Giveth and Taketh: Driving the BMW G05 X5 xDrive40i M Sport LCI

Life Cycle Impulse, or LCI, is BMW’s terminology for what most of us would commonly refer to as a facelift. However, labelling each LCI as a mere facelift today would be a disservice to BMW engineers. With each update, they not only enhance the aesthetics for a more striking visual presence but also improve technology, dynamics, and, if we’re fortunate, an increase in power.

Suffice it to say, LCIs usually symbolize the culmination of each specific model’s engineering and design prowess. However, this time, intriguingly, such is no longer the case. With Singapore’s latest OMV rules taking effect early this year, imposing an additional 100% tax on cars like the X5, BMW’s latest luxury SUV for the Singapore market is now an amalgamation of giveth and taketh.

Too busy to read everything? Here are the 5 key takeaways for the BMW X5 xDrive40i M Sport LCI

  1. First unveiled in 2018, the G05 is the fourth (and current) generation of the X5, five years on, it has been updated for the 2024 model year.

  2. The most significant change to the 2024 model year is the inclusion of a 48V mild hybrid system. Bumping power up to 381 hp and 540Nm, an increase of 41 horses and 90Nm. Despite the added weight from its new electrification systems, the xDrive40i still manages a 100km/h sprint in a brisk 5.5 seconds.

  3. Visually, the LCI benefits from a slew of aesthetic updates to its grill, headlights, taillights as well as front and rear bumpers. Giving the already imposing X5 an extra dose of visual presence. Inside,

  4. Inside the cabin, the LCI’ed X5 is the latest beneficiary of BMW’s curved digital display first seen on the iX. made up of a 12.3-inch information display behind the steering wheel and a control display with a screen diagonal of 14.9 inches, it is a fast and responsive screen, although, certain aspects of the user interface remain slightly fussy to use whilst on the move.

  5. While the new X5 brings with it a host of new updates, Singapore’s updated OMV tax system, unfortunately, rears its ugly head here as the X5 has lost a number of features we’ve grown accustomed to on a car costing well over half a million. Because, in an effort to stave off even higher taxes, the LCI has to make do without BMW’s fantastic heads-up display, air suspension, adaptive cruise control and rear climate controls. The X5’s third row of seats are also now optional extras instead of coming as standard.

Let’s begin with the ‘giveth.’ With electrification now firmly integrated into the BMW family, the latest X5’s powerplants have received a 48V mild hybrid electric system (MHEV), resulting in increased power across the board. For the xDrive40i, this translates to a 41-horsepower boost, bringing the total to 381, along with an additional 90Nm of torque, reaching a total of 540Nm.

While the introduction of the MHEV system has added a slight weight increase (2035kg compared to 2165kg), the extra power from electrification has left the acceleration figures largely unchanged, with a sprightly and creamy smooth 5.5 seconds to the 100km/h mark.

Visually, the X5 has undergone a series of revisions. It begins with a redesigned front grille, slightly larger and sporting a more angular design, complemented by new slim headlight units featuring arrow-shaped daytime driving light elements. In our M Sport-equipped model, the front bumpers have also been reshaped, introducing more pronounced shapes and surfaces.

Moving along the sides, M-specific side skirts and Shadowline trim accentuate the X5’s shoulder lines, directing our attention to the redesigned taillights, which now sport a revised graphical treatment.

As part of the X5’s M Sport package, we now also see coloured brake calipers behind our car’s 21-inch M Sport alloys,

Inside the cabin, one of the most significant changes for the LCI X5 becomes evident with an entirely new dashboard layout that integrates BMW’s elegant curved digital display, powered by BMW Operating System 8 and includes an updated BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant. The heart of the interior redesign for the new BMW X5, this display is made up of a 12.3-inch information display behind the steering wheel and a 14.9-inch control display.

Before we delve into the ‘taketh’ aspect, it’s essential to acquaint ourselves with the enduring qualities of the X5 from its previous iteration, beginning with its dynamics. Although the X5 may not shrink around you as say an X3 would, it’s still surprising how effortlessly one can manoeuvre this 2-tonne Munich machine through town with its light steering, excellent visibility, and nimble dynamics defying its Teutonic nature. Progress through the wonderfully tuned ZF 8-speed is as always, smooth, although it can be somewhat hesitant to respond to brutal inputs of throttle, necessitating a slight delay before delivering full thrust with a mighty dollop of torque raising the bonnet towards the horizon.

Handling all of the X5’s footwork is an adaptive M Sport suspension setup with variable dampers on M Sport springs. One thing you’ll notice right away is that the ride tends to lean more toward the ‘sporty’ side, even in full Comfort mode. While this setup greatly adds to the X5’s playful nature, it might be a tad too “chatty” for those seeking a more plush experience.

Also retained, is the X5’s wonderful split tailgate function, opening up to swallow 650 litres of cargo, fold the seats down and that load space expands up to a very usable 1,870 litres for those occasional trips to the furniture store aided by the X5’s 360 parking camera which has also been kept for the LCI.

Regrettably, despite its many (and there are, many) merits, the latest X5 is burdened with several shortcomings that are beyond the manufacturer’s control. This predicament is a direct result of Singapore’s recent OMV and ARF tax revisions, which came into effect earlier this year, pushing the X5 into the highest 320% tax bracket. Consequently, BMW has had to omit a range of features that we’ve come to expect from a luxury SUV priced at over half a million dollars.

Right from the start, the absence of features like BMW’s impressive heads-up display and adaptive cruise control becomes immediately noticeable as we take the driver’s seat. Additionally, rear passengers no longer have access to separate climate controls, and the previous iteration’s standard third row of seats is now available as optional extras. Once in motion, the harsher nature of the ride also underscores the omission of the earlier car’s self-levelling air suspension system.

To wrap this up, while the arrival of an LCI is often greeted with anticipation, promising more than its predecessor – more style, more technology and more power. An unexpected paradox now emerges as we journey through the revisions of the 2024 BMW X5. Becoming a story of ‘giveth and taketh’ – The BMW X5’s evolution, meant to usher in more, has paradoxically left us with less.

Singapore’s new tax regulations have cast a long shadow, and even though this X5 now boasts additional power and added features, it’s a peculiar conundrum. With a shift towards efficiency to navigate the new tax landscape, the 2024 X5 ends up making sacrifices that leave us pining for the richness of its predecessor.

But for those who value an equally enjoyable driving experience alongside enhanced features and technology, perhaps the answer doesn’t lie in a facelifted X5, but rather in the BMW iX.

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