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Parkers overall rating: 4.3 out of 5 4.3

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


This is the third generation of the popular BMW X5 SUV, the Munich marque’s challenger to premium-badged, sporty off-roaders such as the Audi Q7, Mercedes-Benz GLE and Range Rover Sport.

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. The first powers the xDrive50i with 449hp, meaning 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds.

High-performance X5 M

At the very top of the tree is the X5 M, producing 575hp and capable of scorching from 0-62mph in just 4.2 seconds. This sort of performance eclipses Audi’s monstrous SQ7 and the Range Rover Sport SVR, but doesn’t quite match the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, which is 0.1 seconds quicker over the benchmark sprint.

As you might expect the X5 M also benefits from an impressive array of standard kit.

Plug-in hybrid xDrive40e

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.

The clever trick here is that the plug-in X5 still boasts relatively impressive performance figures, cover 0-62mph in 6.8 seconds.

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.

The Parkers Verdict

Click through to continue reading our full BMW X5 SUV review to find out whether this off-roader remains true to the brand’s ultimate driving machine mantra.

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