BMW X5 4x4 full 9 point review
Even the least-powerful version, the four-cylinder 25d diesel, is swift enough and pulls pretty strongly from low revs. Of the other engines, the six-cylinder 30d is plenty quick enough and starts pulling hard from around 1800rpm, so we wouldn't bother with anything faster. The eight-speed automatic gearbox is another highlight; it swaps ratios intelligently, meaning you’re always in the right gear for the task at hand.
Ride & Handling
The X5 feels so planted and sharp that it’s easy to forget you’re in a big SUV, although it’s a shame the steering has a slightly unnatural feel and is slow to self-centre. Opt for the adaptive comfort suspension (one of several available set-ups) and you’ll enjoy a relatively supple ride, whereas adaptive M Sport cars have a choppy ride, even in Comfort mode. The X5 is reasonably competent off road – although you’d best not try anything too adventurous.
This is the one area where the X5 fails to impress. Its door mirrors generate quite a bit of wind noise, and there's too much road noise on motorways and fast A-roads. The diesel engines also sound gruffer than equivalent engines in rival SUVs, particularly when you accelerate hard. At least the eight-speed automatic gearbox is smooth.
Buying & Owning
Big, posh 4x4s don't come cheap, so you won't pick up an X5 for peanuts. That's not to say you can't get the price down at all, though, and because resale values are comparatively strong, you’ll get a decent amount of money back when you come to sell. Running costs are really good by class standards, thanks to impressive fuel economy and low CO2 emissions.
Quality & Reliability
The cabin isn’t quite as swanky as the Range Rover Sport’s, but it’s still effortlessly classy and build quality is superb. Sadly, there are some big reliability concerns; in the most recent JD Power customer satisfaction survey, owners of the previous-generation X5 (which shares many of its mechanicals with this model) reported a high number of faults.
Safety & Security
The BMW X5 hasn’t yet been crash-tested by Euro NCAP, but given the amount of safety kit on board, we predict an impressive score. It's just disappointing that if you order an X5 with seven seats, the two people in the very back of the car aren’t protected by the side curtain airbags. At least thieves will find stealing an X5 extremely tricky.
Behind The Wheel
There’s not a lot to criticise here. The huge amount of adjustment for the driving position and the supportive seat makes it easy to get comfortable, and visibility is pretty good in all directions. The dashboard controls are easy to get to grips with, and the iDrive infotainment system is undoubtedly the best system fitted to any large SUV.
Space & Practicality
The X5 gets five seats as standard, all of which are surrounded by generous space for tall adults. You get a large boot, too. BMW offers seven seats as an option, although the two at the very back are suitable only for kids and emergencies. There’s still half-decent boot space when you’re travelling seven-up, though.
Entry-level SE models are our favourite and come with all the kit you’re likely to need, including climate and cruise controls, a DAB radio, metallic paint, front and rear parking sensors, xenon headlights and automatic lights and wipers. Range-topping M Sport trim is more popular but isn't such good value; it adds bigger wheels, adaptive sports suspension, electric front sports seats and sportier styling.