Yesterday saw the preview of the G05 BMW X5 in Malaysia, and as usual BMW Group Malaysia took the opportunity to showcase a number of previous-generation models alongside the latest fourth-gen Sports Activity Vehicle. We thought it would be a good idea to take you through every X5 generation, starting with the groundbreaking original.

Such is the prevalence of premium SUVs nowadays that it’s hard to believe they didn’t exist 20 years ago. That is, until the E53 X5 debuted in 1999 – while Mercedes-Benz had already made camp in the segment with the body-on-frame M-Class, it was the more car-like BMW that took the class to the mainstream.

Munich lifted key features from its brief ownership of Land Rover, including hill descent control and a split-opening tailgate from the Range Rover. While purists bemoaned the sullying of the brand with a big and heavy 4×4 (wait till they hear about a front-wheel drive BMW…), the continued success of the X model range proves that it was the right call all along.

The E70, introduced in 2006, built on the strength of its predecessor. It was made significantly larger than before to accommodate an optional third row of seats, and it also introduced BMW’s now-familiar electronic gearlever and parking brake. Noteworthy technical updates include a revised xDrive all-wheel drive system, Adaptive Steering and Adaptive Drive anti-roll bars that suppress body movements.

This generation also saw the arrival of the X5 M, the first M SUV and the first M car to come with a turbocharged engine – in this case, a 555 hp/680 Nm 4.4 litre twin-turbo V8 that eventually made its way into the F10 M5. It was also the first to come with all-wheel drive and a torque converter automatic transmission, which you can now find on the F90 M5.

Seven years later, the F15 generation arrived, being even bigger and more technologically advanced than before. It featured a full range of turbocharged six- and eight-cylinder engines, weighed up to 90 kg lighter and was equipped with a variety of driver assistant features.

The M Performance model, the M50d, also featured BMW’s 3.0 litre triple-turbo diesel straight-six producing 381 hp and 740 Nm of torque, while the X5 M had its outputs boosted to 575 hp and 750 Nm. The F15 was also the first X5 to receive a plug-in hybrid variant – the xDrive40e with a 242 hp/350 Nm 2.0 litre four-cylinder engine and a 115 hp/250 Nm electric motor to provide a total system output of 313 hp and 450 Nm.

And now we come to the latest G05 X5, larger, more powerful and more fuel-efficient than any X5 that came before, with highlights that include the latest BMW Operating System 7.0 and an advanced Intelligent Personal Assistant voice control system. It will arrive in August as an xDrive40i, powered by a 340 hp/450 Nm 3.0 litre turbocharged straight-six and priced at an estimated RM640,000.

GALLERY: E53 BMW X5


GALLERY: E70 BMW X5
GALLERY: F15 BMW X5
GALLERY: G05 BMW X5