BMW X5 Review & Prices

The BMW X5 manages to do a rare thing for a large SUV: be both comfortable and fun to drive. Alternatives have bigger boots, though

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Reviewed by Carwow after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

  • Powerful yet efficient engines
  • High quality interior
  • Fun to drive for an SUV

What's not so good

  • Lumbar adjustment optional
  • M50d's fake engine noise
  • Firm on large alloy wheels

Find out more about the BMW X5

Is the BMW X5 a good car?

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 an update in 2023 brought a much more modern design to close the gap.

You get BMW's excellent twin-screen setup on the dashboard. The curved displays look suitably modern, with the one on the right displaying all the relevant driving information and the one on the left for your infotainment. It's a touchscreen and really quick to respond to your inputs, but the menus are quite complicated to find your way around.

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.

Porsche, Land Rover, Mercedes and Audi all make very good large SUVs, but the X5 is the best all-rounder for us

There are four engines to choose from. The plug-in hybrid will be the best option for those who can charge regularly, and it also has the lowest tax rate for company car buyers. There's a sporty petrol if running costs aren't a concern, but most people will find one of the diesels offers the best all-round experience.

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 optional 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 if you want to sell your current car, you can also do that through Carwow.

How much is the BMW X5?

The BMW X5 has a RRP range of £68,220 to £114,890. However, with Carwow you can save on average £4,006. Prices start at £67,251 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £808. The price of a used BMW X5 on Carwow starts at £39,272.

Our most popular versions of the BMW X5 are:

Model version Carwow price from
xDrive30d MHT xLine 5dr Auto £67,251 Compare offers

This is an upmarket SUV from a premium brand, so it’s never going to be cheap. Prices start at just under £70,000, which is a bit more than an equivalent Audi Q7 or Volkswagen Touareg, and considerably more than the Genesis GV80 and Volvo XC90. However, the Porsche Cayenne starts around £73,000 and the Mercedes GLE at £77,000. Prices climb to almost £130,000 if you go for the M Competition.

Performance and drive comfort

Quick, agile, comfortable – the X5 delivers in every way. A bit of tyre noise at high speed is the only criticism

In town

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. You can pay extra for the BMW Parking Assistant system, which will reverse the car into a space for you, but in our experience it's not very good.

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 50e. This will go 66 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 an optional extra worth going for, because 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 M60i 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.

Space and practicality

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.

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 we're being picky, it's a shame these seats don't recline like in an Audi Q7.

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.

Boot space

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.

It's worth noting that most alternatives offer more capacity, though. The Mercedes GLE has less space at 630 litres, but the Audi Q7 (740 litres), Porsche Cayenne (772 litres) and Volkswagen Touareg (810 litres) offer more.

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.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

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.

You get a vegan-friendly leather alternative as standard, but you can opt for leather if you prefer, although the fake stuff 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.

Some will prefer the more minimal look of the Volvo XC90’s interior, but the updated interior design means that the BMW X5's interior looks much more simple and modern than before. The curved displays are the central feature and they work really well for the most part. It can be a bit tricky to find your way through the complex menu settings though, and it's a shame you have to control the climate settings through the screen, even if they are always present at the bottom of the main display.

The screen itself is crisp and clear – you really can’t fault the display. What’s more, it’s compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so you don't have to mess around with BMW's own system for the most part anyway.

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.

MPG, emissions and tax

Of the four engines on offer, the plug-in hybrid is a no-brainer for those looking for a company car. It uses a 3.0-litre petrol engine and a battery-powered electric motor to provide a healthy 489hp, but because its CO2 emissions are so low it's in a cheap benefit-in-kind tax band. And the excellent 66-mile electric-only range means that your running costs will be super-low if you can keep the battery topped up.

If running costs are less of a concern than outright performance, the M60i is your best bet. It uses a 4.4-litre V8 engine that makes 530hp, which is sports car power. You're looking at fuel economy of just 24.4mpg, though, and its high emissions mean it's in one of the highest first-year Vehicle Excise Duty bands.

Most people will be best-served by one of the two diesels. There's a 298hp 30d model and a 352hp 40d. We tested the 30d and found it to be more than powerful enough, and we actually saw better economy than the official figures at 39mpg. Don't be scared off by diesel, because it's actually great in big, heavy SUVs such as the X5.

Safety and security

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.

Reliability and problems

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.

Buy or lease the BMW X5 at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £68,220 - £114,890 Avg. Carwow saving £4,006 off RRP
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