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.
This is a car that makes a statement.
What’s it like to drive?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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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