Parkers overall rating: 4.4 out of 5 4.4
  • Luxurious cabin with commanding driving position
  • Easy to get comfortable with leather upholstery
  • Electric adjustment for front seats

The X5 features BMW’s latest interior design, which means there’s a more simplified look than on older cars, with a noticeable lack of buttons on the dashboard and centre console, but dominated by large screens and various colour and trim options.

Interior quality is excellent – there’s a strong sense of solidity to everything inside, with higher-spec models featuring leather-clad dashboards, while even the ‘entry’ models feature plush materials and luxurious leather seats with electrical adjustment as standard.

Ahead of the driver is a digital instrument panel shared with the 3 Series (and almost every other modern BMW), with a large touchscreen sitting alongside. This is controlled via touch, a rotary iDrive controller on the centre console or via voice, simply by saying ‘Hey BMW’.

The heating controls are simple to operate with a neat screen for the temperature, while the iDrive controller for the infotainment comes with a selection of buttons around it for shortcuts to certain functions. Over time you’ll learn where everything is, but with a flat, shiny surface it can be tricky to quickly decipher what you should be pressing.

Is it comfortable?

  • Supremely comfortable seats
  • Lots of adjustment
  • Feels big from behind the wheel

The X5 is a big, luxurious SUV, so it’s good to see that comfort is key and that BMW hasn’t focused too much on the Sport in Sport Utility Vehicle in this regard.

While it is one of the sportier 4x4s to drive, it still remains comfortable, and the initial impressions from behind the wheel are that it’s very comfortable and relaxing, but also very big.

Once you’ve found the right driving position, the X5 can feel a little intimidating. You can sit as low or as high as you like, but either way it feels wide and, on smaller UK roads, this can be very noticeable. Once you’re used to it, though, the X5 is a plush place to be. A variety of parking cameras and aids make it less scary to manoeuvre when parking in a tight space.

The seats in particular are excellent – with a huge amount of adjustment in both front chairs, cushioning and supporting you in just the right way. All models barring the M50i and M50d models come with air suspension for a more comfortable experience and as long as you stay away from the largest 22-inch alloy wheel options, it impresses with its wafting abilities. Pick the faster models and a sportier suspension setup features and it becomes a little more fidgety.

If you go for the heavier 45e plug-in hybrid X5, remember that all that extra weight takes its toll on the handling; it feels even more like a big heavy car when equipped in petrol/electric guise. Still, BMW X5 models are impressively refined with the engines settling down to become almost inaudible at speed, with only the large tyres creating any noticeable amount of noise.