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Seven seat heaven for new BMW X5

Date: 16 August 2006

Bigger, faster and more fuel-efficient than the car it replaces, BMW has released pictures of its next-generation X5.

The big news is the 4x4 gains a third row of seats enabling it to go head-to-head with the family oriented Volvo XC90 and Land Rover Discovery.

Inside the luxurious cabin there are strong hints of the Z4 cockpit, although unlike the diminutive sportscar, you'll not want for toys. Heads-up display and an evolution of BMW's iDrive are just some of the interior highlights.

Under the bonnet, a mighty 355PS 4.8-litre petrol spearheads the range, although user-choosers and fleets will prefer the thriftier 231 PS 3.0d that averages 32.5mpg and sprints to sixty in 8.3secs. A more powerful 272PS diesel from the blistering 535d is also expected.