BMW X5 – Will The New Mini Discovery Knock The X5 Off Its Perch?


So who decided it was time for the rain to start? And who was it who reminded the logistics people at BMW to come and pick the X5 up?

When a motoring journalists gets to 5pm without a call, you kind of expect to keep the test car forever – well, at least until the following morning anyway.

I’m going to miss the X5. It’s a bit bling, a bit ‘Chelsea tractor’ but what a great SUV. Even without four-wheel drive, the 25d is quite some car.

Well, it is until I drove being a new ‘mini’ Land Rover Discovery on trade plates earlier today. This is the car that will replace the ageing Freelander. It’s the only SUV I’ve coveted over the X5 this week and it’s going to hit BMW sales hard.

So, X5 25d or mini Disco? The choice is yours. Two exceptional cars…

BMW X5 – Check Your Reg For A Top Gear Cock-up!


I’ve been out to check the registration on the X5 – just in case it has any reference to Argentina. I can’t believe the Argentines were unhappy with the FKL reg on a Porsche, claiming it was a reference to the Falklands War in 1982.

I’m driving in to Wales later and I don’t want to be stoned by angry Welshmen who might think the X5 number refers to the last time we beat them in the Six Nations rugby tournament. Could be tricky…

Of course, it will be fascinating to see if the registration of the Porsche was changed before it was flown out to Argentina for filming. If it was, then Clarkson and the team could be administered the last rites. I’m sure a rash of tabloid hacks are trying to establish that as I write.

A world without Top Gear? Well, perhaps the time has come for a change. It’s a tired format that is so staged I lost interest years ago…

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…

BMW X5 – Quite Possibly The Best SUV Money Can Buy?


There are some cars I can’t wait to wave goodbye – others I want to keep. As much as I moan about SUVs clogging up our cities (so often driven by people who couldn’t drive off-road if their life depended on it) the X5 is quite simply, the dog’s doodahs.

I’ve clocked up 800 miles in six days, driving to Belfast and back to see my pals around Strangford Lough and remember what the Cotswolds must have been like 50 years ago. Untouched and not spoilt.

You get to know a car pretty well driving that sort of distance. Especially at 3am in the morning, when the M6 is shut and you are in a bizarre traffic jam with 1000 lorry drivers.

There hasn’t been a moment over the last week when I haven’t wanted to own this car. It sips fuel, looks great, has plenty of performance and is just so well built.

I’m a Land Rover man through and through but the X5, even in two-wheel drive form, gives the Range Rover Sport a serious run for the money…

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…