MOTORS REVIEW: ‘M’ is for mind boggling

BMW X5 xDrive M50d
BMW X5 xDrive M50d
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BMW’s X5 has been diverting people out of rival 4x4s since 2009, and the third generation model is an impressive step forward in every direction.

But that’s not enough for some people, and BMW’s relentless pursuit of new niches means there’s an X5 with a very different flavour. The M50d gets to wear the coveted ‘M’ badge which in BMW-speak means very high performance, yet it’s also powered by a diesel engine. Surely that can’t be right?

Don’t doubt it for a second. It may only have 3.0-litre under the bonnet, but the six-cylinder diesel engine has three – yes three – turbochargers in a world when two is already quite a lot. The net result is mind boggling; there’s 381bhp on offer, but more impressive is the 545lb.ft of torque, which is more than the M5 supersaloon. The X5 M50d is not a small car by any means and weighs a fraction off two tonnes, yet when you’re behind the wheel it is seemingly capable of routinely ignoring physics and accelerating as if it’s fleeing the apocalypse. Accelerate and you can hustle it along at pace that shouldn’t be possible.

The X5 makes the most of its size when it comes to accommodating passengers and luggage.

Those in the front have a superb view out with the much-loved high driving position, and the seats have a multitude of adjustments and are very comfortable. It’s the same in the back, although the central seat is less comfortable than the outer two. The boot is also nice and big with a handy underfloor storage area.

The third generation X5 is a car that knows its audience very well.

It has a strong image, and the more sensible diesel versions are easy to live with too. This M50d is much more of a style statement and not for everyone or every budget, but it is fast, comfortable, fun to drive and luxurious. That’s a collection of abilities that is hard to resist.