The BMW X5 M50d

October 19th, 2012 at 4:45 pm by David Farrar

I blogged in August how I ended up driving BMWs on snow for a day. It all came about from NZ asking me if I’d like to review one of their cars. In the nano-second it took to me say yes, I mentioned a ski trip planned for September, and so resisted the temptation to grab a 7 series, going for a X5 M50d.

Above is the promo shot. The one we got through Jeff Gray BMW in Wellington is below.

Five of us travelled up from Wellington in it, meeting four more friends travelling down from Auckland. The X5 fitted in five people easily, and the boot area is actually pretty huge. It fitted in five suitcases plus some extra gear. The roof rack was for the three pairs of skies, two snowboards, ten boots, six poles etc!

So how was the car overall? I’ll get into details down below, but I have to say that far and away it was the safest car I have ever driven. X5s are not cheap, but I now understand why people will pay that much for a car, if safety is a concern for them.

Stats

I’m not someone too fussed on the stats of a car, as I prefer to go on how it actually feels to me. But for those who do like the numbers the X5 is a 3 litre V6 triple-turbo diesel with automatic 8-speed transmission. It has 380 horsepower and 740 Nm torque.

Safety

First thing I noticed in the car was that the speedo wasn’t just on the dashboard but a digital display of your speed is reflected onto the windscreen in front of the driver. This is actually massively helpful as it means you can see your speed, without ever taking you eyes off the road ahead. In a powerful car where you can accidentally exceed the speed limit by cruising, this means you won’t. Any speeding will be quite deliberate.

Also when the GPS is switched on, the instructions for the next turn are also displayed on your windscreen. I love GPS navigators but having to look at them from time to time can be a bit dangerous. When the instructions are directly in your line of sight, it means you never take your eyes off the road ahead.

In terms of actual driving, it handles magnificently. You know how sometimes you may go around a corner a bit too fast and feel the car just struggling for control a bit. The stabilizing technology in the X5s meant that not once did the car feel like it could even potentially be out of control.

Speed

I need to be careful here. When talking about speeds I will say we did 1×9 kms an hour. For the purposes of the NZ Police, the Ministry of Transport, the NZ Transport Agency and Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee x = 0, so we never did  over the tolerance of 109 kms an hour.

Others may insert their own value for x and find they may not be wrong.

One of the best things about the X5 is how safe and easy it makes overtaking. It accelerates from 100 kms per hour to 1×9 kms per hours in barely a second. You fly past the car you wanted to overtake and are back on the correct side of the road so promptly the ongoing traffic is still hundreds of metres away. I’m not suggesting we did any over-taking which we would have not done in other cars – you never want to be on the wrong side of a miscalculation.  What I’m saying, is that the just makes over-taking less of a stress – you just decide it is safe to go, floor it (not literally as otherwise you will take off), and bingo you’re back on your side of the road.

As previously mentioned, it handles corners very well.

Computer

The X5 is not so much a car, as a computer with wheels. In a couple of years with the help of Google, it will probably drive itself. A lot of cars now have cruise control and the like – a very good way to avoid speeding tickets also. They’ve designed it so you can do most of what you want to from the steering wheel, so no fiddling with the dashboard. Also as everything is via the one computer, they play together nicely. If you are playing music from your iPhone, and the GPS has instructions for you it pauses the song while it tells you of the next turn.

The rear view camera that shows you the angle you need to reverse into a tight area is bloody handy. Also it has sensors to warn you if you are both going to reverse or move forward into an object.

Oh yeah, most of the computer commands can be done by voice also. Don’t need that so much when travelling with others, but definitely useful if by yourself. All part of just having that safety focus.

Other features

The heated front seats were bliss after a day’s skiing.

Driving up both Whakapapa and Turoa was a cinch. I’d previously tried an X5 (with snow tyres) on actual snow and ice, so on an actual road (albeit one with some snow) was very unstressful.

After Turoa closed early on the Sunday, we decided to head back via a very scenic route – the Whanganui River Road. Was beautifully scenic, and a few of us are talking about canoeing it over summer. The photo above shows us stopping to enjoy a view. The road was a good one to test the X5 out on – not always sealed, wet and windy.

So was there anything bad about the car? Well the person in the rear centre seat said it was a bit uncomfortable (as that seat often is), and working out how to open the glovebox actually required an engineering degree (or a phone call to BMW – there is a not so obvious button for it). But as you expect with a car in this range, it is hard to find a lot of faults.

Would I personally pay $170,000 for an X5? Don’t be crazy – I’d pay off my mortgage first.

