The 2023 BMW X5 xDrive40i is the updated version of the BMW X5, and has undergone its Life Cycle Impulse (LCI), which features new front and rear lights, the new integrated curved display with Operating System 8 (OS8) which runs Apple Carplay and Android Auto, and is now no longer available with a thrid row of seats. New M-Sport Adaptive suspension has also replaced air suspension from the previous car.

Key Updates

As part of the LCI upgrades, the BMW X5 has seen some updates applied to the car. There has been a redesign of the front of the car, which features new headlights along with a very subtle change in bumper design. The new headlights feature the arrow shaped daytime running lights and provide the X5 with a sleeker and slightly angrier looking front fascia. Due to the less rounded shape of the new DRLs, the X5 looks more streamlined as a whole - a plus point considering that the X5 is a rather chunky car. Inside the car, the new X5 receives the new integrated curved display which runs OS8, bringing it up to par with the newer half of the BMW lineup.

At the rear, a redesign of the rear end has also taken place, which includes a more angular and clean cut rear boot panel. This gives the X5 a stronger and more stoic appearance, but from certain angles, can appear a little bit flat in contrast to the pre-LCI version's curvier rear end. Along with the redesigned front headlights, the X5 has also received a new rear light assembly which departs from circular light signature found on the previous car. The new lights form half an "X" on each side, and when you look at the X5 from afar, it does feel like the rear lights from each side come together to form one large "X" - a rather fitting and innovative way to blend branding into design. The new rear lights do a good job at stretching out the X5 width-wise, and helps to create the illusion that the X5 is wider and flatter than before - which helps the X5 look a little bit more sporty than the car it replaces.

No Longer A 7-Seater

One of the big surprises for me is that the X5 is no longer available as a 7 seater here in Singapore. While the third row in such luxury SUVs have always been abit of a half measure that was only really suitable for younger children, the departure of a 7-seat option in the X5 means that it technically no longer sits in the same category as its previous segment mates like the Mercedes-Benz GLE and Audi Q7.

This move has sort of put the X5 in between categories, making it hard to compare it to others cars that either share a seating format or a price segment with the X5. In essence, the X5 has taken one foot out of its previous segment, and has now stepped in a variety of other sub-segments. For instance, based on price, the Land Rover Defender 130 sits in the same price bracket as the X5, but is a properly large 7 seater SUV that comfortably accommodates full size adults in the third row. However, comparing the X5 to the Defender 110 wouldn't be out of place either. Another good example would be how an Audi SQ8 is also in the same price segment, but pushes out proper performance car figures that the X5 would not be able to match. It's not that we need to compare the X5 to anything - but the reality is that the absence of two seats has led the X5 to lose out in terms of value against cars it previously wouldn't even be compared with.

Mild Hybridisation

One key introduction in the new BMW X5 is mild hybrid technology, which has significantly improved the fuel consumption of the vehicle. As a big and heavy luxury SUV, fuel consumption is the previous X5 wasn't exactly stellar, and while the demographic of owners aren't likely flinching at the fuel economy figures, it is nice that BMW have made the X5 more economical than before.

It's not just economy that has improved with mild hybridisation. Overall, the X5 feels smoother to drive, and offers better low end pick up off the line - a trait that makes the X5 easier and less taxing to operate around town and in urban areas like Singapore where we have plenty of start - stop traffic. When using the car around town, I found that despite its 2.2 tonne weight, the X5 felt much lighter, making it easy to pilot. With the help of well weighted and adaptive steering, the X5 felt no more difficult to drive around town than something half of its size.

Who Will it Appeal to?

The X5 brand is still a very appealing one as it sits in the higher echelons of the BMW stable. It is also after all still a rather expensive car, and should cater well to the premium segment customers who want a big, bruising luxury SUV but want to extract very occasional and brief moments of performance and handling. Owners of the previous X5 will like that the new car does not shift too drastically in terms of styling, and should find upgrading to the new car quite a familiar process.


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