BMW X5 – How To Lose A Filling On A Motorbike


The X5 has just had an outing on Oulton Park racetrack. Sadly this was no faster than 30mph in pursuit of British Superbike rider, Jenny Tinmouth. If you haven’t heard of her before, she’s the first and only woman in the series – and the fastest girl around the Isle of Man TT course.

Jenny isn’t used to taking passengers on the back of her 1000cc Honda Fireblade but I can’t say that I have been more scared since I did the bobsleigh in Switzerland a few years back. I did the same sort of track ride with super bike star James Toseland a few years ago but Jenny didn’t ease off the throttle during our ride!

Consequently, I seem to have lost a filling, thanks to our helmets smashing together under extreme braking. My arms are also a few inches longer from hanging on for dear life.

Jenny drives her transport van like a lunatic too.At least I could keep up with her in the X5 when she was at the wheel, although she did have to ease off a bit because her racing bike was in the back…

BMW X5 – 2WD 25d Sips Fuel Like A Parsimonious Scotsman…


A lengthy 336 miles in to my journey from Gloucestershire to Northern Ireland and the fuel gauge on the X5 is finally registering under half full! That means I should be able to squeeze almost 600 miles out of the BMW – how the hell does it do that?

It’s because the 25d simply throws the rule book out of the window. Okay, it’s the first X5 to be powered by a four-cylinder engine and the first to be offered with two-wheel drive only. However, it feels every inch as good as the big brother six cylinder.

The entry-level X5 is powered by a 2.0-litre twin turbo that sips fuel but still pulls well. 0-60mph takes just over eight seconds, although there is plenty of torque there for overtaking when required. Unless you really need 4×4 for off-load driving, I’ll bet that you would never know the 25d is rear-wheel drive only anyway.

The eight-speed gearbox feels perfectly suited to the engine too, smooth, fast and efficient. A pseudo all-wheel drive? Maybe but you won’t regret it at the filling station…


BMW X5 – A Poor Relation At Posh Daylesfords…


I’d like to think a £50,000 BMW wouldn’t look out of place in any car park – that was until I went to uber-posh farm shop Daylesford yesterday. The place is owned by the Bamford family, of JCB fame, and is on the edge of the Cotswolds.

David Cameron and his cronies come here (when they are not sending images by email) and the car park is packed with auto exotica. Lots of it. The X5 looked like a poor relation parked next to a Bentley and a 911 Turbo.

I soon realised Daylesford isn’t the kind farm shop I would visit on a regular basis. Apart from the comedy  prices (£1.99 for an Eccles cake!) it’s totally devoid of ‘farm’ atmosphere and packed with customers straight from a Harvey Nics catalogue.

It’s like all the character has been sucked out and replaced with Botox – eek! To be honest, I couldn’t wait to get back in the Beemer with my expensive coffee and head off to a proper farm again.

Oh and watch out for the matriarch woman in charge of the shop floor. You’ll certainly hear her coming and then wish you’d gone to Waitrose instead…

BMW X5 – As Good As It Gets?


It’s terribly unfair to compare the out-going Shogun to the X5 but both cars were parked on the drive this morning. I know I’d want the Mitsubishi to plough around a field and the X5 as my everyday drive.

And although I live on a farm, there are scant opportunities to go into the rough stuff. Which means there is only one car to choose in the real world. The BMW.

While Apple seem to muck up the iPhone with every new model they release (have you heard about the ‘bendy’ iPhone 6?), BMW just make the X5 better and better with every reincarnation.

I’m already excited about driving it to Ireland next week and I’ve not even sat behind the wheel yet. Sorry Shogun, it’s time to say goodbye…


Mitsubishi Shogun – Always Happier In The Country


Back in London for a meal at the Australian Embassy tonight. My trousers are still busting from yesterday’s afternoon tea at the Milestone Hotel, in Kensington. You haven’t been? It’s like stepping back in time – amazing.

The Shogun and I have trundled up to Maida Vale to catch the Tube down to the Strand later. Oddly I’m parked next to an exact replica – except it’s a three-door Shogun, with wrecked alloys from serving it’s time in the capital.

The Shogun isn’t really cut out for high-speed motorway work. It’s noisy when pushed hard, although it it one of the few places where the inadequate chassis isn’t upsetting the ride quality.

Will I miss the Mitsubishi? Possibly. It gets under your skin after a while. The Shogun has retro charm and the styling is distinctive. I know that it will cope with anything I want it to do off-road and that 3.2 four-cylinder engine will keep going and going for years.

However, although it competes well with the likes of Land Rover and BMW on price, I think I want my SUV to be a little more well-mannered on the road – and visually more appealing both inside and out.


Mitsubishi Shogun – It Was Never A Chelsea Tractor…


You could never accuse the Shogun of being a ‘Chelsea tractor’ – which is exactly where I am today. I saw a posse of them in Gloucestershire on the drive up this morning but not a single one around Sloane Square.

