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Like its predecessor, the second-generation X5 disappoints when it
goes off the beaten track. Instead of offering a height-adjustable
air suspension, it can be had with such pavement-oriented goodies
as active steering, adjustable antiroll bars, and switchable
dampers. Instead of mechanical differential locks, it features the
latest version of the electronically controlled
torque-split-by-demand xDrive four-wheel-drive system. And instead
of a low-range transfer case, it boasts a new six-speed manu-matic.
The key chassis-related innovation is a new multilink front
suspension that provides a smoother ride and better handling. Even
when the X5 is equipped with the optional $3600 sport package,
which includes extrastiff 255/55HR-19 Michelin Latitude run-flat
tires, active roll stabilization, and electronic damping control,
it responds to arm-thick transverse ridges and crater-deep potholes
in a much more compliant manner than it did before.