'Softroaders' off-road? or, X5 abuse

klutch

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Finished with the Q7 and its terrible time off the beaten path, and it seems like BMW is on a beige kick; the 535xi they gave me was the same color. At least the X5 has a nice, chocolate interior instead of the ghastly white on the 5-series.


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If you opt for the 4.8i, this will be a common sight. I think I averaged 17L/100km's this trip.

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Anyways, the X5 more than held its own. That 4.8 really hustles on the highway, and has a nice, gutteral tone to it. Throttle is a little twitchy, steering a touch heavy at low speeds, but great overall package, very well built and well appointed...but then again, at $95,000 as tested, it bloody well should be.

In the mud, the X5 really proved its worth. Ground clearance wasn't too much of an issue, but it couldn't necessarily go everywhere the Jeep Rubicon (leading) could go. Adaptive suspension with ride height adjustment would be a welcome addition to the X5 family. The X5 tracked straight, X-Drive working its wizardry, without much commotion from the tires. Even in some nasty mud pits there were no issues with traction; the m+s rated tires certainly helped. Hillclimbing was a non-issue with the descent control. Bloody parking radar and seatblet warning chimes were incessantly annoying; pushing the button to turn them off only works until you stop or put it in reverse. Panoramic moonroof is great for viewpoints, filming, and guidance from your spotter when you work the thing into snow/ice/mud ruts so deep you can't see out the window or open your door. Anyways, I'm beat, so I'll post vids tomorrow.
 
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klutch

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Yeah, that's right... its a BMW.

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Hardcore at heart?

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Or Rhode's scholar in fatigues?

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NooDle

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I always found it strange that the TG guys classified this as a softroader. From what I see it's capable offroad. Sure it's no Range Rover but it's hardly a car that only looks like a 4WD car but gets stuck in a small puddle...
 

Meio

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I always found it strange that the TG guys classified this as a softroader. From what I see it's capable offroad. Sure it's no Range Rover but it's hardly a car that only looks like a 4WD car but gets stuck in a small puddle...

You say that as if Range Rovers are Super-hardcore offroading 4x4s.
 

NooDle

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You say that as if Range Rovers are Super-hardcore offroading 4x4s.

That is what top gear makes me think.
Having never driven one, I can't tell

I have driven an X5 and on the offroady bits I covered in it (few and far inbetween), it kicked ass

but... I don't have anything to compare it to
 

Blind_Io

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I'd like to hear more about the trails themselves. Many softroader reviews talk about "off roading" and only see improved gravel or logging roads. What type of ascents did it climb? How deep was that mud? Was the ground slick rock, packed soil, or loose stone scrabble?

To be honest, most the grit on that car looks like dust and road grime, not the splatter of mud being slung off the tires or landing on the car after blasting through.
 

ruuman

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I'm obviously going to defend the range rover at this point being a land rover nut. They are more capable than defender and many other solid axle old school counterparts. Bad part is the complexity of the thing and the fact it's a bit too heavy. But it's up there with the best of modern offroaders.

Blind lo is completely correct about peoples misconceptions about "off road", great example was the 5th gear range rover/panda 4x4 in a quarry race. That was a graded track and yet they made it out to be a huge challenge.

Easiest way to spot a true off roader are low range box, good ground clearance and 4x4 is standard and not a 2K option to add later. If it's missing any of those vital ingredients it's just not going to cut the mustard in the long term.
 

klutch

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I'd like to hear more about the trails themselves. Many softroader reviews talk about "off roading" and only see improved gravel or logging roads. What type of ascents did it climb? How deep was that mud? Was the ground slick rock, packed soil, or loose stone scrabble?

To be honest, most the grit on that car looks like dust and road grime, not the splatter of mud being slung off the tires or landing on the car after blasting through.


Heheh, I had a feeling you'd chime in.

