BMW X5 Review & Prices
The BMW X5 manages to do a rare thing for a large SUV: be both comfortable and fun to drive. It’s a shame about the fake engine noise and lack of Android Auto, though
Find out more about the BMW X5
There aren’t many cars that can do what the BMW X5 can do: it’s like a roomy, comfortable hot hatch on stilts. It’s genuinely enjoyable to drive, much more so than alternatives such as the Audi Q7 and Mercedes GLE.
If you want to get something closer, you’ll need to head to a Porsche Cayenne, but that’s a bit like a 100-metre sprinter at a marathon – it isn’t quite as comfortable or practical for families over long distances.
The BMW X5 has most cars very much licked on the luxury front, though. Everywhere you prod there are luxurious materials and soft-touch plastic, from the top of the dashboard to the door tops. Sure, the overall design is slightly more conservative than that of a Mercedes GLE, but for some, that’ll be a good thing.
And in the centre of the dashboard sits one of the best infotainment systems available in any car. BMW’s iDrive continues to be a doddle to navigate and still comprises a rotary controller with menu shortcut buttons between the front seats and a 12.3-inch screen, which can be controlled using the controller, via touch or by voice.
But BMW isn’t done there – also standard is another 12.3-inch screen behind the steering wheel acting as the driver’s instruments. It’s clear, crisp and easily configurable. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now available too.
Group test: Audi Q7 v BMW X5 v Mercedes GLE v Volkswagen Touareg
Another important factor in a large luxury SUV is space and the BMW X5 offers plenty of it. Those in the front will have no complaints and the driver gets a supportive seat with full electric adjustment and a memory function.
There’s plenty of space in the back seats, as well – two tall adults will sit comfortably behind those in the front, while a third won’t be sounding off on a long journey either.
That spaciousness continues to the boot, with the X5 having 650 litres, which is a good chunk less than you get in an Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne, though the BMW is a bit more spacious than the Mercedes GLE.
There are six engine choices when buying a BMW X5, starting with a 3.0-litre six-cylinder 40i petrol with mild-hybrid assistance, which has two high-performance versions above it called M50i and M Competition. There are also two diesels and plug-in hybrid version that promises the lowest tax bills for company car drivers.
If you spend most of your time in town then go for the 40i petrol, or better still the 45e plug-in hybrid should you have home charging and especially if you're paying company car tax. Otherwise, the 30d diesel is more fuel-efficient at a cruise so go for that if you’re often travelling across the UK or Europe.
Porsche, Land Rover, Mercedes and Audi all make very good large SUVs, but the X5 is the best all-rounder for us
In town, the BMW X5, despite its size, isn’t daunting to manoeuvre thanks to good visibility for the driver through its tall wide windows and standard front and rear parking sensors. In fact, BMW includes its Parking Assistant, which will steer the car into a space for you and you can add rear-wheel steering as an option for better low-speed manoeuvrability.
It’s a comfortable experience, too; the X5’s standard adaptive air suspension does a good job of soaking up ruts, potholes and broken Tarmac in its most comfortable setting. That said, the M Competition’s firmer suspension (in the name of going around corners more quickly) isn’t as comfy when the going gets rough.
On twisty country roads, the BMW X5 steers with precision and on its standard suspension handles well – particularly in its firmer ‘sport’ setting. The M Competition’s still-firmer suspension props the X5 up even more effectively through bends and the range-topper is more agile to drive.
But, calm things down to a cruise on the motorway, and all the engines are quiet, while wind and road noise are kept to a minimum. You do hear more road noise in the M50i and M Competition with their huge alloys and super-wide tyres, though.
So, if you’re convinced the BMW X5 is the large SUV for you, make sure you check out our BMW X5 deals pages for the best prices, and if you want to see used X5s deals on carwow. Check out the latest used BMWs as well, and to change your car completely, you can also do that through carwow, where you can sell your car.
The BMW X5 has a RRP range of £69,560 to £112,955. However, with carwow you can save on average £4,593. Prices start at £65,503 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £752. The price of a used BMW X5 on carwow starts at £34,995.
Our most popular versions of the BMW X5 are:
|Model version||carwow price from|
|xDrive30d MHT xLine 5dr Auto||£65,503||Compare offers|
This is an upmarket SUV from a premium brand, so it’s never going to be cheap. Prices start from around £64,000 and climb to almost £120,000 if you go for the M Competition. That compares with a starting price of just over £60,000 for the Audi Q7.
