Here at Wheels we do a lot of performance testing on a range of cars. Anything and everything needs to be put up against its manufacturer’s claim.
One week it is the Lotus Exige 410 with our fastest manual 0-100km/h time of 3.9 seconds, and the next it’s a Suzuki Swift or a diesel dual cab that can’t crack 10 seconds to the all-important marker.
So stay with us when we mention the fact that the humble BMW X5 xDrive 30d recorded a 0-100km/h time of 6.6sec, a tenth slower than its claim, before going on to cover the quarter mile in 14.8sec at 147.4km/h.
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Yes, in a world where the next Mercedes-AMG A45 S will dip below 4.0sec, that isn’t a crazy-fast group of performance figures. However, context is vital.
Remember, the $112,990 X5 is in no way marketed as a sporting diesel variant, there’s the M50d for that. Yet, the straight-line numbers place the TwinPower 195kW/620Nm inline-six diesel among esteemed company.
For example, the affordable pinnacle in terms of hot hatches, the Hyundai i30 N, reaches 100km/h in a claimed 6.2sec. However, sister publication MOTOR tested the i30 N repeatedly down the strip with a best of 6.24sec, admitting that the average run was more like 6.5sec.
In contrast, with the standard launch control system active (yes, the 30d has launch control), you simply press the brakes as hard as you can, wait for the 3.0-litre’s revs to build as the calipers clamp down, and then release the left pedal when you’re ready to go. And unlike the Hyundai, which can be tricky with its overzealous traction control, the X5 will do it on just about any tarmac.
Admittedly, the fuss-free affair is less exciting than trying to master the six-speed manual i30 N. There’s no rowing through the gears, timing shifts optimally or balancing wheelspin with revs. The reality is that the rear-biased xDrive system takes care of traction and the exemplary ZF eight-speed auto shifts appropriately when in Sport mode.
Of course, the X5 30d isn’t the fastest diesel SUV you can buy. The likes of the Audi SQ7, BMW M50d, Jaguar F-Pace 30d, Range Rover Velar and Mercedes-Benz GLE400d are all examples of other six-cylinder diesel SUVs that charge harder to 100km/h. Even the X3 30d claims 5.8sec to 100km/h.
However, it doesn’t take away from the fact that we’re in an era where an unassuming, 2.1-tonne diesel kid carrier can at least keep up, if not outrun, numerous hot hatches