BMW X5 review
The BMW X5 is pushing boundaries in the large SUV class, delivering performance, practicality and tech
The latest edition of the BMW X5 builds on the success of its predecessors with a fresh slate that sees improvements made to the practicality and overall design, as well as upgrades to the infotainment and safety tech. The exterior design is bullish and modern, while the inside is extremely luxurious and signals a new era for the German manufacturer.
There aren’t many engines to choose from in the line-up, but each returns a commendable amount of performance without trampling over fuel efficiency, with a new hybrid now providing an even more efficient option. The new Off Road package gives a new dynamic to the X5 too, although the car’s focus remains on the road rather than off it. True it’s not the most exciting car in the large SUV market, but it’s not far off the class leaders in this respect.
Now in its fourth generation, the X5’s evolution has been typically smooth from BMW’s point of view. The original came along in 1999, and helped set the template for SUVs with four-wheel drive and a chassis designed for enjoyment as much as anything else. In order to underline their point, BMW referred to the X5 as a Sports Activity Vehicle - as opposed to the phrase Sports Utility Vehicle that we’re so used to today - It’s a tradition that BMW still follows through with today.
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Only one body style is available, a boxy five-door that maximises utility. The latest model takes this to a new level, in fact; it’s bigger than before, and while it still comes with the option of a third row of seats, it now boasts user-friendly features such as electric seat folding from the boot, as well as an automated ‘hands-free’ split tailgate.
The latest model range includes five engine options; two diesels, two petrol units and a plug-in hybrid combining petrol power with an electric motor - all offer punchy performance and all are mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox and BMW’s xDrive 4x4 system.
Prices start from around £60,000 for the entry-level diesel model, rising to over £77,000 for the X5 M50i.
There are only two trim levels to pick from, too. The xLine comes with 19-inch alloys, LED headlights and tail-lamps, air suspension and luxuries such as heated leather seats, parking assist and wireless phone charging. M Sport spec features 20-inch alloys, M Sport brake calipers and blacked-out trim, an M aerodynamics pack, sporty steering wheel and anthracite headliner.
The current flagship car in the core X5 range is the M50i, which adds 22-inch alloys, a greyed-out grille and adaptive M suspension, as well as other unique M Sport touches.
BMW's M Division has also worked its magic on the X5, producing the M Competition model. You'll have to really want one, though, as it's priced from an eye-watering £113,000.
The X5 sits in BMW’s SUV line-up between the smaller X3 and larger X7. It competes against a wide range of luxury rivals including the Audi Q7, Mercedes GLE, Porsche Cayenne, Range Rover Sport and Volvo XC90.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe BMW X5 is pushing boundaries in the large SUV class, delivering performance, practicality and tech
- 2Engines, performance and driveThere are five engine options available; all offer punchy performance
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsFuel efficiency is good for a hefty SUV, but other running costs won’t be cheap
- 4Interior, design and technologyA new platform opens many new technology doors for the BMW X5, although its style is evolutionary
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceAs before, the BMW X5 is available with seven seats, meaning it’s hard to fault for family-friendly appeal
- 6Reliability and SafetyThere’s plenty of safety tech, but BMW didn’t impress owners in our Driver Power satisfaction survey