But if in a few years I was earning enough money to afford a car in that price range – my answer would be hell yeah. As I said, I’ve never felt safer in a car – even when driving at 1×9 kms an hour :-)

Tags: ,

40 Responses to “The BMW X5 M50d”

  1. iMP (2,231 comments) says:

    I would never pay that much for a vehicle (even a plane). How can you get $170,000 worth of value out of a car like that, compared to say a great 4×4 worth $5000? Oooh, the thingy goes in and out and this button does this… Not me I’m afraid, mind you, I do live in Chch and our values have all been, well, shaken-up.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Whaleoil (766 comments) says:

    David, I’m glad you didn’t take the 7 series, you can’t even park a Falcon let alone a proper car.

    http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2012/01/farrar-too-far-left/

    And hand in your man card…blogging about not being able to open a glove box is just gay.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. mattyman1010 (32 comments) says:

    This is the worst car review I’ve read in my life. But your a political blogger so I’ll let it slide.
    More practice should do the trick. Ask Beemer for the new 3 series. Stunning vehicle.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Whaleoil (766 comments) says:

    Did they provide blocks so you could reach the pedals?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Cactus Kate (545 comments) says:

    David
    For the good of our two decades of friendship I’m not even going to start on how dreadful this review is.
    Jeremy Clarkson has nothing to fear.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. Whaleoil (766 comments) says:

    Now here is a serious Driving review:

    http://nz.lifestyle.yahoo.com/new-idea/star-watch/article/-/15152511/mp-jacinda-arden-sunday-driving/

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. Viking2 (11,125 comments) says:

    380 hp. That’s what’s under a Kenworths bonnett. So overpowered flying bomb. No wonder it needs controls.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. Colville (2,062 comments) says:

    You would never buy it retail . Your company would lease it for 3 or 4 years with a purchase option after the bulk of the depreciation and all the lease payments had been taken off your taxes.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. TheContrarian (1,073 comments) says:

    Fuck BMW. Try the Jag XF

    http://static.cargurus.com/images/site/2008/08/21/07/52/2009_jaguar_xf_premium__luxury-pic-39700.jpeg

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. Barnsley Bill (974 comments) says:

    Does Rob Fyfe know you are cheating on him David?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. seanmaitland (455 comments) says:

    It always amazes me at people who read blogs and then criticise them by comparing them to articles in newspapers and magazines #getalife

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. big bruv (13,217 comments) says:

    Great vehicle. Just don’t try and take it off road. As a 4WD they suck.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. Manolo (13,327 comments) says:

    C’mon DPF, a man of your means cannot have a mortgage! :D

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. nasska (10,622 comments) says:

    Not much room for the dogs or the fencing gear.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Jimmy Smits (246 comments) says:

    I love how DPF always tries to casually show photos of female friends in an attempt to subtly make people think he’s got chicks all over him.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Cow Cocky (18 comments) says:

    What does The Dog and Lemon Guides say about it? Stick with the Japers…Nissan Navarra 550!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Elaycee (4,297 comments) says:

    Stick with the Japers…Nissan Navarra 550!

    Bwahahahaaaaaaa …. That can only be written by someone who:
    (a) has never owned a BMW
    (b) is never likely to be able to buy a BMW and
    (c) tries to bag the BMW simply out of envy.

    Sad bugger….

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. Nostalgia-NZ (4,898 comments) says:

    Sad bugger… big noters falling off their high heels.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. Griff (6,704 comments) says:

    Toyota land cruiser 70 eats it
    Goes off-road ,carry’s the dog , the fence posts and can be hosed out of sheep shit
    will not break down on a regular basis or cost silly money to service, will retain its value far better and
    And most important will NOT make you look like a cock :grin:

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. jonno1 (79 comments) says:

    Well I’m with DPF on this one. Used to drive Nissan Maximas till they went gay in 2004 so switched to the BMW 7 series (tried Mercs but they’re rubbish – European taxis). BMWs are worth every dollar although granted they depreciate pretty quickly. But hey, you can’t take it with you (the money or the Beemer unfortunately).
    PS I’m not a fan of SUVs of any description though.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. Kevin (1,122 comments) says:

    Jimmy if you can read that into a photo I think you are in serious need of some company yourself.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. MikeMan (171 comments) says:

    David

    V6 looks like this

    ooo
    ooo

    Inline 6 (Which the X5 M50d has) looks like this

    oooooo

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    It has 380 horsepower and 740 Nm torque.

    Really? is that a typo?

