Costs & verdict
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
In terms of price, the BMW X5 sits somewhere between the cheaper Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90, and the costlier Land Rover Discovery. However, if you want seven seats, adding them to the X5 brings its price into line with that of the Discovery, which depreciates more slowly so could end up costing you less in the longer term. The xDrive45e looks better value compared with rival plug-in SUVs, though, including the XC90 Recharge, especially with its superior electric range.
The X5 has average fuel consumption figures for the class. The diesel 30d returns a claimed combined fuel economy of just over 40mpg, while the petrol 40i officially records just over 30mpg. Those figures are very similar to those for the equivalent Discovery and XC90. We’d also point out that the gobsmacking 235mpg figure for the 45e is only achievable if you keep the battery charged all the time for a lot of electric running; when the battery was empty, we recorded a test average of just 25mpg using just the petrol engine.
The 45e's low CO2 emissions and great electric range have a massive benefit when it comes to company car tax, though. It's much more affordable than the other X5's, which are all in the top tax bracket, and it's cheaper to run than many of its plug-in hybrid rivals, too, which could end up costing you twice as much per month in tax.
Equipment, options and extras
Choose the 30d, 40i or plug-in hybrid 45e and you’ll have a choice of two trim levels: xLine and M Sport. The former gives you leather upholstery, heated front seats, 19in wheels, a faux leather wrapped dashboard and ambient interior lighting.
If you upgrade to M Sport, you get sportier body styling, larger 20in alloy wheels and gloss black exterior details instead of polished metal. Those cosmetic enhancements appeal to used car buyers and should help the resale values, which could offset the extra outlay. That's why it's our pick, but xLine is also fine if you don't want to spend the extra up front.
The top-of-the-range M50i doesn’t offer any trim choice: its spec lists is based on M Sport but with adaptive dampers and steel springs in place of the air suspension. There’s also a bespoke limited-slip differential to increase traction in corners, a sports exhaust system, an upgraded sound system and even larger wheels.
BMW did very well in the 2020 What Car? Reliability Survey, finishing in ninth place out the 31 manufacturers that appeared. That's a better result than all of its premium rivals bar Lexus, which finished top, putting BMW above Audi, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes and Porsche.
The X5 comes with a three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty, which also covers the car’s paintwork for three years and corrosion for 12 years. That’s about the same as most of its rivals, although the Lexus RX offers an even longer warranty.
Safety and security
The BMW X5 received a five-star rating from safety expert Euro NCAP, with solid scores in each category. However, there were issues over leg injuries for adults in the front, which gave it a lower adult occupancy score than many of its rivals, especially the XC90. It was only just behind the Q7 with a very good score for child occupancy protection, though.
Front collision warning and automatic emergency braking are fitted as standard, but the side airbags don’t reach back into the boot compartment for third-row passengers, as they do in the Audi Q7. You can upgrade your X5 with the optional Driving Assistant Professional package, which includes adaptive cruise control with steering assistant along with a host of additional driver aids, including a system that can swerve to avoid an obstacle in the road, one to detect traffic crossing behind you as you’re reversing out onto a road, and a system that uses a camera to recognise speed limit signs and can adjust your speed accordingly.
Security expert Thatcham rated the X5 4/5 for its ability to resist the break-in attempts and 5/5 for preventing theft of the car. Rivals perform similarly well in this regard, though.
For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here
A brilliant luxury SUV, majoring on comfort and ...
Some rivals are more practical and better to drive, but the Me...
Some rivals are faster and more fun to drive, but few are as c...
Classy, spacious and refined, the Q8 is a tempting high-end SU...