BMW X5 – How Many Owners Actually Go Off-Road?


Just back from Stow. A man in the town centre wanted to talk X5 with me but he turned his nose up when I explained this was the new, rear-wheel drive version, not a four-wheel drive.

No idea why he got so uppety. I reckon less than one per cent of X5 drivers actually use the standard 4×4 ability of the car. It’s a road machine and is exceptionally good at it too.

With CO2 emissions of 149g/km and starting prices around £43,000, the 25d is really the model all sensible X5 buyers should be looking at. OK, it might be a tad less grippy on a wet road but how fast do you want to drive your SUV anyway?

There’s plenty of torque available for overtaking too. It’s obviously not as quick as the 3.0-litre diesel model but just try the 25d – I think you might like it…

Sunday – Nitpicking


Jeremy It’s not easy picking holes in an off-roader as good as the Discovery. Some UK car magazines now say the Hyundai Santa Fe (tested on Car Couture earlier this year) is the better machine – it’s certainly more affordable. But when it comes to grunt, secondhand value and all round ability, the Land Rover has the edge.

So what’s not to like about the Discovery? Well, styling is probably the most obvious. I actually think the shape is uncluttered and sharp but parked next to a Hyundai or a BMW X5, it has already started to look a little dated.

Then there is the fuel consumption. The V6 engine produces 255bhp and really gives the Discovery plenty of shove but it also soaks up the diesel. Officially, the Discovery returns 32mpg in the combined cycle but you will have to tread very lightly on the accelerator to get above 30mpg in the real world.

Other faults? Well, both Jessica and I constantly bash the paddle gearshifters on the steering column with our knuckles, which instantly puts the Discovery into manual mode when it is not required. The air con fan is rather harsh for a luxury vehicle and flattening the centre row of seats can be awkward.

Then I start to struggle!  This is a great machine – you pay a lot for the pleasure of owning one but the Discovery is still the one to beat for my money.


Wednesday – Fishing For Compliments

wheelJeremy Why is it fisherman drive weird cars? I shouldn’t put them all in the same pool but walking around my favourite lake this morning, there was an oddball collection of vehicles surrounding the Range Rover. Think Mitsubishi Pajero, 4×4 Nissan vanette and the obligatory Subaru Impreza import.

Quite what people get out of watching a lifeless float on a grey, April day is beyond me but when I returned to the Evoque later, two of them were admiring my wheels instead. By that I mean the fully chromed, 20-inch alloys that come as standard on the SD4 Dynamic.

I’m not a huge fan of sparkly wheels – even chrome spokes look naff on an E-Type – but I am starting to warm to the Evoque’s set of four. You would expect them on a BMW X5 but on a more introverted Range Rover, it doesn’t smack too much of horrifying bling.

Maybe it is because the Evoque sits so low, or possibly the Firenze red paintwork but I’m with the fishermen in living them.