Our friend Richard Aucock continues his coverage from the 2011 BMW X5 LCI event in Miami, Florida. Today’s topic of discussion: BMW’s steering system in the X5.
“BMW chose not to significantly change the 2010 X5 because customers didn’t want it to, explained BMW’s Heinz Krusche at the car’s launch.
‘We had no complaints, customers were ordering again, so there was no need to engineer big changes.’
It’s not to say Krusche sat idly, though – and again, it is customer feedback that led this development path. Surprisingly, the steering systems was the focus of much of this.
Servotronic is now standard on all models. Why? ‘This makes parking lighter: weighty steering during maneuvering was one of the complaints of the old car.’
But more comprehensive is the re-engineering to the optional Active Steering system. Krusche admitted that those who changed their cars often (just the sort of rich multi-car owner who might choose an option’d-up X5, then…) had difficulty in getting a feel for the system. ‘The change in ratio was too big, too different, especially at low speed.
‘Now, we take care more of actual steering input.
‘If there is higher input at lower speed, we increase the ratio for agility. However, if the driver steers gently, the ratio remains easy.’ In other words, it’s fast when you want it, normal when you’re steady. ‘People now feel less nervous driving it.’