Nimble handling belies the X5’s enormity
- Imposing styling
- Quality interior
- Loaded with technology
- Plug-in hybrid version
- Expensive to buy and run
- Doesn't feel as special as some rivals
If you want something the size of the X5 but with greater exclusivity – and less space – then there’s always the BMW X6, an SUV coupe with an exaggeratedly tapered tail.
The X5’s gargantuan dimensions suggest eye-wateringly expensive running costs, and while versions such as the high-performance X5 M remain thirsty, the balance is redressed by more frugal rear-wheel drive (sDrive) diesels and plug-in petrol-electric hybrids.
Practical – if expensive – family SUV
While the X5 retains the chunky silhouette of before, this generation model lacks some of the visual clout which marked out its predecessors. If you want more aggression, then specify yours with the desirable M Sport package.
Inside, the focus is on luxury with a choice of ambience packages and the option of comfort or sports seats, as well as comfort and entertainment options for rear seat passengers. Access to the optional third row of seats is easier, too.
Convenience features such as an electric tailgate make the X5 easy to live with, while a 40:20:40 split to the middle row of seats increase its flexibility further.
Seven engine options
As per modern BMW conventions, the engine sizes hinted at by the badging are just that in the majority of cases – a hint.
Whether you choose petrol, diesel or petrol-electric plug-in hybrid, all of the motors are turbocharged to boost both power and efficiency.
Diesels remain the most popular choices for the X5. Both the rear-wheel drive sDrive25d and four-wheel drive xDrive25d feature a 2.0-litre engine producing 231hp, while the xDrive30d, xDrive40d and M50d all pack 3.0-litre motors mustering 258hp, 313hp and 381hp respectively.
If you want a petrol engine, you have a restricted choice of a pair of 4.4-litre V8s for the xDrive50i and X5 M, the latter producing 575hp and capable of scorching from 0-62mph in just 4.2 seconds.
Lowest emissions in the range are delivered courtesy of the xDrive40e plug-in hybrid, with a 2.0-litre engine working in conjunction with its electric propulsion. Choose the version with smaller alloy wheels and CO2 output is quoted at just 77g/km, with an electric-only range of up to 19 miles.
Technology aids ease of use
Under the skin BMW has included a raft of clever gizmos, including suspension firmness that can be personalised to the driver’s taste at the touch of a button and Parking Assistant, which seeks out suitable parking spots and then parks the car for you by controlling not only the steering but the accelerator and brake too.
There’s also an excellent – but optional – Head-up Display (HUD), while Concierge Services allows you to access a call centre for information and sat-nav route downloads.
BMW X5 SUV model history
- November 2013 – Third-generation X5 SUV introduced with a range of petrol and diesel engines in SE and M Sport specifications. More popular diesels start with the rear-wheel drive sDrive25d, with four-wheel drive standard on the xDrive25d, xDrive30d, xDrive40d and flagship M50d. The petrol choice is restricted to the xDrive50i. Five seats are standard with a third row available as an optional extra.
- October 2014 – High-performance X5 M available to order for deliveries commencing in April 2015. Propulsion comes from a 575hp 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 engine, enough for a 4.2-second 0-62mph time.
- August 2015 – Power for the sDrive25d and xDrive25d increased from 218hp to 231hp.
- November 2015 – Plug-in hybrid xDrive40e derivatives launched, combining electrical power with a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine. SE and M Sport specifications available.
- May 2016 – Improved iDrive multimedia system with more intuitive menus and greater connectivity to smartphone apps.