BMW X5 (2013-2018) review - Practicality, comfort and boot space
Limo-like passenger accommodation and lots of luggage space make the latest X5 a supremely practical choice
By updating the looks, BMW has given the new X5 much more usable space than the old car. And that was necessary to distance it from the smaller X3, the latest version of which has grown considerably. Around 40 per cent of X5 buyers opt for the extra two rear seats, which fold up out of the boot floor to give a 5+2 layout.
The driving position is high and offers a commanding view of the road. It also provides a wide range of adjustment, so buyers of all shapes and sizes should be able to find a comfortable setting.
There are large door pockets and a decent central cubby in the X5. The latter can be specified with a cradle for your iPhone if you opt for BMW’s suite of ConnectedDrive services.
Interior quality has taken a step forward, with plenty of high-grade leather, metal and plastic used throughout. Some of the materials are light coloured, though, so it’s worth bearing in mind how they will look over time if you plan on carrying children or pets on a regular basis.
At this end of the SUV sector, you’re buying the sort of practical and luxurious interior space that you’d expect to find in a people carrier. The boxy basic outline provides the X5 with a very roomy cabin and a big boot, and this combines with the elevated ride height and road presence to give drivers the confidence behind the wheel that they demand from a large SUV like this.
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The BMW has big dimensions, even in this class. At 4,857mm long, it’s a bit longer than the 4,846mm Porsche Cayenne and 4,819mm Mercedes GLE, although it sits between these rivals in terms of width and height – the X5 measures 1,933mm wide and 1,776mm tall.
It’s also a few millimetres longer than the Range Rover Sport, although the British contender is the widest car in this quartet.
Leg room, head room & passenger space
There’s plenty of space in the front and rear seats, with more than enough leg, shoulder and headroom. The X5 feels particularly wide at the front, where driver and passenger enjoy large and luxurious seats. In the back, three people will find it easy to get comfortable, with the flat floor ensuring there’s plenty of legroom for all.
Buyers can spec a pair of seats in the boot, too, and it has proven a really popular option across the range. If you go for the xDrive40e hybrid, however, you'll sacrifice these for the bulky batteries under the floor.
Headroom is generous throughout, even if you opt for the glass sunroof. Plus, Isofix child seat mountings are included as standard.
All X5s have a split tailgate, with the top half being electrically operated. The boot is big, serving up a minimum of 650 litres of space, while the rear seats split 40:20:40.
It’s not as spacious as the Mercedes GLE, which offers up to 2,010 litres with the back seats folded, but the X5’s maximum of 1,870 litres is still impressive. The Range Rover Sport gives you 1,761 litres and the Porsche Cayenne 1,780 litres.
Towing is often an important factor for SUVs, and the X5 doesn’t disappoint here. Depending on your engine choice, towing capacity ranges from 2,700kg to 3,500kg.
Towing is often an important factor for SUVs, and the X5 doesn’t disappoint here. Depending on your engine choice, the braked trailer towing capacity ranges from 2,700kg to 3,500kg. As all X5s are automatics, that is a must, but otherwise maximum pulling power is available with any of the following engines: 30d, 40d, 50d and 50i. All of which will be come with xDrive (the name of BMW’s four-wheel drive system).
In this review
- 1VerdictThe third-generation BMW X5 is an imposing and well built SUV, but there are faster and more spacious rivals
- 2Engines, performance and driveNo longer a dynamic benchmark, but fine diesels in X5 offer a combination of efficiency, performance and refinement
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsMainstream X5 models won’t break the bank, but you’ll need deep pockets if you’re looking at the faster versions
- 4Interior, design and technologyEvolutionary styling should please fans of the BMW brand, plus there’s no shortage of tech inside the X5
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot space - currently readingLimo-like passenger accommodation and lots of luggage space make the latest X5 a supremely practical choice
- 6Reliability and SafetyA full house of safety tech will protect the family, but the X5’s reliability reports aren’t exactly glowing