herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

5 Star

Boom to bust ... at least we have the legacy of the BMW 5 series and the iconic X5, writes Ian Mallon

IT MIGHT seem a little vulgar to discuss top of the range BMWs in the week that’s in it ... but here goes anyway.

Come to think of it, there’s probably been no better time to talk about two of the most iconic cars of the boom than at a time when the nation is stuck in reverse, and sliding into that €40 billion black hole.

Why not use the two favourite carriages of the Celtic Tiger generation to escape back to a bygone era of loadsamoney and loadsabling.

A time when any self-respecting Yummy Mummy wouldn’t leave home without her X5, or when the BMW 5 Series was as common as Dublin taxis.

Bloody hell … at one stage a numberof Dublin taxis were BMW 5 Series.

Well, here we are at rock bottom and what has BMW done to tease us?

They’ve introduced a beautiful new facelift on their X5 and launched a brand new 5. What a way to lift the gloom of the past few days – even if you spent that time scrambling around the garden shed looking for buttons and old nails to use as legal tender.

First up is the 5 Series, and a car which I was eager to see just what the Germans had up their sleeves to improve this one.

The result is a masterpiece in design, a sleek reinvention of what was already one of the best looking executive cars in history.

The 2010 version is extraordinary, and fitting for a car whose previous generation had such an impact on Irish buyers.

The new size and shape makes the new 5 look a little like a large 3 Series, or small 7, and this is in no way a criticism. It’s new styling could well wrestle back the title of Executive Car of the Year from the Jaguar XF, which has won it for the past three years.

Inside the Beemer everything is gloriously similar to the previous version with all those consoles and control switches exactly where they should be.

If the BMW 5 is perfection improved, the X5 is even more. The stunning SUV is back. Big and bulky like before with all that aggressive arrogance that the X5 is famous for. I must declare an interest here – the BMW X5 is one of my most favourite cars in the world.

I have always been besotted by the X5 in all its forms. It is the most aggressive looking super SUV on the road and, it is the prettiest with the exception of the Range Rover.

It’s latest guise a little extra sleekness appears to have been added, taking nothing away from the gnarly characteristics.

Like the 5 Series the X5 comes with that familiar onboard package of slick central console and a mix of digital and analogue inside. I just love it.

Mine was a 4 litre diesel, and was extremely pacy, which handled beautifully, and was one of the most complete drives of the year.

The BMW 5 Series starts at €41,750 for the 2.0Litre 520D (leather as standard) and the BMW X5 begins at €76,580.

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