BMW X5 review (2010 facelift)

23 Jul, 2010 2:15pm Sam Hardy

Facelifted premium SUV remains a class leader.


* Price: £43,980* Engine: 3.0-litre 6cyl diesel* Power: 242bhp* Torque: 540Nm* Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive* Top speed: 130mph* 0-62mph: 7.6 seconds* Economy: 38.2mpg* CO2: 195g/km* Equipment: Electrically powered, leather-trimmed seats, climate control, spilt tailgate, satellite navigation, alloy wheels* On sale: Now

While it’s all change for the Sportage, BMW’S X5 has received some subtler revisions.

With one million models sold worldwide since 1999, the firm isn’t messing with a winning formula – so this latest version benefits from visual tweaks, increased standard equipment and uprated engines.

Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the BMW X5

Does that make it the best sporting SUV you can buy? We drove the entry-level xDrive30d SE to find out. Lay eyes on it, and you’d be hard-pressed to see the differences. But fresh xenon headlights with bright white LED rings give it more presence, and other tweaks such as larger bumper vents, a lower scuff plate and new foglamps freshen up the front end.

At the rear, new lamp clusters boast horizontal LED light bars, while there are larger exhaust pipes and a redesigned bumper. Inside, leather upholstery is now standard and Lane Departure Warning, Active Cruise Control and side-view cameras to help parking are all available as options.

The lofty, comfortable driving position is the best in the class, quality throughout is superb and there’s the option of seven seats. Loading luggage is made easy by the split tailgate, too.

Under the skin, all X5s benefit from a new eight-speed automatic gearbox. It works especially well with the uprated 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbodiesel – which now delivers 242bhp and 540Nm of torque, and takes the X5 from 0-62mph in only 7.6 seconds. Ratios are juggled intelligently and effortlessly so that there’s always crushing response under your right foot.

This doesn’t come at the expense of refinement or efficiency, though, with the smooth unit posting 38.2mpg and CO2 emissions of only 195g/km. It drives brilliantly, too. Body control is tight, the steering is sharp and it’s great fun on a twisty road. On the motorway, it’s relaxing and quiet. It also rides well. Although there’s hill descent control, buyers keen on off-roading should look elsewhere; spend all your time on tarmac, and the X5 will not disappoint.

Rival: Range Rover Sport
A truly amazing all-rounder, the Range Rover Sport is nearly as good to drive as the X5 on the road – and has incredible talent off it. However, it’s not as fast or as efficient in diesel trim, and is a strict five-seater.

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Why not just overhaul the whole design. This X5 lacks imagination, drama etc. I don't even know why i'm even commenting, maybe i'm just upset that even made the page in these review cause there's nothing to talk about really.

You know i was once so impressed to hear there's a fast SUV from BMW. I guess i wasn't so dissapointed when i saw it as i knew it would look exactly as i expected......ugly! The only thing really impressive about this car is how quick it can be and the expensive fat tekkies. I can't afford a brand new one but i can buy a 2nd hand one with a smile, but that would only be at a time when nearly two thirds of the worlds population of cars are extinct and this was the only machine taking the last stand. Good work BMW, why not just put fat tyres on all your cars so to hipnotise all your buyers.

It was Beast that killed Beauty and the lipstic had nothing to do with it!

I went straight to throwing my 2 cents without even reading what you had to say about this badboy because "pictures paint a thousand words"

I just read kevolution's "expert" review.
I'm fortunate to be able to afford a new one and they are worth every penny.
My wife got T-boned in her 2010 35d and the car was a deemed a right-off. Thankfully she didn't have a scratch and I bought another 35d (2011)without hesitation. A completely amazing vehicle and even more beautiful to look at than the 2010 (especially with the 21" fatties!) Kevolution please try an X5 on Mullholland or Topanga Canyon road (the Top Gear boys know what I'm talking about) and you'll see what I'm talking about. The new version (space grey with bone oyster) totally turns heads and looks great in all shades of mud.

it's not a patch on a Range Rover yet London is full of them... Normally bought by fat cats working in the City for posing..

Key specs

Although the updated X5 hasn’t benefitted from radical changes, the tweaks have improved an already impressive car. Thanks to the revised diesel and new automatic gearbox, it’s even better to drive than ever. Yet it’s surprisingly economical and reasonably cheap to tax, too. Add in a spacious, quality cabin with the option of seven seats, and you’re looking at one of the best sporty SUVs money can buy.