The Murano's a bit of a looker, too, which again works in its favour in a market where people are starting to think there may just be too many X5s around. The spacious cabin follows the exterior's sporty theme with a 350Z-esque steering wheel and sportily cowled dials. Nissan's CEO, Carlos Ghosn, is keen for the company to be seen as a 'marque for enthusiasts' and the Murano would appear to be carrying on the good work started by the Z-car.
While the Murano is taller and wider than an X5, it doesn't feel hampered by its size on the road. The US-spec suspension of our test car lacked the ultimate sharpness that makes the BMW so special, but by the time the Nissan gets some Euro settings the gap should close a bit.
The 24-valve V6 engine has been detuned from its 350Z incarnation (down from 276bhp to 245bhp) but the torque is more readily available and thus finds a good partner with the standard, and silky smooth, CVT automatic gearbox. Without the usual awkward auto kickdown, you can quickly find a nice rhythm between bends. The other good news is that while more insulated, the 350Z's delightful V6 warble is still within earshot.
For a car knocking on the door of two tonnes, the Murano clips along nicely. Our test car was limited to 115mph by its US-spec tyres, but expect a comfortable improvement on that by the time it reaches us.
Final judgement on the Nissan will have to wait for a UK drive, but subjectively the X5 isn't likely to be threatened much in the dynamic stakes, although the Murano will probably show a Merc ML or Lexus RX300 a clean pair of tail-pipes.
High levels of kit and a c£30,000 price should guarantee the Murano a fair amount of attention, but as Nissan is bringing in just 1000 units next year, they won't be thick on the ground.