The Mitsubishi was always aimed at the country set and it sold incredibly well because it was robust and great in the mud. The problem now is that even the green weepy brigade prefer a car that can tow a horse box AND be a luxury people-mover too.

Which means that while the Shogun can’t compete with the upmarket Porsche Cayennes and Range Rovers (even though it is much cheaper than both), there are also loads more 4x4s on the market today that cost less than Shogun – and are just as good!

My advice? If you are after a Shogun for its mud-plugging ability, go for the entry-level versions and not the luxurious SG4. Three door versions start at just over £26k, and the five door at £28.5k. Now that’s good value for money.


Mitsubishi Shogun – A Tick List of Minor Ailments


The devil is in the detail and after four days in the Shogun, I’ve compiled a list of minor irritants which potential buyers might want to consider before opening their wallets. None of them are major but they are the sort of issues you only discover after owning the car for a few days – and perhaps not on a ten minute test drive!

Adult passengers sitting in the back can’t get their feet under the front seats unless the electric height adjustment is raised. You can, however, recline the rear seats.

The side-hinged, rear-door is very heavy because the rear wheel is attached to it. It also sounds incredibly ‘tinny’ when you slam it shut. This is not a Land Rover.

Steering is vague at the best of times. There have been a number of ocasions when I have steering into a low speed corner and had to correct my line. It’s obviously more noticeable at higher speeds.

There are an assortment of rattles! Our SG4 is the top spec model but has only covered 17,000 miles. It’s surprised how much noise vibrates from the interior.

The Shogun does not have a DAB radio, which is kind of odd considering it cost £37k.

Mitsubishi Shogun – Time For Manufacturer’s To Be Clearer On Real-World MPG?


I left my wallet in London last week. It’s safe but I won’t see it again until Wednesday and the prospect of being without cash or a Visa card for five days  is something of a nail-biter. Not least, do I have enough fuel in the Shogun to see me through?

The SG4 model is claimed to average 33mpg but just like every other car sold in this country, it’s impossible to get within a gnat’s crochet of the official figures. I don’t entirely blame Mitsubishi for this – it’s just totally misleading for the car buying public when they look at the figures and calculate their own future fuel costs.

The manufacturers would argue that all cars are now tested on the same level playing field for fuel consumption, so it is the fairest method. I would would still say that there has to be a better way to give motorists an accurate figure!

So despite a light right foot since discovering the wallet missing, I’m only achieving only 27.4mpg. And I’d like to think that I can drive fairly economically when required after all these years of testing cars. We are being mislead but nobody seems to want to do anything about it…

Mitsubishi Shogun LWB – Screening Madness of the Shogun Sat Nav


I anticipated that the navigation unit in the Shogun might be ‘tricky’ and I was right. I don’t believe you shouldn’t have to use the handbook to navigate your own way through the system – even the first time you use it. It should be intuitive and user friendly.

Unfortunately, the Mitsubishi requires a lot of scrolling through assorted menus. Today I had three people in the car, a variety of generations from 20s to 50s. First it wasn’t clear how you access the navigation menu itself – not helped by a button saying ‘navigation menu’ which actually guides the user to the navigation settings.

All we wanted to do was input a destination. The key was a button with a tiny flag symbol. It should be simple from here, or so I thought. Unfortunately it wasn’t and it was the 25-year-old who naturally cracked the code, looking on from the back seat.

The navigations screen on the Shogun is large and angled slightly upwards. That means that with the panoramic sunroof open, the reflection renders it totally useless. Thank heavens for the iPhone – at least we found our way home…

Mitsubishi Shogun LWB – A Compromised 4X4 That Lags Behind More Modern Rivals


If you want to ogle some serious, heavy-duty vehicles, head down to Gatcombe Horse Trials. The event is well under way today in Gloucestershire and it’s packed with mud-splattered, off-road exotica.

You might think the Cotswolds is prime territory for Land Rover but Mitsubishi has a strong following here – partly thanks to the company being based in Cirencester. Yep, Waitrose car park is rammed full of them.

Mitsubishi has made subtle changes to the Shogun over the years but it still instantly recognisable. These days the styling looks outdated and even in its most luxurious form, lags behind the rest.

People who buy a Shogun aren’t generally looking for street chic, they want something that will handle a horse box and plenty of go-anywhere ability. That’s where the Shogun scores – boosted by an extensive equipment list that you won’t find on a similarly priced, entry-level Discovery, for example.

Unfortunately, first impressions of the Shogun reveal it feels cumbersome and heavy, with rather vague steering. All that off-road ability means that it’s compromised on-road. And with many of its rivals offering a better combination of both, the big Mitsubishi doesn’t feel like the king of the road anymore…