If you’re shopping for a luxury midsize SUV or crossover, there are lots of great options. The BMW X5 easily stands out in this competitive crowd with its driving dynamics, cushy interior and updated tech.
The X5 was introduced for the 2000 model year and gets redesigned for 2019. It now has more power, improved fuel efficiency, upgraded interior, more standard features and additional tech. What hasn’t changed is the X5’s fun-to-drive personality.
The X5 is available in two trims: xDrive 40i and xDrive 50i. Starting prices range from $60,700 to $75,750. It’s available with two rows of seating to accommodate five passengers, or you can get the optional third row to fit up to seven. All-wheel-drive is standard.
Two engines are available and both provide plenty of power. The base engine is a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline 6 that makes 335 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque. Want more power? The xDrive50i gets a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 that produces 456 horses and 479 pound-feet. It’s quick—BMW says it can go from zero to 60 mph in only 4.6 seconds. Both powertrains are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The smaller engine delivers more than enough power for everyday driving situations. It’s responsive and the eight-speed shifts quickly and smoothly. Merging and passing at freeway speeds is a piece of cake and the X5 stays planted when cornering. All-wheel-drive provides traction in the varying weather conditions we get here in the Pacific Northwest. Visibility is great to the front and pretty good all the way around.
When properly equipped, the X5 can tow up to 7,200 pounds.
Fuel economy is good for the class. EPA ratings for my tester are 20 mpg city and 26 mpg highway with a combined rating of 22. I got 23 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The cabin is tasteful with topnotch materials. The overall design is simple and understated. Seats are supportive and comfortable. Adults in the first two rows enjoy decent leg-and headroom. The available third row is only comfortable for kids. The wide door sills/running boards can hamper getting in and out of the X5 if you’re not paying attention.
Standard features include synthetic leather upholstery, heated, power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, panoramic moonroof, and the iDrive infotainment system with a 12.3-inch touch screen, a touchpad controller, a 10-speaker hi-fi audio system, HD Radio, navigation, Bluetooth, three USB ports, and Apple CarPlay.
Available features include Vernasca leather upholstery, quad-zone automatic climate control, multi-contour front seats, ventilated front seats, massaging front seats, heated steering wheel, heated and cooled cup holders, heated rear seats, heated armrests, wireless device charging, and an upgraded infotainment system with a 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, satellite radio, and a Wi-Fi hot spot.
Several driver assistance technologies are standard including adaptive cruise control, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. Some of these features are part of BMW’s Active Driving Assistant.
Available technologies include Available active safety features include BMW’s Active Protection System, a head-up display, night vision, Evasion Assistant, a surround-view camera, and parallel and perpendicular park assist.
The X5 gets the latest version of BMW’s iDrive infotainment system. It does take time to figure out, but the system does become easier to use with practice. It features a touchscreen as well as controls in the center console. The system responds quickly to commands.
One gimmicky but fun feature is “gesture control.” You can use hand gestures to control various features. For example, you can adjust volume by circling your finger. Turn it up by making a clockwise circle, and turn it down by making a counter-clockwise circle with your finger. You can also accept or reject a phone call, select navigation or adjust the angle of the rearview camera with gestures. I had fun impressing my family members!
The X5 has above average cargo space for the class. There are 33.9 cubic feet with both rows of seating in place and 72.3 cubes with the second row folded. A power liftgate is standard, and a hands-free power liftgate is available that lets you open the liftgate by swiping your foot. The rear hatchback is in two sections, providing a mini tailgate.
Fun to drive
Decent fuel economy for the class
Above average room for passengers and cargo
Updated interior with more standard features
Apple CarPlay is available
Starting price is higher than many rivals
Wide door sills can make it tough to get in and out
My tester starts at $60,700. Mineral White Metallic paint is $550. Coffee Vernasca leather is $1,450, less a $1,450 leather upholstery credit. Convenience Package is $1,150 and adds keyless entry, four-zone climate control and satellite radio with one-year subscription. Driving Assistance Plus with Active Driving Assistant Pro is $1,700. Premium Package is $2,050 and adds Parking Assistant Plus, head-up display, wireless charging, Gesture Control, Wi-Fi hotspot, enhanced USB and Bluetooth, rear view camera and surround view with 3D view. Executive Package is $2050 and adds remote engine start, soft-close automatic doors, rear manual side window shades and adaptive LED lights with laser. Gesture Control Option Credit is -$190. 20-inch wheels are $600. M Sport brakes are $650. Two-axle air suspension is $1,000. Running boards are $400. Heated front seats with armrests and heated steering wheel are $250. Leather dashboard is $1,200. Harman Kardon surround sound system is $875. Destination charge is $995 bringing the grand total to $73,980.
Sure, there are other luxury models that have better performance, more luxurious interiors, and more room for passengers and cargo. But the BMW X5 does all of these things well enough to make it worth consideration. Put it on your list if you’re shopping for an upscale SUV.