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BMW X5 review

Prestige, power, space and pace – that’s what you get with the BMW X5. This luxurious, technology-packed SUV offers a terrific drive with an impressive road presence. Commanding serious money when new, the BMW X5 offers a tremendous amount of bang for your buck if you’re buying used.


The BMW X5 is no shrinking violet. This is a car that makes a statement – it’s big, bold, and – some may say – a little intimidating should you catch sight of one in the rear-view mirror. The exterior design is one that has evolved since the X5 first appeared at the turn of the 21st century, becoming progressively less utilitarian and more elegant.  

For a high-riding SUV, the X5 carries quite a sporty stance, especially when it wears bigger wheels to fill the arches. The integrated rear spoiler, BMW-patent kidney grille, and air-intake rich front bumper all add to the suggestion that this is no mud-plugging 4x4, but a serious road-performer instead. 

driving blue BMW X5

This is a car that makes a statement.

What’s it like to drive?

The BMW X5 was really the first SUV to drive just like a sports saloon. Time – and competition from cars such as the Porsche Cayenne and Range Rover Sport – have seen it go from strength to strength.  

If you haven’t driven an X5 before, you’ll be surprised at how it can hustle along a twisty road. The steering feels sharp and the body roll is extremely well-controlled, and yet the suspension still soaks up bumps and makes for a relaxing ride. Powerful engines and brakes mean that you don’t ever feel like its size is an issue.  

The high driving position gives you a great view of the road ahead, and long-haul trips can be covered in quiet comfort. Should you need to venture off the beaten track, the XDrive all-wheel-drive system will be sure to keep you moving. 

blue BMW X5 side

If you haven’t driven a BMW X5 before you’ll be surprised at how it can hustle along a twisty road. 


Did we mention that the BMW X5 is a big car? Well, that’s especially apparent inside, where there’s acres of room for five people and their luggage. Up front, you’ll discover a commandingly-high driving position and supportive, multi-adjustable seats, while rear seat passengers have plenty of leg and headroom. Even if all three seats are taken, your friends and family won’t be brushing shoulders.  

The interior is a marriage of German efficiency and quality – everything is where it should be and is built to last. The materials used in the cabin – including leather, wood and aluminium and carbon fibre, depending on the model chosen – feel truly classy.  

The i-Drive system that controls the car’s infotainment is intuitive to use, and the central screen is clear and easy to operate. The X5 is a major tech-fest, and the company has partnered with the likes of Bowers & Wilkins and harman/kardon to produce extraordinary audio systems that can quickly turn even the shortest drive into a car-aoke sessio – mind you don’t trigger the built-in voice control, though. You’ll find some nice touches such as ambient lighting and charging points for your must-have electronic devices. 

BMW X5 interior


The boot of the BMW X5 is simply gigantic – so big, in fact, it can conceal a further two seats under the flat floor that are suitable for a couple of kids. Even with the seats up, you could fit the 5-a-side team’s kit in the boot. With the seats stowed away, you could pack for a month-long roadtrip

The two-piece tailgate is a brilliant touch, which means that you can open just the glass portion to access items in the boot – very handy when you’re packed to the gills for a family holiday.  

The X5’s height makes loading up and getting in and out of the car a doddle – you simply open the door and slide straight into the seat. 

BMW X5 boot

Running costs and reliability

You might expect the BMW X5 to come with sizeable bills – but that’s not necessarily the case. The petrol sDrive manages more than 50mpg in official tests, while the six-cylinder diesel engine should get more than 30mpg.  

There’s also the plug-in hybrid BMW X45e to consider, which can travel up to 31 miles on electricity alone. If you have a real thirst for power and choose an X50i or X5M, then you’ll definitely be visiting the fuel pumps a little more often.  

What we love

The BMW X5 is a brilliant all-rounder. It’s spacious, luxurious and ideal for taking the family on a road trip. It looks seriously classy and will be right at home in the golf club or executive car park. Should you find yourself alone behind the wheel it’s also surprisingly fun to drive. 

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What else to consider? BMW X5 alternatvies

Considering another model too? Try these alternatives. 

  1. Audi Q7 

  2. Mercedes-Benz GLE 

  3. Porsche Cayenne 

  4. Range Rover Sport 

  5. Volvo XC90 

Use our Help Me Choose tool if you still can't decide.

Perfect for

Town and country drivers




The BMW X5 is a seriously impressive modern car. There are plenty of good points and a few negatives, so buying a used version in great condition is the way to go if you’re tempted but worried about the hole it could leave in your wallet. 

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