BMW X5 4x4 driving position
Finding a comfortable driving position in the BMW X5 is a doddle, with electric seat adjustment to control the backrest angle, seat squab (including the extendable cushion) and lumbar support (which can be moved up or down as well as in and out).
A memory function is standard on the driver’s seat, too, so if someone else regularly uses your car, it’s the work of a button press to return the seat to your driving position.
All of the controls are logically laid out and easy to understand. Happily, BMW has resisted the temptation to add a second touchscreen for ancillary controls; instead, there’s a spread of old-fashioned buttons and dials, which you can feel your way around without removing your gaze from the road ahead.
Particularly clever is the use of silver trim on the climate control buttons to make them stand out; combined with small screens devoted to temperature readouts, they mean climate control adjustment is always at your fingertips – and not hidden in a sub-menu in the infotainment system.
A digital dashboard display – which replaces the speedometer and other dials – comes as standard, but it isn’t the best around. Audi’s Virtual Cockpit – admittedly an optional extra on the Q7 – is clearer and easier to use.
BMW X5 4x4 visibility
Chunky pillars between the rearmost side windows and the tailgate means the X5 doesn’t offer quite as broad a view of the world outside as it might, but with its near-vertical tail and large windows, you still get pretty decent visibility.
The fact that you can see the tops of the front wings from the driver’s seat mean it’s relatively easy to judge where the nose of the car ends, too. But in any case, you get front, rear and even side parking sensors as standard, not to mention a reversing camera.
BMW X5 4x4 infotainment
The X5’s infotainment system is one of its finest features. It’s very easy to use, incredibly quick and responsive and features a customisable display that allows you to choose between widgets that display information on the main screen, a little bit like you’d find on a smartphone. You can then delve into the menus using a sidebar menu system, which again is intuitive and easy to get to grips with.
You get a glut of useful additional features, too; for example, all X5s get over-the-air map updates and a navigation system that can connect to an app on your phone and, based on current traffic, tell you when to leave for an appointment, as well as concierge services and a remote 3D view that allows you to see what’s around your car from afar.
However, there is a catch: many of these systems are only free to use for the first three years of your ownership. After that, you’ll need to pay a subscription if you want to keep using them. Apple CarPlay only gets one year free - but Android Auto isn't even an option.
BMW X5 4x4 build quality
It’s truly hard to fault the sense of quality you get inside the X5. The high-quality inlays in the dashboard are instantly appealing, while the dashboard itself is also built from expensive-feeling materials.
Real metal is used rather than metal-effect plastic in many places, while even lower down, where you wouldn’t normally look, there are some truly sturdy plastics. It feels every bit as luxurious as you’d expect an SUV of this calibre to be.