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 BMW 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.
This is a car that makes a statement.
What’s it like to drive?
If you haven’t driven a BMW 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. 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.
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 5 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 Germany 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 BMW 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 driver into a car-aoke session. 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 electronics devices.
The boot of the BMW X5 is simply gigantic - so big in that 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’s roadtrip.
The two-piece tailgate is a brilliant touch, which means that you can just open the glass portion to access items in the boot – very handy when you’re packed to the gills for a family holiday.
The BMW 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.
Running costs and reliability
You might expect the BMW X5 to come with sizeable bills. That’s not necessarily the case. The petrol sDrive25d manages more than 50 miles per gallon in official tests, while the 6-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 cinch loves
The BMW 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.