In-depth reviews

BMW X5 review - Practicality, comfort and boot space

As before, the BMW X5 is available with seven seats, meaning it’s hard to fault for family-friendly appeal

The BMW X5 comes with only one five-door SUV body style, but the latest generation is among the most practical cars in its class. Like before, it’s available with an optional third row of seats. That said, this rearmost row is best suited to children, so if you want to carry lots of grown-ups the bigger BMW X7 might be of interest, instead.

The driving position of the X5 is excellent, with the usual great BMW ergonomics and vast range of adjustment. You get a commanding view of the road ahead, too, thanks to the X5’s height, although you’ll be relying on the parking sensors or rear view cameras when reversing.

The interior of the X5 provides plenty of storage, with a large lidded bin between the front seats, a good-size glovebox and spacious door bins.

Equally useful is the split tailgate; the lower section provides somewhere to rest your shopping before arranging it in the boot, or somewhere to sit when changing into walking boots or cycling shoes, for example.

Size

The latest-generation X5 is a little bigger than its predecessor, and is usefully boxy in its outline, measuring up at 4,922mm long, 2,004mm wide and 1,745mm tall.

The Range Rover Sport is 4,879mm x 1,983mm x 1,845mm, while the Porsche Cayenne comes in at 4,918mm x 1,983mm x 1,696mm.

Leg room, head room & passenger space

Legroom and headroom are excellent all round in the BMW X5, and the small transmission tunnel is especially impressive, meaning a third central passenger can sit comfortably on the rear bench seat without making too many compromises. There’s plenty of shoulder and hip room, too, because the X5 cabin is pretty cavernous.

A worthwhile option is electric adjustment for the second row of seats; this brings a control panel in the boot, allowing you to slide the bench forward or fold the seatbacks to maximise space as you’re loading.

Boot

The X5 offers a handsomely spacious boot, although the 650 litres of total volume is beaten by the 690 litres in the Mercedes GLE. The rear bench splits 40:20:40, which is great for passing long luggage items up between the two rear passengers with just the centre section folded. Alternatively, you can fold everything to release a whopping 1,870 litres of space. The Mercedes gives you over 2,000 litres with everything folded flat, but the rear seat only splits 60:40, so isn’t as versatile. BMW’s Comfort Access option provides hands-free control of the upper and lower tailgate sections, and the retractable boot cover.

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