Make BMW or Mercedes better SUVs

Of course, the Land Rover Discovery is still a reference when it comes to luxury and comfort. Leather, wood and chrome in the interior give the SUV the charm of a British country house. That feels a bit like the past, even if there are modern assistance systems such as lane keeping aids, autonomous traffic jam pilots, pedestrian detection and emergency brake assistants, parking beeps and reversing cameras - all for an extra charge. Compared to the new BMW X5, it all looks terrifyingly yesterday. It cannot be overlooked that there is a whole generation of technology between the two cars.

The once somewhat crude crossing of old-fashioned off-road vehicles with modern limousine comfort has become bestsellers. This applies to both the Landy and the BMW. 20 years after the first X5, the latest version presents itself with a multitude of innovations. The SUV benefits from the fact that the Bavarians had to replace its predecessor after just five years in order to comply with the latest EU emissions standards. The systems from other current model series can already be integrated into the X5. The driver can see this first from the key in his hands. Even there, a display shines towards him, of course for touching and swiping. For example, you can set the temperature in the car in advance or see how much gasoline is left in the tank. Apart from that, the key is hardly needed anymore. The X5 recognizes it in the driver's pocket and opens the car automatically. If the driver leaves the SUV, the BMW locks itself.

Inside, of course, digital displays dominate. One serves as a speedometer, one for entertainment and the functions of the car. Even the heating temperature display is digital. As usual, the center console houses the BMW rotary control, which can be used to control the functions of the car - if the driver chooses this option. Another is the voice control, which can be activated by a switch on the steering wheel and then reacts to free commands such as "Enter address" and which now works surprisingly well.

A rolling club room is no longer enough today. The technology continues to rotate too quickly for that

It is also possible to control selected features with gestures. The volume of the radio can be controlled as follows, for example: Draw a small circle in the air with your index finger. To the right it gets louder, to the left it gets quieter again. If traffic radio starts unintentionally again, it can be pushed away with a swiping gesture. However, this multitude of options can also be overwhelming. The driver gets lost in the options. Language? Gesture? Touch and swipe? Or just use the multi-wheel? The good news is: all control functions work flawlessly. The bad: It will take some time before the manufacturer decides on one or two of the options to further simplify the operation of its cars in the future. Until then, customers are spoiled for choice with the BMW X5.

The Bavarians have also further developed their assistance systems. This is most impressive when parking. Several cameras and sensors work together here. When the SUV approaches a curb, the view on the middle display pans to a bird's eye view so that you can see exactly how far the car is before it hits the sidewalk. If that is too complicated for you, there is a maneuvering aid. The SUV remembers the last 100 meters of its journey. It can maneuver itself out of a parking space that has become too tight at the push of a button.

But the distance cruise control, which offers a preliminary stage to automated driving with hands on the wheel, works much more precisely. In the past, with these systems, the steering wheel was constantly moving in order to correct the course, but with the BMW X5 it remains significantly quieter. The assistant still has his problems with construction sites and confuses the new with the old lane markings.

The Land Rover Discovery, on the other hand, cannot pass. It has been on the market since 2017. In the automotive industry, which is increasingly determined by digitization, that's an eternity. Everything in the BMW X5 just works a little better and more precisely. The three-liter diesel with 265 hp has no weaknesses, the automatic shifts perfectly, the insulation in the interior is so good that hardly any noises penetrate from the outside to the inside. Even the materials in the interior look higher quality, as BMW is obviously more oriented towards its 7 series and wants to establish the X5 in the luxury class. In the Land Rover Discovery, however, there is a lot more plastic.

The British SUV can only score in two areas: The trunk is really huge with a volume of 981 to 2500 liters. Here the BMW X5 cannot keep up with 650 to 1870 liters. And the basic version of the Discovery with a two-liter diesel engine with 240 hp is considerably cheaper than its German counterpart. At 59,500 euros, it costs almost 10,000 euros less than the X5 (from 69,200 euros). The better choice is still the BMW. It is all around the more successful SUV. With many technical features that make driving not only more pleasant, but also safer.