BMW X5 – How To Lose A Filling On A Motorbike

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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…

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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…

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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?

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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

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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…

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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

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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.