The BMW X5 is a 4x4 hero especially brilliant at urban terrain, and that calls for different accessories from a conventional off-road-vehicle. With its new range, AC Schnitzer has adapted the Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) perfectly to its natural environment. Like its predecessor, the E70 is an extremely agile vehicle despite its size.

With a special undermount front skirt including spoiler corners, AC Schnitzer has achieved a far more dynamic front face. It still retains the large standard air intakes with the striking cross bars, but the lines are drawn visually further down than in the standard version. So the X5 seems to crouch straight onto the tarmac. The rear end too has been restyled correspondingly, and with the AC Schnitzer rear skirt appears substantially more elegant and more sporting. Behind the perfectly integrated, chromed tailpipe trims in "Racing" style – in the form of a horizontal figure of eight - lies the sonorous exhaust system with two sports rear silencers of V2A special steel. At the front and back, the eye of the beholder is drawn to the suggested protection plate, which lends an aura of off-road daring to everyday life. In the end, you could if you wanted: technically the X5 with its high-tech all-wheel drive is perfect for the small offroad trip.

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But the 4x4 technology finally also has a positive effect on driving stability on the road. And really the brand-new AC Schnitzer racing wheels Type VI with bicolor finish and the racing rim Type IV, both available in sizes from 10J x 20" and 10J x 22", are much too good for the rough. In sophisticated silver or audacious "Magic Black", the attractive five-spoke design with the perforated crown is more at home on the boulevards where it perfectly emphasises the nature of the vehicle.

Naturally the AC Schnitzer X5 cuts a striking figure not just at a trot but also at a gallop: where the 3.0 litre diesel with its 235 HP performs well as standard, the AC Schnitzer performance upgrade turns it into a definitive high-power sprinter and high-speed athlete. The imposing output figures are 265 HP/195 kW and 550 Nm.

But it's particularly difficult to catch the modified X5 through the corners. With its new sports suspension from AC Schnitzer, here the large SAV will show many "wannabe" chasers what's what. As in all AC Schnitzer suspension components, the set-up shows the skilled hand of Manfred Wollgarten who carried out the extensive tests on the Nürburgring. So when it comes to handling, the new X5 cleverly conceals the fact that with 19 centimetres more length, it's a whole lot bigger than its predecessor.

The occupants of the X5 however notice the performance from a different aspect. The interior range from AC Schnitzer includes not only a 3-spoke sports airbag steering wheel and aluminium pedal set, but also numerous decor elements in carbon or aluminium. The Aachenbased tuner has even designed a new i-Drive controller. In the end, AC Schnitzer always has an eye for attractive details.