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BMW X5 xDrive30d M Sport (G05 LCI): The fifth power

Still great value despite the massive price hike

In a world where EVs are the new trend, the X5 still soldiers on with a diesel mill. PHOTO BY BOTCHI SANTOS

In a day and age where diesel-powered luxury SUVs are the very essence of the devil on four wheels (if you ascribe to Greta Thunberg and her gospel), it’s natural to feel a little self-conscious in a very bright-white German luxo barge.

But in reality, the BMW X5 M Sport tries to be very angelic.

The in-line-six engine is now assisted by a 48V mild-hybrid system. PHOTO BY BOTCHI SANTOS

The in-line-six B57 twin-power turbodiesel now makes an improved 282hp and 650Nm, thanks to a new 48V mild-hybrid system. The powerplant drives all four wheels via a ZF 8HP eight-speed automatic with xDrive (BMW-speak for all-wheel drive) with the trademark rear-wheel bias feel.

And it is eerily quiet, especially for a diesel. So quiet that I thought it wasn’t idling after I had started the engine. Even the missus thought it was an EV.

It may not be an EV, but it sure does try to mimic the behavior of one. PHOTO BY BOTCHI SANTOS

More EV inclinations abound when, just like one, if you slot it into Park and open the door, the engine automatically shuts off. Annoying at first, but you have to give credit to BMW’s commitment to being as environmentally friendly as possible.

The result? A claimed 175g/km of carbon dioxide emissions with a promised fuel economy of 7.1L/100km. That’s a tad over 14km/L in a metric we’re used to. And yet it catapults itself to 100km/h at an alarming 6.5 seconds. To put it into context, it’s akin to a fully laden Airbus A380 accelerating for takeoff.

It's still a BMW, so it drives really, really well. PHOTO BY BOTCHI SANTOS

The massive wheels might be a cause for concern. But despite riding on the V-Spoke Style 915 M 21-inch wheels, ride comfort is superb with harshness missing from the Pirelli P-Zero run-flat tires.

The Adaptive M Sport suspension is equally excellent, straddling the balance between compliance and control exquisitely. Thanks to this, the updated X5 M Sport corners like the proverbial BMW on rails.

Of course, there’s stopping power to match the hybrid-assisted acceleration thanks to big multi-piston front and rear brakes clamping down on equally huge discs. The brake feel is also exquisite: firm, perfectly weighted, and very progressive. You can sense how far down the brakes have clamped on, and how much travel is left before triggering the ABS.

Yes, it still has a split tailgate. PHOTO BY BOTCHI SANTOS

The SUV has oodles of space inside: 650L in the trunk with the rear seats up, expanding to 1,870L with the rear seats folded down. With impressive comfort and an overall enjoyable driving experience, you already know that the X5 is amazing. And we haven’t even peered inside.

Sadly, no physical climate controls to be seen. PHOTOS BY BOTCHI SANTOS

The latest G05 X5 has new systems for driver assistance and parking along with the latest BMW Operating System 8.5 with BMW Live Cockpit Plus. It also has a Curved Display, a 12.3-inch main driver display, and a panoramic 14.3-inch infotainment display (all this is beneath a singular glass panel).

Literally, a wide curved screen replaces the long-standing instrument binnacle on the dash. Sad, but such are the times of today.

Front or back, it's going to be comfortable regardless where you seat. PHOTOS BY BOTCHI SANTOS

Thankfully, you can reflect whether these changes are good or bad in the comfort of the diamond-quilted Sensafin M Sport leather seats. You also get anthracite wood, plastic and suede trim with a bit of machined aluminum contrasts as highlights. There’s a wireless charger for your mobile device, a wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and a Harman Kardon surround-sound system.

The visual updates make it look sharper. PHOTOS BY BOTCHI SANTOS

Outside, the X5’s front has revised bi-LED headlights and a reshaped (yet still huge) kidney grille. The new headlight units now have a 35mm slimmer outline with the optional Iconic Glow available exclusively for the X5 Drive30d M Sport. Subtle yet meaningful changes.

It's more expensive, but is still an excellent package if you can afford it. PHOTO BY BOTCHI SANTOS

The only downside I can see is the massive price increase. The previous X5 M Sport was P2.9 million cheaper than this updated model. It was an amazing bargain. Today’s X5 M Sport at P8,890,000 is still good value for the specifications it offers, but obviously not the secret bargain previous buyers all raved about.

Nonetheless, this is a highly polished, highly developed car that is very practical, efficient, safe, and highly engaging and enjoyable to drive. I still want one, and I still believe it is excellent value for the price. It just isn’t the bargain-basement model it used to be.


Engine3.0-liter in-line-six turbodiesel with 48V mild-hybrid system
Transmission8-speed automatic
Power282hp @ 5,500-6,500rpm
Torque620Nm @ 1,750-2,250rpm
Dimensions4,935mm x 2,004mm x 1,765mm
Drive layoutAWD
UpsideBetter and more of everything in performance, efficiency, and interior appointments. It’s heavenly to drive.
DownsideIt’s more expensive than before.

Botchi Santos

Botchi is your friendly, walking car encyclopedia. He loves helping people choose the right vehicle for themselves as much as he enjoys picking the right one for himself. Expect him to write about car culture, test drives and car-shopping advice. His regular column is called ‘Car Life’.