The new third generation BMW X5 has been launched on the Chinese auto market. Price starts at 877.000 yuan and ends at 1.77 million yuan ($143.000 – 290.000). BMW expects China to become the largest market for the X5 within five years. The range includes the xDrive35i with 306hp, the xDrive50i with 408hp, and most interestingly the xDrive30d; a 3.0 V6 diesel with 258hp and 560nm.
The addition of the diesel is a great surprise as diesel-powered passenger cars are forbidden in most Chinese cities because they are presumed to be dirty. Automakers have been lobbying the Chinese government for years, saying modern diesel engines are in fact very clean, but so far the government hasn’t changed the law. BMW is the first automaker to offer a diesel in a SUV in China. The Germans might bet the law will be changed in the bear future, or the diesel will be marketed mainly to the countryside, where diesels are allowed and where many newly-rich farmers are waiting eagerly for any luxurious car they can buy.