The entry point to the X5 range is the xLine, but most buyers find the extra £3,500 for the M Sport. As well as more purposeful looks, the M Sport has larger alloy wheels (20-inch rather than 19), bigger brakes, illuminated door kick panels and an M Sport steering wheel and pedals.
If you want the low emissions of the 45e plug-in hybrid, you’ll be looking at a starting price in the region of £70,000.
Quick, agile, comfortable – the X5 delivers in every way. A bit of tyre noise at high speed is the only criticism
The X5 is a very big machine for town driving, but it’s not intimidating. You sit up high with a good view out, and although the rear windscreen is small the view over your shoulder isn’t too bad.
Front and rear parking sensors are standard on xLine models, so there’s no excuse for any parking scrapes. That goes double if you pick an M Sport, which has the BMW Parking Assistant system which will reverse the car into a space for you.
The X5 comes with a smooth-shifting automatic gearbox, which makes for easy and unflustered driving in city traffic. Even the least powerful X5 is a quick car, so you can nip into any gaps.
For town driving, the pick of the range has to be the plug-in hybrid 45e. The PHEV will go over 50 miles on battery power alone, according to BMW’s figures. That’s a lot further than most cars of this kind, and even if you struggle to match that in real-world conditions most urban journeys can be completed without burning a drop of petrol.
On the motorway
Every X5 makes an excellent motorway car. Strong performance is a given when even the least powerful diesel can hit 60mph in 6.1 seconds. What’s more important is the way the X5 behaves once up to speed. Engine noise stays in the background, and there’s not much in the way of wind or road noise either. Maybe there’s a bit of a rumble from the tyres but it’s not enough to be irritating.
Air suspension is standard, and with the car set to ‘comfort’ it delivers a silky but controlled ride that should keep car sickness at bay. Combine that with a roomy and luxurious cabin and the X5 is a pleasure to travel in on long journeys.
On a twisty road
This is where the X5 really scores over other big SUVs. It is a hoot to drive on a twisty country road.
Switch to ‘sport’ mode and there’s more weight to the steering, and sharper responses from the gearbox and throttle. The suspension firms up too to reduce body lean in bends. It’s the mode to choose for maximum fun with remarkable grip and poise for a car of this size.
The standard models are rewarding to drive, but the M50i and M Competition take things to another level. These deliver near-supercar levels of performance and handling, although the trade off is a less forgiving and comfortable ride. For most of us, the less expensive models are more than exciting enough.
Plenty of room for five (or seven) to travel in luxury and comfort, it’s just a shame that getting seven seats is a cost option
Slide into the driver’s seat and you’ll find you sit up high with a clear view of the road ahead. Even on the base model the seat adjusts electrically and has a memory function to store your ideal driving position. There’s enough movement to the seat and wheel for folk of all shapes and sizes to find a sound and supportive driving position.
There’s a digital display in place of conventional dials in front of the driver. It can be configured to show different information. Being able to display a map right in your eyeline is especially useful.
In some big 4x4s the air con controls are buried within the touchscreen menu, but BMW has separate physical buttons and knobs which are a lot easier to use on the move. So while the dashboard design may be a little conservative and less minimal than a Volvo XC90’s, we think the BMW’s layout is more practical and intuitive.
You want plenty of storage space? You get it. The door bins are absolutely huge, and there’s lots of space beneath the driver’s armrest. There are twin cupholders at the base of the centre console.
Everything you see or touch has a quality look and feel. Yes, this is an expensive car, but when you sit behind the wheel there’s no doubt this BMW is a premium machine.
Space in the back seats
The X5 seats five as standard, but seven seats are a cost option (unless you choose the 45e PHEV, which is only available as a five-seater). Go for the extra row and you won’t find as much space as in a Land Rover Discovery, but kids should be happy enough. Adults can be squeezed in for short trips but won’t look forward to long journeys.
The second row of seats is much roomier. There’s enough width to the cabin for three to travel in comfort without too much rubbing of elbows.
If you often travel with children rather than adults, the ISOFIX mounts have flip-up covers which keep things neat when they aren’t being used. Wide-opening rear doors mean lifting a bulky child seat into the cabin shouldn’t be too much of a struggle.
With the optional third-row seats in place, there’s enough boot space for a weekly shop rather than a family holiday. In the five-seat X5 or with the third row lowered, the boot is huge.