It wasn't some poncy grassy field like you'd see in Top Gear or 5th Gear qualifying as 'off-road'. The picture you see is an access road to a forestry service trail. We couldn't get too far into the bush because of the snow; they weren't actively logging, so it hadn't been plowed. We were dealing mainly with ruts about 2-3 feet deep, mud about 2 feet deep, and generally messy stuff that anything without AWD would get stuck. Temperatures were hovering just above freezing, so the ground was thawing and was pretty slick, but still with lots of loose-packed snow. I hope to have some video of some of the gnarly bits soon. The dirt in the area is all a very fine silt, as we were in the bottom of a canyon...the stuff had dried on by the end of the day, and proved a real whore to get off.

Regardless, it was more 'off-road' than I'd venture to guess than the vast majority of X5's around here would go. And keep in mind; its nearly 6-figures of BMW that we didn't want to (completely) destroy. The exhaust was...a little misshapen when we got back.
 
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D-Fence

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Actually, X5, Touareg and Cayenne are pretty good offroad (for being a softroader, of course)

[youtube]http://youtube.com/watch?v=Viuefldk2cA[/youtube]
[youtube]http://youtube.com/watch?v=oN4q1Uo4Yfo&feature=related[/youtube]
 

Crazyjeeper

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I would not consider the Touareg and Cayenne as soft roaders. They have low range gear boxes and locking differentials.
 

Shawn

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Where exactly was this trail klutch? I see the car has Ontario plates... and you're doing car reviews now or what? :?
 

klutch

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Yeah, the Touareg/Cayenne both have gearboxes and adjustable ride height; that definitely helps their case. The X5, sadly, doesn't have that option.


Shawn - the trail was out in Squamish, about 45 minutes from downtown, and yeah, I'm reviewing cars now, its proving to be quite a bit of fun. Lots of the cars from the press fleet have Ontario plates, but lots from BC as well. My neighbor appears to be in the same business; they have a new car every week, Ontario plates, and all the cars are '08 models. They even had the 335xi that I had, albeit a week earlier. Bastards..
 

Shawn

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Wow, that's cool. Where do you publish the reviews?
 

No Boss

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Shawn - the trail was out in Squamish, about 45 minutes from downtown, and yeah, I'm reviewing cars now, its proving to be quite a bit of fun. Lots of the cars from the press fleet have Ontario plates, but lots from BC as well. My neighbor appears to be in the same business; they have a new car every week, Ontario plates, and all the cars are '08 models. They even had the 335xi that I had, albeit a week earlier. Bastards..

Wow, that's cool. Where do you publish the reviews?

And more importantly, how do you get a job like that?!
 

klutch

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Heheh, lots of luck. And an english minor. And riding bikes with the editor.


I'm only just getting into it now; the magazine was formerly focused on motorbikes, but began a sister publication with cars about two months ago. Response from the manufacturers has been overwhelming, so the test schedule is nearly full for the next 8 months. This works in my favour; I'll soon have a lot more independence to pick and choose which cars I want, and when. As of right now, I'm only writing minor reviews and flogging the cars during the photoshoots...which isn't bad at all.
 
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Shawn

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^ To think Clarkson probably started out like you... you could be the next Tony Whitney (I hate that dude).
 

Necx0

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You have the job I will have one day klutch. Therefore I am very envious, but my time will come.
 

Hidden_Hunter

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I'd like to hear more about the trails themselves. Many softroader reviews talk about "off roading" and only see improved gravel or logging roads. What type of ascents did it climb? How deep was that mud? Was the ground slick rock, packed soil, or loose stone scrabble?

To be honest, most the grit on that car looks like dust and road grime, not the splatter of mud being slung off the tires or landing on the car after blasting through.

When my parents did one of BMW's advanced driving school courses they showed what the x5 is capable of, aparantly it can do very steep gradients quite well but the downside is a loss of driver control because most of it is done through electronics. They got a dvd when they did the course that shows the various things they did, so i'll check that out for any x5 footage.

*This was a the south carolina factory, the rest of the 2 days had them in the rest of the range including M cars :p
 
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