Text and photos by Kap Maceda Aguila

HOW appropriate it was for SMC Asia Car Distributors Corporation (SMCACDC), official importer and distributor of BMW in the Philippines, to mark the March 11 arrival of the popular Sports Activity Vehicle — that’s BMW parlance for SUV — BMW X5 with San Miguel Corporation president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang in attendance.
After all, the X5 is also known as “The Boss,” not in a Bruce Springsteen kind of way, but in a “this car is selling like crazy” vibe. This means SMCACDC is right in pulling out all the stops when it launched the fourth generation of the midsize luxury SUV — excuse us, SAV.
Speaking of SAV, BMW actually launched this acronym two decades ago with the X5. The “founding father of the X model family and market leader in the all-wheel drive segment” is still at it, and still reportedly lording it over its rivals, said the Munich-headquartered auto brand. The company also anticipates a 20% growth rate in the segment, which means it’s not hedging its bets with the X5.
For the meantime at least, it appears that BMW is pushing the X5 with a sole variant: the diesel-sipping xDrive30d xLine — promising a zero-to-100kph time of 6.5 seconds with 620Nm (from 2,000-2,500rpm) and 265hp (at 4,000rpm) on tap. An inline six-cylinder is bestowed BMW TwinPower Turbo technology and is mated to an eight-speed Steptronic transmission. And because this is an X model, intelligent all-wheel-drive technology is employed for sure-footedness in all situations and terrains. Car and Driver reports that BMW is “migrating its entire lineup to just two modular platforms, and the X5 is the latest to switch to the Cluster Architecture that also underpins the new 3-series.”
The familiar kidney grille in the front of the vehicle has been enlarged and rendered a one-piece. The “aluminum satinated” grille is flanked by distinctive dual LED headlamps. The rear lights are also LEDs. BMW says the X5 now banners a “pared-back” design ethos with clean surfacing and precise lines to emphasize “the car’s robustness, poise and authority.” Also rendered in aluminum satinated are the X5’s underguard, roof rails and side window surrounds. Other accents are in pearl-effect chrome.
The futuristic-looking instrument cluster, complemented by neat center console (both spanning 12.3 inches) is a welcome, fresh take that gives a feeling of additional space. The BMW Operating System 7.0 display and control concept is employed to optimize “attention control.”
The X5 also employs the BMW Live Cockpit Professional system to fully present information digitally and in a consistent design. “Multimodal interaction allows the driver to use the steering wheel buttons, iDrive Controller, the touch screen display, voice control or BMW gesture control, as [he/she] prefers.”
The raised seat should be a welcome development in aid of driver visibility — clearly one of the pluses of an SUV (excuse us, SAV).
A luxurious feeling underpins the experience within via well-cushioned seats and premium materials conspire to spoil occupants. BMW reveals other creature comforts such as cooled/heated cup holders, ambient lighting and the Harman Kardon sound system.
The driver is given a choice of interface: steering wheel buttons, iDrive Controller, the touch screen display, voice control or BMW gesture control.
“It’s practically fully loaded,” said SMCACDC president Adrian Spencer Y. Yu in an interview with BusinessWorld. “It’s extremely good value for what you pay, and it has the most aggressive pricing in its class.”
Priced at P5.99 million, the X5 is being presented with an additional unprecedented perk: a five-year warranty (BMW Repair Inclusive), a first in the premium automotive segment. This includes “repairs that are completed at authorized BMW facilities using only original BMW parts to help protect both performance and the automobile’s value.”
Yet another reason to buy the SUV — excuse us, SAV.