This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest BMW X5 4x4 review.

Parkers overall rating: 4.3 out of 5 4.3
  • Familiar BMW feel to the X5’s cabin
  • High quality materials and a good finish
  • iDrive remains an intuitive multimedia system

It’s fair to say that if you’ve sat behind the wheel of a contemporary BMW saloon – let alone the previous-generation X5 – then the cabin will feel instantly familiar to you. Don’t take that as a bad thing, though, as it means the layout is intuitive and clear, with all of the controls just where you’d expect them.

Of course, iDrive still features, and can control more than ever before. There’s the touch-sensitive pad on top, allowing you to trace letters and numbers with just your fingertips for destination input, while Connected Drive now comes with Professional sat-nav, real-time traffic information and BMW online services.

Even if you struggle with iDrive at first, after only a few hours behind the wheel it’ll likely click and become the most intuitive system that you’ve ever used.

Each X5 gets BMW’s Professional Navigation arrangement as standard, which features real-time traffic updates, emergency services dialling and online connectivity as standard. It works incredibly quickly and feels of a high quality. It’s one of our favourite systems.

The multimedia screen sits on top of the dash, like a tablet or flatscreen TV, the main dashboard moulding is now stepped into different layers and LED ambient lighting hides below the top level – you can also change the light’s intensity or colour.

Quality is without question; the surfaces in examples we’ve driven are almost completely swathed in leather and high-gloss plastics. The instrument dials follow suit from other models in the BMW range with a multi-configurable electronic display below the speedometer and rev counter, which is also used to show when the car is in Eco Pro mode.

Thanks to part-electric adjustment of the front seats, and plenty of movement in the steering wheel position, finding a comfortable driving position is a matter of moments.

  • Very comfortable even in standard trim
  • Upgraded Comfort seats worth the extra
  • Go for the adaptive suspension upgrade, too

You don’t have to spend long behind the wheel to realise that comfort is one of the BMW X5’s highlights – there’s plenty of space, the driver’s seat has lots of adjustment and the seats are trimmed in leather as standard.

We’re fans of the optional Comfort front seats, which offer electric adjustment for almost everything – including headrest height, under-thigh support and even how tightly the side bolsters grip you. The ability to tilt the upper half of the backrest independently of the lower section means you can’t fail to find your desired seating position, and despite their price we can only recommend them.

Thankfully it’s not just the seats that make the X5 such a comfortable companion; there’s very little wind noise and it’s clear that sound insulation has come under close scrutiny – you’ll struggle to hear more than a muted engine note on the move. There is some tyre roar at high speed, but that’s on account of their width.

The standard 18-inch alloys on SE models will likely yield an even more forgiving ride – despite making do with steel springs and conventional dampers as standard. Adaptive Comfort and Adaptive Dynamic suspension are optional. Firmer Adaptive M Suspension is fitted as standard to the M50d, X5 M and all M Sport models except the sDrive25d.

At the top of the suspension chart is the Professional Adaptive Suspension package, which combines the variable damping control and self-levelling rear suspension of the comfort suspension to the active roll stabilisation and dynamic performance control of the Adaptive Dynamic set up.

For those employing their X5 as a children carrier we’d suggest the huge panoramic glass sunroof is a good move too, helping stop children being car sick.