    I’m pretty sure the Titanic didn’t have 740nm of torque!

    I just checked, it’s no typo, it does it with 3 turbo chargers that kick in at progressively higher revs.

    How the hell do they stop it spinning the wheels?

    However, I pitty the poor bastard that buys one of these second hand thinking he’s ‘all that’, the only thing he will be is pissed off at having to fix the damned thing every five minutes. I warned my friend not to buy a BMW second hand but he wouldn’t listen, and it started going wrong very soon after. To change the seat cover you have to take off the front wheels and remove the gearbox! :D

    There is a reason that BMWs end up cheaper than Toyota’s second hand………….

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. jonno1 (79 comments) says:

    @Colville (6.07) – you may be overlooking the FBT costs.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. Cow Cocky (18 comments) says:

    “Bwahahahaaaaaaa …. That can only be written by someone who:
    (a) has never owned a BMW
    (b) is never likely to be able to buy a BMW and
    (c) tries to bag the BMW simply out of envy.

    Sad bugger….”

    Um…The BMW X5 M50D at $168k, I have calculated that I could afford 71 of them…perhaps a few more if they provided me with a bulk buy discount.

    akshully, the BMW X5 M50D reminds me of John Keys National Government: All appearance and bluster but underneath no substance and full of bull shit.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. Cow Cocky (18 comments) says:

    Elaycee, thats the problem with you townies, you spend all of your money on wanky status symbols while us farmers make all of NZ’s foreign exchange. You add to both germany’s surplus and our current account deficit. good work Elaycee. sad.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. Elaycee (4,297 comments) says:

    Elaycee, thats the problem with you townies, you spend all of your money on wanky status symbols while us farmers make all of NZ’s foreign exchange.

    @Cow Cocky – the problem with you leftards is that you want to tell me how I should spend my money. Well, let me put it this way… Get stuffed! If I want another BMW, I’ll buy one. I’ve owned two different models over the years and as such I know they’re good. I’ve never owned a Nissan Navara. Neither have I owned a Lada Cossack. But I know a shit cart when I see it and its probably appropriate that you have one crouched in your shed. Most likely with a faded Greenpeace sticker on the bumper…

    I doubt you have any serious capital worth at all. People with a few bob behind them don’t feel a need to wank on about it…. I suspect you’re one of the morons who walks past the Ferrari dealership, looks at the latest model and tries to console his pangs of envy by saying “Nah – I prefer my Navara”…

    You add to both germany’s surplus and our current account deficit.

    And how do you think your Nissan Navara was purchased in the first place, Cow Cocky?

    Newsflash: It came from Japan! I’m sure you can work out the financial trail….

    Pot. Kettle. Black.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    Elaycee, BMW’s are a status symbol, end of story.

    If you feel all superior with all your gadgets and buttons, good for you, but most people will see you as someone with more money than sense.

    When one of these things drives by, you can be sure most people call it for what it is, a wanker on wheels.

    In a country with a 100kmhr speed limit, these things make no sense, my Toyota can do (in practical terms) 95% of what this thing does, the autobahns in Germany may be a different story, but we aren’t in Germany are we.

    And when they age even slightly they develop absolutely shocking reliability.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. Nostalgia-NZ (4,898 comments) says:

    ‘People with a few bob behind them don’t feel a need to wank on about it…’

    Have to love the irony, right overhead.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. Cow Cocky (18 comments) says:

    Elaycee
    “People with a few bob behind them don’t feel a need to wank on about it”
    I FULLY agree with this statement Elaycee, so they dont have a need to drive wanky status symbols…you said it.
    and in terms of our current account defecit: Navarra STX 550 $67k versus BMW X5 $168k = Current account deficit improved by $101k by that choice, then add on the $10 billion dairy revenue per annum, the best thing you could do for NZ is to pack your bags and go to Aus. By the way I’m not necessarily Left, but David Parker is making more sense when it comes to looking at ways of sorting out our monetary policy than hopeless “do nothing, see what happens’ Bill English.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. thebluetrotsky (3 comments) says:

    I presume you got paid for this ad….and if you didn’t, who got the free ride baby?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. Left Right and Centre (2,819 comments) says:

    $170 thousand? Couldn’t you get a secondhand Ferrari or something really cool for that?

    Shit… there’s quite a few bloody cool vehicles… hundreds… to consider with that kind of cash… and all of them more appealing to me than a boring beamer. Mind you if I had $170K I could consider an owner driver contract.

