BMW today released details of the new X5 "Sport Activity Vehicle" (that's SAV to you and me). The new model, which will be on sale in the United States on November 24, will come with the option of two engines: a 350-horsepower V-8 for the 4.8i; and a 3.0-liter in-line 6-cylinder for the 3.0si. Cosmetically, the new X5 looks more aerodynamic than the outgoing model, with some front-end styling accents borrowed from the X3. The new X5 is more than seven inches longer than its predecessor, perhaps due to the introduction of an optional third row of seating.
Notable performance updates include active steering, which adjusts responsiveness according to the vehicle's speed, and AdaptiveDrive, a combination of active roll stabilization and electronic damping control. AdpativeDrive will use a technology called FlexRay to handle data transfer between the car's various driver-assist systems. All new X5s will also feature the model-defining xDrive all-wheel drive technology, which uses a center differential controlled by a multiplate clutch to transfer power to the wheels with most traction.
For the transmission, the new X5 incorporates a six-speed automatic Steptronic box with an electronic shifter, enabling the driver to select gears sequentially by hand.
Cabin tech includes a combination of features that we've seen on other recent BMW models: iDrive becomes the central control interface for navigation and entertainment, with the inclusion of six programmable buttons for those not interested in the twist and shout frustration associated with using the dial to turn on the stereo or set the air temperature. The new X5 will come with a standard in-dash CD player hooked up to a 205-watt 12-speaker audio system. Options will include a glove box- mounted CD changer (cumbersome, but at least it's better than the tape deck in our), Sirius satellite radio, a BMW interface for iPod, and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, which from the pictures looks like it pops up from the central console rather than being ceiling- or headrest-mounted.
No details on pricing have been announced yet.
Images: BMW press photography