A brace of swift seven-seat luxury carriages swish in for this month’s farm transport comparison. Best leave the livestock and chainsaws in the yard with these two…

I f you have small change to get rid of and a yen for a performance 4×4, jostling for your cash are two of the best: the BMW X5 in M50d trim and the Range Rover Sport. Mind you, ‘small change’ depends on who you are — in base trim the X5 costs £64,525, the Sport £76,250. Jack up their spec to the level of the cars compared here, and you’re looking at £76,720 (BMW) and a staggering £90,200 for Solihull’s finest. That’s right: the BMW finishes where the Range Rover starts, and for the cost of a kitted-out Sport you could buy six Great Wall pick-ups.

No contest there, then. And both companies supply faster, even more expensive model variants. The concept ofthis pair is the same: high performance with high tech, multi-terrain capability, luxury and a big slice of image. Of course, image splits potential buyers into two camps: those who don’t mind being asked what drugs are on special offer today, and those that do. Notwithstanding, how well do the Bavarian and Midlander play the multi-role game — on both tarmac and turf?

On the road

Performance is central in this market. These cars weigh the wrong side of 2t, yet their 300hp+ produces acceleration to make your toes tingle. The BMW is clearly sprint king: from rest a significant extra 75hp sees it growl away from the more genteel-sounding Range Rover. In main road traffic, engine torque outputs beyond 700Nm, flat midrange curves and fast-shifting eight-speed auto boxes give great flexibility, although both powertrains suffer an irritating hiccup on flooring the throttle. Drive round that — easily done — and the bottom line is major enjoyment.

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