In-depth reviews

BMW X5 review

The BMW X5 is pushing boundaries in the large SUV class, delivering performance, practicality and tech

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£57,370 to £85,485
  • Comfortable and luxurious
  • Seven-seater option
  • Good to drive
  • Limited drivetrain options
  • Not the best off-road
  • Costly to run

​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.

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.

For an alternative review of the latest BMW X5 SUV visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk

Next Steps

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    xDrive30d xLine 5dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £57,370

Most Economical

  • Name
    xDrive30d MHT xLine 5dr Auto [7 Seat]
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £60,415

Fastest

  • Name
    xDrive M50i 5dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £75,485

More on X5

Show me:
Best plug-in hybrids 2021
Best PHEV cars
Electric cars
4 Aug 2021

Best plug-in hybrids 2021

The plug-in hybrid market has grown exponentially in recent years. Here are our top 10 electrified favourites.
New limited-run BMW X5, X6 and X7 special editions unveiled
BMW X5 and X6 Black Vermillion Editions
BMW X5
12 Jul 2021

New limited-run BMW X5, X6 and X7 special editions unveiled

BMW reveals limited-edition versions of its large SUVs for 2021, with a raft of unique design touches
Large Premium SUV of the Year 2021: BMW X5
BMW X5 - header
BMW X5
7 Jul 2021

Large Premium SUV of the Year 2021: BMW X5

The BMW X5 is the 2021 Auto Express Premium SUV of the Year, with the Land Rover Discovery and Porsche Cayenne commended
BMW X5 xDrive45e: long-term test review
BMW X5 xDrive45e long termer 35
BMW X5
18 Mar 2021

BMW X5 xDrive45e: long-term test review

Final report: BMW is on a Rolls with its large plug-in hybrid X5 xDrive 45e SUV
New BMW X5 M Competition 2021 review
BMW X5
6 Jan 2021

New BMW X5 M Competition 2021 review

The range-topping BMW X5 M Competition SUV turns in an impressive performance – but at a price
BMW X5 and X6 M Competition First Edition models unveiled
BMW X6 front
BMW X5
20 Oct 2020

BMW X5 and X6 M Competition First Edition models unveiled

Production of BMW X5 and X6 M Competition First Edition models will be limited to just 250 units each
Large Premium SUV of the Year 2020: BMW X5
BMW X5
13 Oct 2020

Large Premium SUV of the Year 2020: BMW X5

The BMW X5 is the 2020 Auto Express Premium SUV of the Year, with the Land Rover Discovery and Porsche Cayenne commended
BMW X5 vs Porsche Cayenne vs Jaguar I-Pace
BMW X5
13 Jun 2020

BMW X5 vs Porsche Cayenne vs Jaguar I-Pace

Will the all-electric power of the Jaguar I-Pace reign supreme or will the BMW X5 or Porsche Cayenne come out on top? We test all three to find out...
Mild-hybrid powered BMW X5 and X6 xDrive40d unveiled
BMW X5 xDrive40d
BMW X5
11 Feb 2020

Mild-hybrid powered BMW X5 and X6 xDrive40d unveiled

BMW has launched a new mild-hybrid diesel powertrain for its two mid-size SUVs, which promises economy figures upwards of 45mpg
New BMW X5 xDrive45e 2019 review
BMW X5 xDrive45e - front
BMW X5 SUV
18 Dec 2019

New BMW X5 xDrive45e 2019 review

The new plug-in hybrid BMW X5 xDrive45e offers over 50 miles on electric power and over 200mpg, but does it deliver?
New 2020 BMW X5 M arrives with V8 power and 616bhp
BMW X5 Competition - front
BMW X5
1 Oct 2019

New 2020 BMW X5 M arrives with V8 power and 616bhp

BMW M gets its hands on the latest X5, borrowing power from the brand new M8 coupe
Armour-plated BMW X5 Protection VR6 launched
BMW X5 Protection VR6 - front
BMW X5
26 Aug 2019

Armour-plated BMW X5 Protection VR6 launched

The BMW X5 Protection VR6 is an armoured version of the standard X5 SUV, which can shrug off grenade blasts and rifle fire
BMW launches hot M50i versions of X5 and X7 SUVs
BMW X7 M50i
BMW X5 SUV
23 May 2019

BMW launches hot M50i versions of X5 and X7 SUVs

X5 M50i and X7 M50i M Performance models revealed by BMW
Used BMW X5 review
Used BMW X5 - front
BMW X5 SUV
6 Feb 2019

Used BMW X5 review

A full used buyer’s guide on the BMW X5 covering the X5 Mk3 (2013-2018)
BMW X5 vs Volkswagen Touareg vs Porsche Cayenne
BMW X5
29 Jan 2019

BMW X5 vs Volkswagen Touareg vs Porsche Cayenne

Can the all-new BMW X5 keep pace in the talented premium SUV sector? We test it against the Volkswagen Touareg and Porsche Cayenne
New 2019 BMW X5: full details, pricing and specifications
bmw x5 m50d static front
BMW X5
5 Dec 2018

New 2019 BMW X5: full details, pricing and specifications

The fourth generation of the BMW X5 is on sale now, with prices starting at £57,495
New BMW X5 M50d 2019 review
Car insurance
BMW X5 SUV
5 Dec 2018

New BMW X5 M50d 2019 review

We’ve driven the new top-spec BMW X5 to see if it’s worth the premium over the rest of the range
New BMW X5 M Performance Parts range introduced
BMW X5 M Performance Parts - front
BMW X5
25 Oct 2018

New BMW X5 M Performance Parts range introduced

Styling, interior and data logging accessories all introduced as part of BMW's X5 M Performance Parts package
New BMW X5 2018 review
BMW X5 - Front Motion
BMW X5 SUV
5 Oct 2018

New BMW X5 2018 review

The new BMW X5 has few weak points but it's not short of strong rivals in the luxury SUV class
New BMW X5 plug-in hybrid revealed
BMW X5 plug-in hybrid - front
BMW X5 SUV
7 Sep 2018

New BMW X5 plug-in hybrid revealed

BMW has released a 394bhp plug-in hybrid version of the new X5, the xDrive45e
BMW X5 (2013-2018) review
BMW X5 M50d Front action
BMW X5 SUV
9 Feb 2018

BMW X5 (2013-2018) review

The third-generation BMW X5 is an imposing and well built SUV, but there are faster and more spacious rivals
Range Rover Velar vs Porsche Macan vs BMW X5
Range Rover Velar vs Porsche Macan vs BMW X5 - header
Land Rover Range Rover Velar
2 Sep 2017

Range Rover Velar vs Porsche Macan vs BMW X5

The new Range Rover Velar continues the boom in high-performance SUVs, but can it sink the Porsche Macan and BMW X5?
BMW X5 vs Porsche Cayenne vs Volvo XC90
BMW X5 vs Porsche Cayenne vs Volvo XC90 - header
BMW X5
16 Apr 2016

BMW X5 vs Porsche Cayenne vs Volvo XC90

BMW’s new plug-in hybrid X5 joins a new breed of cleaner SUVs. Can it beat Volvo and Porsche rivals?