Friday, 20 December 2019


I recently traded-in my 65,000 mile 6-year old BMW X3 for a 17,000-mile 3-year-old version of the same model. I have to say that some of the improvements on the newer car are most worthwhile, and I am not sorry for making the upgrade... though next time will I go for a Jaguar...???


My new(er) X3,has had to go back to the dealer shortly after my purchase because the tailgate wasn't closing properly. I didn't expect to get my car back for a few days - so I will be staying a couple of  nights at The Old Bakery, which is close to the BMW dealer in Inverness.. I knew about this tailgate issue with my new(er) car when I took delivery, so - the upside is - as 'compensation for my inconvenience', I have been given a top-of-the-range courtesy car while my own car is being fixed. 

This means -  standing outside here just now, is a brand new  BMW X5 30D M-Sport with under 1000 miles on the clock. It is a dealership demonstrator, so is loaded with options. I ran it through the configurator, and with all its fitted extras, the retail price comes in at a tad under £70,000...!!

It has a 6-cylinder 3-litre euro-6 diesel motor with 280bhp and 8-speed silky-smooth auto gearbox. It weighs around two and a half tons (Yes.. TWO and a HALF TONS). It's a monster.

Does it look like it is worth £70,000? NO - it is a huge barge of a thing. There is no way I would buy one. When I parked it at Tesco, shoppers were diving for cover - I am sure they thought I was a gangster...

But, boy, does it have some high-tech tech....

Starship Enterprise?? No, just a BMW X5
This car has electrically adjustable seats, in every possible direction... in the BACK!! (as well as in the front - of course...) It also has an electric-opening/closing glass roof AND an electric opening/closing sun blind.... and that's only the start.... I have now discovered that you don't even have to lean into the back to fold down the rear seats - you press a button, and away they gently go, all on their own...squashing that fresh cream cake that you left on the back seat earlier..

If it is possible to attach a sensor to something, then in this car, BMW have attached a sensor to it. A ghost-like map of where I am kind-of unfolds on the screen behind the steering wheel as I go along. There's a more conventional map on the second huge touch-screen display in the middle of the dashboard. The speedo (which is part of the behind-the-wheel display) has an electronic needle, but there's also TWO digital speed displays - one of which is 'heads-up', rather irritatingly, on the windscreen just below my line of vision, and it flashes if I exceed a speed limit. The map pops up on the windscreen as well, if I turn-on the sat-nav.I'd actually prefer to look THROUGH the windscreen, rather than AT it.

There are assorted other icons on the dashboard displays, but I don't know what they all mean, and don't think any are terribly important. One message is telling me continuously that a rear seat is unlocked..  I guess that;s good to know.... urmm, but it doesn't tell me how to lock it, and I have to wonder why it needs to be locked in the first place. Do rear seats from X5s get nicked? However, I have spotted the bit which tells me how far I can drive before I need to add more fuel....will I get 30 mpg maybe? Here in rural Scotland - maybe yes!

Occasionally, the centre display changes to give me a front-view image. FRONT VIEW...??? I'm looking out the front -  why do I need to see the same view on a screen...??!! Maybe somewhere in the 3-inch thick handbook it will explain the reason - not that I need the handbook, as the whole document, searchable and with coloured pictures, is available via the middle screen on the dashboard. Something to browse when sitting in a traffic jam maybe.

When on the road, the  barge is reluctant to let me change lane unless I indicate first. If I dare to try, the steering wheel vibrates slightly and steering becomes noticeably heavier. Perhaps that's a good thing (after all, it IS a BMW...)  but it's un-nerving on first discovering this quirk.

Many of the car's functions can be voice-controlled. Now, my new(er) X3 also has this function - which is quite fun - so I am getting used to this. (I have discovered that it is not actually necessary to shout at the car in a mock German accent). But the £70,000 X5 also has 'GESTURE' control. Hmmm... I haven't tried waving two fingers at it yet. Though maybe tomorrow.... I wonder what other gestures will make the seat move or the tailgate open...?  Might be a good idea to keep very still... I daren't imagine the mayhem that might ensue if I energetically wave my arms about. Perhaps if I pull up outside a bank and rub together my middle finger and thumb the cash machine will immediately dispense a couple of hundred pounds, so I can afford to fill up the fuel tank again....??

Of course - this car doesn't have a key - it has a remote control device, a bit like a miniature of the one you use to work your TV. And when it is locked, and you approach it - it all lights up - everywhere - inside, front, back, even the door handles... If it was a dog, it would be wagging its tail.and barking. 

Can you imagine what it would cost to fix this monstrosity when it is seven or eight years old and it has a hissy fit and won't let you in, or the engine won't start? Depreciation has to be £10,000 per year.

I'd rather be driving Puss-the-Jaguar...

But tomorrow, I will go and play again , and on Wednesday, I will VERY gratefully give it back.

The parking spaces at Tesco aren't big enough for this car!

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