The capacity is 650 litres, which means give or take a few litres there’s as much room for bags in the back of the X5 as you’ll find in a large estate car. The exception is the plug-in hybrid, which has a lower 500-litre capacity. That’s still a reasonable size, though.
The X5 has a split tailgate, which means the lower portion folds down rather than up. It makes for a useful seat if you are changing in or out of wellies, for example.
Removing the parcel shelf is easy, and in most models there’s space to store it under the floor.
Clever infotainment and a superb standard of finish, but remember the connected services tech is only free for the first three years
You pay big bucks for the X5, but you can see where the money goes when you sit inside. This is a beautifully made car.
Both the entry-level xLine and the M Sport have Sensafin upholstery, a vegan-friendly leather alternative. You can opt for leather if you prefer, although Sensafin does a more than passable impression of the real thing.
Prod the dashboard and doors and you’ll find the materials are soft to the touch, and everything feels made to last. The quality of the cabin really is exceptionally high.
The infotainment system is a good example. Running on BMW Operating System 7.0, the X5’s infotainment is one generation behind what you’ll find in the all-electric BMW iX, but it’s far from old-fashioned. It takes a bit of practice to get the hang of, but you can perform basic tasks like turning up the stereo using gestures without physically touching the screen or any controls. A clever party trick, perhaps, but given there are volume controls on the wheel there’s no need to flap your hands around like an orchestra conductor.
You can also wake up the system by shouting “Hey BMW!”, which then uses voice recognition technology to follow your instructions. It can be a bit hit and miss whether it understands what you want, though.
The easiest way to get the best from the infotainment is to use the iDrive rotary controller. It’s reliable, doesn’t leave mucky fingerprints on the screen, and is simple to use without becoming distracted.
Every X5 comes with a suite of connected services, with the long-winded name of BMW ConnectedDrive Online Services. This includes the virtual personal assistant who listens to you bark orders, and over-air software and map updates. A three-year subscription is included, after which you need to pay.
There’s a very big difference in fuel economy and emissions between the thirstiest and the cleanest models in the X5 range.
If you care even slightly about how much fuel you use, the M50i and M Competition are going to be pretty hard to justify. The M Competition returns 20.8-21.1mpg according to the official figures. Bank on much worse economy if you use all the performance. The M50i is a little better, but 23.9-24.6mpg is still a serious thirst.
The xDrive 40i returns 28-31.4mpg, so if you want sensible fuel costs and care about emissions you’re probably going to be choosing between the diesels and the plug-in hybrid.
There’s little to choose between the xDrive 30d and 40d. The less powerful of the two returns 37.7-42.2mpg. The more powerful uses only a fraction more fuel, with an official combined figure of 37.2-40.9mpg.
On paper the 45e is streets ahead of the other models in the range, returning 201.8-235.4mpg and emitting just 27-32g/km of CO2. In reality, the economy you get will depend on how often the car is recharged. With a short commute and a charging point at home you could beat the official figures, but if you rarely recharge you won’t be able to match the claimed economy.
For a company car driver it’s no contest – the 45e is a clear winner, with a tax banding of 8-14% depending on the exact specification. Being a larger, more expensive and higher polluting vehicle without electrical assistance, the tax brackets are quite high - while you'll need to pay an extra cost from the second to sixth year of ownership as it costs more than £40,000.
The X5 is a very safe car, with a five-star rating from the safety experts at Euro NCAP. It scored 89% for protecting adult occupants, 86% for children, 75% for pedestrian protection and 75% for its safety assistance systems.
Standard safety kit includes active cruise control, which maintains a safe distance to the vehicle in front, as well a speed limit info display and tyre-pressure sensors to warn the driver if one of the tyres is deflating. Active Guard Plus is also standard, which will apply the brakes in an emergency if the driver fails to do so, and this system includes a lane departure warning feature.
All X5s have an alarm and immobiliser, as well as Legal Emergency Call for summoning help after a collision, even if the driver is unconscious.
This generation of X5 is still quite a new car, so there’s not an awful lot of hard data as to its reliability. The previous model tended to achieve mid-field respectability in reliability surveys, which is often the case for BMW.
So we wouldn’t expect too much trouble, but if you really want to go through your motoring life with no unscheduled trips to the dealer, then no luxury brand builds more dependable cars than Lexus.
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