BMW X5 review
The BMW X5 remains an outstanding choice in the large SUV class, delivering superb 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 looks bullish and modern, while the inside is highly luxurious.
There aren’t many engines to choose from in the lineup, but each returns a commendable amount of performance without trampling over fuel efficiency. At the same time, the hybrid continues to be the most cost-effective option for company car drivers. It’s not the most exciting car in the large SUV market, but if you're prioritising comfort, refinement and interior quality, then the X5 is an excellent choice.
About the BMW X5
Currently in its fourth generation, the evolution of the BMW X5 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 on-road driving enjoyment at the expense of off-road ability. To underline that point, the X5 was – and continues to be – referred to by BMW as a Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV), rather than the more commonly used phrase of Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV).
However, we’ll continue to refer to it as an SUV, and it sits in BMW’s SUV lineup between the smaller X3 and larger X7. It competes against many luxury SUV rivals, including the Audi Q7, Mercedes GLE, Porsche Cayenne, Range Rover Sport and Volvo XC90.
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Its boxy five-door body maximises utility, and its sheer size means you can order an X5 with the option of a third row of seats, unlike the Cayenne or Range Rover Sport. The X5 offers user-friendly features such as electric rear seat folding via a button inside the boot entrance, and an automated ‘hands-free’ split tailgate.
The latest model range includes four engine options: two diesels, one high-performance petrol unit and a plug-in hybrid combining petrol power with an electric motor. All engines offer punchy performance and come standard with an eight-speed automatic gearbox and BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system.
There are three trim levels to pick from. The xLine comes exclusively with the entry-level xDrive30d diesel engine and has 19-inch alloys, LED headlights and tail lamps, heated leather seats, parking assist and wireless phone charging. Move up to M Sport for a wider choice of engines, plus 20-inch alloys, M Sport brake callipers and blacked-out trim, an M aerodynamics pack, a sports steering wheel and an anthracite headliner. Heading up the X5 lineup (at least until the revised X5 M Competition turns up) is the X5 M60i, which has a few sportier exterior styling tweaks plus a stonking, twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre petrol V8.
Prices start perilously close to £70,000 (especially once you’ve added metallic paint and an option pack), while the company-car-friendly xDrive50e M Sport is £80,000. That’s a lot of money, but it still significantly undercuts the equivalent GLE or Range Rover Sport. Those after the M60i must fork out at least £90,000, even before they get busy with the options list.
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In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe BMW X5 remains an outstanding choice in the large SUV class, delivering superb performance, practicality and tech
- 2Engines, performance and driveX5 buyers have the option of either petrol, diesel, or plug-in hybrid power; all offering 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, while its quality interior offers a luxurious feel
- 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 SafetyThe X5 includes plenty of safety tech, while there's improved customer feedback for BMW in our Driver Power satisfaction survey