    Can you turn the windscreen speedo display off? I’m thinking that could actually be distracting (irritating) if it’s constantly there in the bottom of my eye line. Set the cruise control. Anyway… I read that folks with a good speed camera/cop detector don’t have that problem. I wonder how fast the ‘x’ is in 1×9?

    I just can’t get excited about heated seats. I want to know if the heat seats have a temp control. I think you reach a point with new cars now where a lot of the luxuries are a bit pointless. Self driving cars…. now that’s brilliant. Frees the driver and they gain all of the driving time to do something else. And something more interesting. Geez… self driving trucks and buses will be next.

    Can you set the seats to chill in summer? What about massaging seats?

    And here’s a mystery…. why did Jeff Gray BMW Wellington pick the Kaiwhara location for a flash dealership? What a shtihole part of town that is… in the middle of fucking nowhere surrounded by rundown warehouses, hardware timberyards and low rent businesses, the kind of place where you buy coffee from a shop you can tow with a vehicle….. hehehehe. You’d think they’d been sentenced to go there rather than choosing to.

    It’s interesting all of the social connotations of vehicle choice. So.. if you buy a new BMW you’re a wanker straight away as it’s a status symbol.

    I wonder exactly where the line is between universally acceptable vehicle and wanker? And can one person be merely a wanker, while another is a ginormous wanker? Like BMI measurement for weight… healthy, overweight and obese? Only it would be the BMW measurement. Normal, wanker and total wanker. If your annual income is $65K and you own a $170K car, you’d fall in the ‘gargantuan wanker’ range on the BMW scale for eg. And so if you are Owen Glenn driving a $170K vehicle…. you’d fall in the right range for income and people would applaud your humbleness for not riding around in helicopters or a chauffeur driven fleet of gold-plated stretch Hummers.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. Elaycee (4,297 comments) says:

    Shunda: You appear to forget that I can spend my money as I see fit. And pondering what other people may think of my purchases (apart from SWMBO), doesn’t matter. I choose to live in a nice area. I choose to drive nice cars. I choose to run a business. I choose to take holidays where the family decides. But because we have earned it and we are paying for our purchases, its our business only.

    @Cow Cocky: Careful, your envy is showing again. But if your lifetime ambition is to own a Nissan Navara – good on you. They need to sell them somewhere, I suppose. But you don’t need to bag BMW because your own sights are aimed somewhere near your feet.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. Johnboy (14,911 comments) says:

    Anyone that buys a Beemer is a fuckwit with delusions of grandeur and a huge wallet for maintenance.

    Stick to a fuckin Toyota unless you want to be seen to be as a real poseur amongst your useless wanker mates! :)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. Nostalgia-NZ (4,898 comments) says:

    What about a black and white Toyota with a magpie call ‘Fill’ on the bonnet Johnboy, brand new and all shiny, how much would you pay for that?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    Shunda: You appear to forget that I can spend my money as I see fit.

    You can flush your money down the toilet for all I care, but I will call that stupid, as I will someone buying a $170K vehicle as a status symbol.

    And pondering what other people may think of my purchases (apart from SWMBO), doesn’t matter.

    What utter bullshit.

    Oh you care, you care a great deal, which is why you are here right now lashing out and defending your position so aggressively.
    It matters! oh it matters :)

    I choose to live in a nice area. I choose to drive nice cars. I choose to run a business. I choose to take holidays where the family decides. But because we have earned it and we are paying for our purchases, its our business only.

    I don’t give a rats arse what you and your family do, but be sure of this, when you pull up beside me and my family at the red lights we will relish the chance to play “spot the wankers” and for this, I am extremely grateful! :D

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. Johnboy (14,911 comments) says:

    Nobody with a brain buys a fucking BMW. Same as nobody with a brain buys a Peugeot or a Renault.

    Wankers buy them. Noticed that Jigaboos are buying lots of the second hand jobs from Singapore etc.

    I rest my case your honour!!! :)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  38. Johnboy (14,911 comments) says:

    Intelligent folk buy new or near new Japper crappers. Run the fuck out of them and flick them off early and get a new Japper crapper.

    Wankers buy shit like Holdens and Falcoons or Beemers etc.

    Dumb cunts! :)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  39. V (668 comments) says:

    What is this politically correct car reviews?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  40. Elaycee (4,297 comments) says:

    @Shunda : Thanks for proving my original point – people who bag brands such as BMW have most likely never owned one. Your stated reaction to the people owning one, is simply an admission of envy. But thanks for sharing that – please be sure to toot when you pull alongside so our family can recognise you.

    And rest assured – we don’t give a stuff what you think about us. :D

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.