BMW chose not to significantly change the 2010 X5 because customers didn’t want it to, explained BMW’s Heinz Krusche at the car’s launch.
‘We had no complaints, customers were ordering again, so there was no need to engineer big changes.’
It’s not to say Krusche sat idly, though – and again, it is customer feedback that led this development path. Surprisingly, the steering systems was the focus of much of this.
Servotronic is now standard on all models. Why? ‘This makes parking lighter: weighty steering during maneuvering was one of the complaints of the old car.’
But more comprehensive is the re-engineering to the optional Active Steering system. Krusche admitted that those who changed their cars often (just the sort of rich multi-car owner who might choose an option’d-up X5, then…) had difficulty in getting a feel for the system. ‘The change in ratio was too big, too different, especially at low speed.
‘Now, we take care more of actual steering input.
‘If there is higher input at lower speed, we increase the ratio for agility. However, if the driver steers gently, the ratio remains easy.’ In other words, it’s fast when you want it, normal when you’re steady. ‘People now feel less nervous driving it.’
This was done, Krusche explained, by reprogramming the parameters. By modifying the response to vehicle velocity and steering input, BMW’s been able to define a higher ratio change for higher steering inputs. If, however, you’re travelling slowly and don’t snatch the steering, the ratio change is much more reduced.
‘It’s now easier to change between Active and non-Active,’ said Krusche. ‘A German journalist drove it earlier in the week – and said he couldn’t tell any difference over a standard system.
‘This was just what I wanted to hear…’